Final batch of films announced for 40th Toronto International Film Festival

Aug 25, 2015 by Ian Evans

Today, the Toronto International Film Festival announced the final batch of films and presentations that will unfold in the city starting September 10th.

Here’s a look. Descriptions provided by the Festival:

In Conversation With…

  • In Conversation With… Julianne Moore — Among her numerous accolades throughout her career in film, television, on stage and as a NY-Times Bestselling author, Academy Award® and Emmy®-winning actress Julianne Moore is the ninth person in Academy history to receive two Oscar nominations in the same year and the only American actress to be awarded top acting prizes at the Cannes, Berlin and Venice film festivals. Having appeared in more than 60 feature films, she will next be seen this October in Freeheld – part of the Festival’s official selection – opposite Ellen Page and Michael Shannon, and in November as President Coin in Francis Lawrence’s upcoming Hunger Games sequel Mockingjay: Part 2. Julianne is an Artist Ambassador for Save the Children U.S. Programs, is on the Advisory Council of The Children’s Health Fund, and is a supporter of Planned Parenthood and the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance. Moore will hit the stage for a special conversation on the occasion of the premiere of her highly anticipated new film.
  • In Conversation With… Salma Hayek — Academy Award-nominee and Emmy winner Salma Hayek has proven herself as a prolific actress, producer and director in both film and television. Hayek has several films set for release this year and next, including the Festival selection Septembers of Shiraz alongside Adrien Brody, Tale of Tales by acclaimed Italian director Matteo Garrone, and as the voice “Teresa Taco” in Seth Rogen’s upcoming animated feature Sausage Party. She was nominated for an Academy Award, Golden Globe®, Screen Actors Guild and a BAFTA award for her leading role in Julie Taymor’s Frida. Noted for her acting career, Hayek has also dedicated much of her time to social activism, previously serving as spokesperson for the Pampers/UNICEF partnership worldwide and the Avon Foundation’s Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program. In November 2005, she served as co-host, alongside Julianne Moore, at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo. She was also part of the One campaign that singer and activist Bono created, as well as a member of Global Green, and Youth Aids. Born and raised in Coatzacoalcos, Mexico, Hayek studied International Relations in college in Mexico. Hayek takes the stage to discuss her remarkable career to date.
  • In Conversation With… Sarah Silverman — Two-time Emmy winner Sarah Silverman is a versatile performer with a repertoire that includes everything from film and television to stand-up comedy and iconic videos. Silverman next stars in the lead role of drama I Smile Back – in the Festival’s official selection – and in Ashby. She recently wrapped production on the Top Secret Untitled Lonely Island Project, as well as a comedy pilot for HBO which she executive produced and in which she stars. Last year she was awarded an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special for her comedy special We Are Miracles. Other credits include Wreck-It Ralph, Take This Waltz and her concert film Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic. Silverman’s sharp sense of humour is sure to entertain audiences as she discusses her varied career.
  • In Conversation With… Matthew Weiner — Matthew Weiner serves as creator, Executive Producer, writer and director on the critically acclaimed drama Mad Men. This exclusive on-stage conversation is sure to delight fans and will include a screening of the final episode of Season 1, “The Wheel,” which Weiner wrote and directed, accompanied by his engaging and entertaining live commentary, as well as a discussion about Weiner’s career to date. Mad Men is nominated for 11 Emmy nominations this year including Outstanding Drama Series and two writing nominations for Weiner including the finale of the series which he also directed. Since the series premiere in 2007, Mad Men has become one of television’s most honored shows joining an elite group in 2011 when it became only the fourth drama to be awarded four consecutive Emmy Awards for Outstanding Drama Series. Additional honors for the series include: three Golden Globe Awards for Best Television Drama Series; a Peabody Award; three Producers Guild Awards; four Writers Guild Awards; two BAFTA Awards; five Television Critics Association Awards, including Program of the Year; and being named seven years running to AFI’s Top 10 Outstanding Television Programs. Weiner’s additional credits include serving as an Executive Producer and writer on The Sopranos, and writer on various television comedy series including The Naked Truth, Becker, and Andy Richter Controls the Universe. In addition to his television credits, Weiner wrote and directed the feature film, Are You Here, featuring performances from Owen Wilson, Zack Galifianakis and Amy Poehler. Weiner currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife, architect Linda Brettler, and their four sons.

