TIFF movie line-up announced
This year's Toronto International Film Festival will open with the Bruce Willis time-travelling thriller ``Looper,'' and showcase projects starring A-listers Ben Affleck, Ryan Gosling, Tom Hanks, Rachel McAdams, Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert Redford.
Organizers revealed the gala and special selections at a press conference this morning and also touted the world premiere of Deepa Mehta's sweeping Salman Rushdie adaptation, ``Midnight's Children.''
The fest's artistic director Cameron Bailey calls the mix ``one of the most international and diverse'' they've ever had.
The big films include world premieres of Affleck's political thriller ``Argo,'' Hanks' centuries-spanning epic ``Cloud Atlas,''
Gosling's drama ``The Place Beyond the Pines'' and Paltrow's dramedy ``Thanks for Sharing.''
The futuristic, time-travel flick ``Looper'' is about hitmen hired to kill victims from the future. Willis plays a man who is sent back in time to be killed by his younger self, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
The Toronto International Film Festival runs Sept. 6 to 16.
North American premieres announced Tuesday include Redford's drama ``The Company You Keep,'' which he directs and stars in, while Terrence Malick directs ``To The Wonder,'' starring Affleck, Javier Bardem and McAdams.
``It's a big list, I'm very excited about it,'' says Bailey.
``The gala (section) especially is one of the most international and diverse that we've ever had and (includes) lots of films that I think people have been expecting to see.... We're just thrilled to have them here.''
This will be the second year in a row a non-Canadian feature will kick-off the annual showcase, regarded by many as a key platform for potential Oscar contenders.
While Canuck openers have been traditional in the past, Bailey says he wants to ``expand the range'' of what launches the movie marathon.
Last year, the fest began with the U2 documentary ``From the Sky Down.'' Before that it was the campy Canuck sing-a-long ``Score: A Hockey Musical.''
Bailey says some buyers will skip the opening film because it has historically been seen as ``the Canadian night.''
``We want to make sure that changes over time and I think one of the ways we can do that is just make it a night that the entire world's film industry pays attention to, rather than just our local friends in the industry.''
So far, the most high-profile homegrown pick is Mehta's sweeping ``Midnight's Children,'' an ambitious Canadian-UK co-production based on Rushdie's Booker Prize-winning novel and adapted for the screen by Rushdie himself.
Also earning a gala berth is Canadian director Ruba Nadda, whose Middle East thriller ``Inescapable'' stars Alexander Siddig, Marisa Tomei and Joshua Jackson.
A prestigious gala slot is often better than the opening night position for a Canuck project looking for U.S. sales, says Bailey.
He notes the first-night screening comes with ``a lot of pressure from the hometown audience.''
``If you talk to producers or you talk to the people who are selling Canadian film they will tell you they want a different kind
of screening - they don't want expectations to be overly inflated.
They want to come in a little under the radar and then surprise with a great movie.''
The festival's Canadian slate is expected to be announced Aug. 8.
Bailey says the effects-laden ``Looper,'' written and directed by Rian Johnson, is a ``super-fun way'' to launch this year's festival.
``It's not just stuff blowing up, this is a really smart script,'' he says.
``It's about big ideas and some of the things that you've seen in the science fiction genre and literature over many, many decades but played out in a really entertaining way.''
(Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press)