TIFF Gets Canadian

Founder and Editor; Toronto, Canada (@AnarchistTodd)
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TIFF Gets Canadian

The Toronto International Film Festival announced the complete Canadian contingent for the 2009 edition of the festival just moments ago and there are some big names in there including the latest from Terry Gilliam (a partly Canadian production), Atom Egoyan, Jean-Marc Vallee, Reg Harkema, Sook-Yin Lee and more. It's an exciting lineup, although conspicuous by its absence is Vincenzo Natali's Splice - a film I know is complete and that I know festival programmers wanted badly to get. Either Natali's genetic horror is being held back for another lineup - which would be an odd choice - or there's some sort of backroom drama going on that is seeing the film withheld for political reasons. Check the full announcements below the break!

THE 2009 FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES CLOSING NIGHT GALA
Feisty portrait of Queen Victoria to wrap-up 10 days of movies from around the globe

Toronto – The 34th Toronto International Film Festival will close in royal style on September 19 with the North American premiere Gala Presentation of The Young Victoria, directed by the critically-acclaimed French-Canadian filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallée (C.R.A.Z.Y.) from a script by Academy Award®-winning Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park). The film chronicles Queen Victoria’s ascension to the throne, focusing on the turbulent early years of her reign and her legendary romance and marriage to Prince Albert. The stellar cast includes Golden Globe® winner Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada) in the title role, Rupert Friend (Pride and Prejudice), Paul Bettany (Creation, The Da Vinci Code), Miranda Richardson (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), Jim Broadbent (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull), Mark Strong (Body of Lies) and Thomas Kretschmann (King Kong).

“We’re delighted to close the Festival with such a gorgeous film that completely reinvents our image of Queen Victoria,” said Piers Handling, Director and CEO of TIFF and Cameron Bailey, Co-Director of the Toronto International Film Festival. “This is a movie about a young woman making hard choices and we think our audience will love it. We’re also proud to present the latest work from renowned Québec filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallée, whose C.R.A.Z.Y. won the award for Best Canadian Feature Film in 2005.”

The Young Victoria is set in the period from 1836, the year before Victoria ascended the throne, to 1840, the year she married Prince Albert, and revises the widely held picture of Queen Victoria as an elderly widow dressed in black. In addition to being a love story and family drama, the film explores the idea of instant celebrity – one minute Victoria is living under virtual house arrest, the next she is the most famous woman in the world.

A GK Films production, The Young Victoria is produced by Graham King, Martin Scorsese, Tim Headington and Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York. Colin Vaines is executive producer and GK Films's Denis O’Sullivan is the film’s co-producer. Alliance Films will distribute the film in Canada.

Ticket packages for the Festival are now available for purchase by cash, debit or Visa†. Purchase online at tiff.net/thefestival, by phone at 416-968-FILM or 1-877-968-FILM (10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, closed weekends and holidays) or in person at the Festival Box Office at Nathan Phillips Square (10 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week), located at 100 Queen Street West, in the white tent, west of the square. The Festival runs from September 10 to 19, 2009.

The Closing Night Gala is made possible through the generous sponsorship of National Bank Financial Group.


CANADIAN FAVOURITES RETURN WITH GALAS AND SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

GALAS

Chloe Atom Egoyan, France/Canada
World Premiere
Catherine (Julianne Moore), a successful doctor, suspects her husband David (Liam Neeson), a handsome music professor, is cheating on her. To lay her suspicions and fears to rest, she hires an irresistible young woman, Chloe (Amanda Seyfried), to test David’s fidelity. Chloe’s torrid tales of her encounters with David lead Catherine on a journey of sexual and sensual re-discovery. But by opening the door to temptation, she puts her family in great danger.

Cooking with Stella Dilip Mehta, Canada
World Premiere
A warmhearted social satire about a Canadian diplomat (Lisa Ray) and her chef husband Michael (Don McKellar) who are posted to New Delhi. Upon arrival they inherit a household of Indian servants headed by the charming, totally inspiring – and wily – cook, Stella (Seema Biswas). When Stella agrees to become Michael’s cooking guru, to teach him traditional Indian dishes, little does he know that she’s cooking up a scheme of her own.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus Terry Gilliam, United Kingdom/Canada
North American Premiere
This fantastical morality tale tells the story of Dr. Parnassus and his travelling show, the extraordinary ‘Imaginarium’. Blessed with the remarkable gift of guiding the imaginations of others, Dr. Parnassus is cursed with a dark secret. An inveterate gambler, thousands of years ago he made a bet with the devil, Mr. Nick, and won immortality. Centuries later, on meeting his one true love, Dr. Parnassus made another deal with the devil, trading his immortality for youth, on the condition that when his daughter reached her sixteenth birthday, she would become the property of Mr. Nick.

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

Cairo Time Ruba Nadda, Canada/Ireland
World Premiere
Juliette (Patricia Clarkson), a magazine editor, arrives in Cairo to meet her husband Mark (Tom McCamus), a UN official in Gaza. When he is unavoidably delayed, Mark sends his friend and former security officer Tareq (Alexander Siddig) to show her around the city. As she gets used to the customs and rhythm of life in Cairo, Juliette finds herself falling not only for the city’s charms, but for Tareq as well.

Defendor Peter Stebbings, Canada
World Premiere
Reality intersects with delusion in the mind of Arthur Poppington (Woody Harrelson), a regular man who adopts a superhero persona known as Defendor, and combs the city streets at night in search of his arch-enemy, Captain Industry. In his attempts to combat crime and bring down Captain Industry, a drug and weapons dealer who he mistakenly blames for the death of his mother, Defendor ends up befriending a young prostitute, Katerina Debrofkowitz (Kat Dennings). Armed with unconventional weapons of mass confusion, aided by his new friend, and putting his life on the line, Defendor proves that everyone is capable of making a difference.

Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel Brigitte Berman, Canada
World Premiere
An intimate look at the outspoken, flamboyant founder of the Playboy empire. With humour and insight, the film captures Hefner’s fierce battles with the government, the religious right and militant feminists. Rare footage and compelling interviews with a remarkable who’s who of 20th Century American pop culture, present a brilliant and entertaining snapshot of the life of an extraordinary man and the controversies that surrounded him.

J’ai Tué Ma Mère Xavier Dolan, Canada
English Canada Premiere
Hubert, a brash 17-year-old, is confused and torn by a love-hate relationship with his mother that consumes him more and more each day. After distressing ordeals and tragic episodes, Hubert will find his mother on the banks of Saint Lawrence river, where he grew up, and where a murder will be committed: the murder of childhood.

The Trotsky Jacob Tierney, Canada
World Premiere
Leon Bronstein (Jay Baruchel) is not your average Montreal West high school student. For one thing, none of his peers can claim to be the reincarnation of early 20th century Soviet iconoclast and Red Army hero, Leon Trotsky. When his father (Saul Rubinek) sends Leon to public school as punishment for starting a hunger strike at Papa’s clothing factory, Leon quickly lends new meaning to the term “student union,” determined as he is to live out his pre-ordained destiny to the fullest and change the world.

The Special Presentations programme is made possible through the generous
sponsorship of American Movie Classics Company LLC.


CANADIAN FILMS AND DOCUMENTARIES ANNOUNCED TO SCREEN IN VANGUARD, REAL TO REEL, CONTEMPORARY WORLD CINEMA, MASTERS AND SPROCKETS FAMILY ZONE

Toronto – The 34th Toronto International Film Festival announces 13 Canadian features screening in five different programmes, offering opportunities for audiences to experience vibrant and engaging films from across the country.


VANGUARD

Carcasses Denis Côté, QC
North American Premiere
Québec auteur Denis Côté brings us a beautiful story about an elderly man who lives in a junkyard surrounded by the detritus of culture and who is paid a surprise visit by a group of youths.


Leslie, My Name Is Evil Reginald Harkema, ON
World Premiere
Perry, a sheltered chemist, falls in love with Leslie, a former homecoming princess, when he is selected to be a jury member at her hippie, death-cult murder trial. When Perry and Leslie lock eyes in court, Perry is forced to confront his deepest, darkest urges.


REAL TO REEL

Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould Peter Raymont and Michele Hozer, ON
World Premiere
An enigmatic musical poet and world-renowned pianist, Glenn Gould continues to captivate international audiences twenty-six years after his early death. An intimate look at the man alongside the myth, Glenn Gould: The Inner Life casts a new light on a genius whose ideas were as controversial, and his private life as passionate as his music.

Petropolis: Aerial Perspectives on the Alberta Tar Sands Peter Mettler, ON
North American Premiere
Filmmaker and visual artist Peter Mettler takes audiences on an eye-opening aerial tour of Alberta’s tar sands in this beautiful, haunting and vital documentary. This film is co-presented by Short Cuts Canada.

Reel Injun Neil Diamond, QC
World Premiere
Neil Diamond’s documentary Reel Injun is a long-needed corrective to the wildly inaccurate portrayals of native peoples in Hollywood films and filled with revealing and often poignant interviews with key players like actors Wes Studi, Adam Beach and Sacheen Littlefeather.


CONTEMPORARY WORLD CINEMA

A Gun to the Head Blaine Thurier, BC
World Premiere
A reformed criminal escapes his wife’s dinner party for a quick beer with his cousin and former partner in crime. Over the course of one wild night, he’s dragged back into a world of drugs, women, guns and gangsters; endangering the lives of those he loves the most.

Cole Carl Bessai, BC
World Premiere
Cole (Richard de Klerk) wants to write his way out of small-town Lytton, B.C. and his job at the family gas station. A new romance with Serafina (Kandyse McClure), a woman from his writing class, offers a chance for both of them to change their lives in this emotional and intense drama.

Excited Bruce Sweeney, BC
World Premiere
Writer-director Bruce Sweeney returns with a romantic comedy about a man who may have just met the woman of his dreams, but their romance is complicated by his meddling, officious mother and his inability to confront or discuss his sexual hang-ups.

High Life Gary Yates, ON/MB
North American Premiere
Two drug-addled brothers go for one last major score in writer-director Gary Yates’s energetic and funny crime comedy.

Passenger Side Matthew Bissonnette, ON
Canadian Premiere
In writer-director Matthew Bissonette’s intimate and amusing road movie Passenger Side, two talkative brothers tour Los Angeles while trying to reconcile their romantic lives.

Suck Robert Stefaniuk, ON
World Premiere
A rock’n’roll vampire comedy about a down-and-out band that will do anything for a record deal. Their humdrum image radically changes when the bass player disappears one night with a hip vampire and emerges with a sexually charged charisma that drives the audiences wild. Featuring cameos by Alice Cooper, his daughter Calico Cooper, Alex Lifeson, Moby, Iggy Pop, Carole Pope and Henry Rollins.

MASTERS

La Donation Bernard Émond, QC
North American Premiere
Dr. Rainville, an aging country doctor with a deep attachment to his patients, is about to retire and is looking for a successor. Jeanne Dion, an emergency room doctor from Montreal, agrees to go to Normétal to replace him for a few weeks, with no plans for an extended stay. When Dr. Rainville suddenly dies, Jeanne must decide if she’ll take over the job, and its inherent responsibilities, for the long-term.

SPROCKETS FAMILY ZONE

A Shine of Rainbows Vic Sarin, Canada/Ireland
North American Premiere
An extraordinary woman helps an orphan boy find self-acceptance and love through her unique gifts of colour and magic. Set in a small village on wind-swept Corrie Island, just off the coast of Ireland, A Shine of Rainbows is a story about the transformational power of love, finding acceptance, discovering magic and realizing that rainbows are all around you and within you, too.

Real to Reel is made possible through the generous sponsorship of A&E IndieFilms.
The Contemporary World Cinema programme is made possible through the generous sponsorship of Sun Life Financial.
The Masters programme is made possible through the generous sponsorship of BMO Nesbitt Burns.


CANADA FIRST! SHOWCASES THE BEST IN NEW HOMEGROWN TALENT

Toronto – Furthering its commitment to celebrate new Canadian works, the 34th Toronto International Film Festival announces six films for the sixth edition of Canada First! – offering audiences a chance to explore the next wave of homegrown talent. This year’s programme focuses on works from first-time Canadian directors as well as those presenting a feature film at the Festival for the first time. Canada First! will launch with Sook-Yin Lee’s Year of the Carnivore, the talented actor’s directorial feature debut, following short films such as Unlocked (2005), Girl Cleans Sink (2004) and a segment of last year’s Toronto Stories (2008).

Year of the Carnivore Sook-Yin Lee, BC
World Premiere
Year of the Carnivore is a romantic-comedy-drama about a girl with an unrequited crush on a boy who thinks she’s bad in bed, so she goes out to get more ‘experience.’

All Fall Down Philip Hoffman, ON
North American Premiere
Local legend Philip Hoffman’s formally adventurous and emotionally devastating documentary looks at the tortured last years of Toronto writer George Lachlan Brown, setting the account against a backdrop of regional myths and conspiracies.

Crackie Sherry White, NL
North American Premiere
Mitsy (Meghan Greeley) just wants to escape her life in Newfoundland and her overbearing grandmother (Mary Walsh), but a visit from her mother and an affair with the take-out guy (Joel Thomas Hynes) may sidetrack her dreams of becoming a beautician in writer and director Sherry White’s emotional and insightful debut Crackie.

George Ryga’s HUNGRY HILLS Rob King, SK
World Premiere
George Ryga’s HUNGRY HILLS is a beautifully dark adaptation of the acclaimed Canadian novel about one teenager’s struggles to revive the family farm in the foothills of northern Alberta during the Depression.

Machotaildrop Corey Adams and Alex Craig, BC,Canada/USA
World Premiere
Equal parts surreal comedy, fantasy and indictment of our logo-glutted culture, Corey Adams and Alex Craig’s Machotaildrop follows teen skateboarder Walter as he’s recruited by a legendary company to be their next big star.


The Wild Hunt Alexandre Franchi, QC
World Premiere
Fantasy and reality meet in The Wild Hunt when an ancient ritual is reborn in the woods north of Montreal.

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