Discovery Programme

  • A Patch of Fog Michael Lennox, United Kingdom — World Premiere — A celebrated novelist and TV personality finds his reputation on the line when he is caught shoplifting by a lonely security guard, intent on becoming his friend for life. Stephen Graham (Pirates of the Caribbean, Boardwalk Empire) stars alongside Conleth Hill (Game of Thrones), Lara Pulver (Sherlock), Arsher Ali (Four Lions) and Ian McElhinney (Game of Thrones).
  • The Ardennes Robin Pront, Belgium — World Premiere — Two bandit brothers, one fresh from prison, the other eager to escape their criminal past, form a potentially explosive love triangle with the ex-con’s ex-girlfriend, in Robin Pront’s Cain vs. Abel update.
  • Beast Tom McKeith, Sam McKeith, Australia/Philippines — World Premiere — Deep in the slums of Manila, a young boxer’s life is changed forever when his father pressures him to cheat in a fight.
  • Black Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah, Belgium — World Premiere — Fifteen-year-old Mavela is a member of the notorious Black Bronx gang. She falls head over heels in love with the charismatic Marwan, a boy from the rival gang 1080ers. The two young people are brutally forced to choose between loyalty to their gang and their love for each other. An impossible choice … or not?
  • Born to Dance Tammy Davis, New Zealand — World Premiere — A Maori teen faces parental and social pressure while leading his competitive hip-hop dance crew toward the regional championships, in this exhilarating feature directorial debut from New Zealand actor Tammy Davis.
  • Dégradé Arab Nasser, Tarzan Nasser, Palestine/France/Qatar — North American Premiere — Gaza Strip, present day. Christine’s beauty salon is heaving with female clients: a bitter divorcée, a stern religious woman, a disenchanted housewife addicted to prescription drugs, and a young bride-to-be, among others. But their day of leisure is disrupted when gunfire breaks out across the street. A gangland family has stolen the lion from Gaza’s zoo, and the police have decided it’s time to wrestle control. Stuck in the salon, the women start to unravel…
  • Desde Allá Lorenzo Vigas, Venezuela — North American Premiere — Fifty-year-old Armando picks up young boys in the streets of Caracas and pays them to come home with him. He also regularly spies on an older man with whom he seems bound by something in the past. One day he meets 17-year-old Elder, the leader of a small gang. Violent at first, their relationship morphs into something beautiful … until the inevitable happens.
  • Downriver Grant Scicluna, Australia — International Premiere — James has served time for drowning a little boy when he himself was just a child, although the body was never found. Upon his parole, a visit from his victim’s mother sends him on a quest to find the truth. With little time and danger at every turn, James risks his freedom and his life to uncover the trail of sins that might give closure to a grieving mother.
  • Eva Nová Marko Škop, Slovakia — World Premiere — Eva would do anything to regain the love of the one she hurt the most — her son. She is a recovered alcoholic, but decades ago she was a famous actress.
  • Five Nights in Maine Maris Curran, USA — World Premiere — Reeling from the tragic, sudden death of his wife, a man travels to rural Maine to seek answers from his estranged mother-in-law, who is herself confronting guilt and grief over her daughter’s death. Starring David Oyelowo (Selma), Dianne Wiest and Rosie Perez.
  • The Here After (Efterskalv) Magnus von Horn, Poland/Sweden/France — North American Premiere — When John returns home to his father after serving time in prison, he is looking forward to starting his life afresh. However in the local community, his crime is neither forgotten nor forgiven. John’s presence brings out the worst in everyone around him and a lynch-mob atmosphere slowly takes shape. Feeling abandoned by his former friends and the people he loves, John loses hope and the same aggressions that previously sent him to prison start building up again. Unable to leave the past behind, he decides to confront it.
  • Ixcanul Jayro Bustamante, Guatemala/France — Canadian Premiere — María, a young 17-year-old Mayan girl, lives and works with her parents on a coffee plantation in the foothills of an active volcano in Guatemala. An arranged marriage awaits her. Although María dreams of going to the “big city,” her status as an indigenous woman does not permit her to change her destiny. A snake bite forces her to go out into the modern world where her life is saved, but at what price?
  • James White Josh Mond, USA — Canadian Premiere — James White (Christopher Abbott) is a troubled twenty-something trying to stay afloat in a frenzied New York City. He retreats further into a self-destructive, hedonistic lifestyle, but as his mother (Cynthia Nixon) battles a serious illness James is forced to take control of his life. The directorial debut of Martha Marcy May Marlene producer Josh Mond, James White, which had its — World Premiere — at Sundance Film Festival 2014 where it was the winner of the Audience Award: NEXT, is a confident and closely observed debut that explores loss and the deep relationship between a mother and son.
  • Keeper Guillaume Senez, Belgium/Switzerland/France — North American Premiere — Maxime and Mélanie are in love. Together, they clumsily explore their sexuality with fiery curiosity until the day Mélanie realizes she’s pregnant. At first Maxime takes the news badly, but then he gets used to the idea of becoming a father. He convinces Melanie to keep the baby. So it’s been decided – Maxime and Mélanie, all of fifteen years old, will become parents.
  • Les Cowboys Thomas Bidegain, France/Belgium — North American Premiere — A vast prairie, a country and western gathering somewhere in the east of France. Alain is a central figure in this community. He’s dancing with his daughter, 16-year-old Kelly, as his wife and their young son Kid watch from the sidelines. But on this day, Kelly disappears, and the family falls apart. Alain embarks on a relentless search for his daughter, even though it costs him everything and takes him to dark, unsettling places, where his sole support is Kid, who sacrifices his youth to accompany his father on this seemingly endless quest.
  • Meghmallar Zahidur Rahim Anjan, Bangladesh — World Premiere — A case of mistaken identity throws an apolitical chemistry teacher into the maelstrom of the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War, in the striking debut feature from director Zahidur Rahim Anjan.
  • Mountain Yaelle Kayam, Israel/Denmark — North American Premiere — An Orthodox Jewish woman, living at the edge of the cemetery on Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives, becomes fascinated by a nocturnal community of prostitutes and drug dealers congregating amongst the tombstones. