The movie Water, which triggered violent protests while being filmed in India, will open the Toronto International Film Festival.
Deepa Mehta [R] completed Water in Sri Lanka after protests in India
Directed by Deepa Mehta, the movie follows the lives of Hindu widows.
Filming in India was abandoned five years ago after hardline Hindu protesters burned its sets, claiming the movie distorted Indian culture.
Filming was completed in Sri Lanka. Its world premiere will open the festival, which runs from 8 to 17 September.
Water beat movies by better-known Canadian film-makers Atom Egoyan and David Cronenberg for the prestigious opening slot.
Mehta, an Indian-born Canadian citizen, received death threats while shooting Water in north Indian city Varanasi.
"It had started becoming more about doing the film at any cost, which is not healthy for the film, so I said 'stop,'" she said.
Mehta made romantic comedy Bollywood/Hollywood before returning to complete Water.
"The film is absolutely not anti-Hindu," she said. "The script was read and passed by the very government that protested, so you wonder about that."
Water completed a film trilogy that included Earth and Fire, which portrayed a lesbian relationship and was temporarily pulled from distribution in India after cinemas showing it were attacked.
Egoyan's Where the Truth Lies and Cronenberg's A History of Violence, which stars Lord of the Rings actor Viggo Mortensen, will be screened as gala presentations during the festival.
Deepa Mehta completed Water in Sri Lanka after protests in India
Both movies were previously shown in competition at the Cannes film festival in May.
"We all know that Cannes is terrific and fun, but this is the real festival," said Cronenberg, who also directed The Fly and Naked Lunch.
"We go out to Cannes and we play and then we bring it back home, and that's the screening that's really the most meaningful to us."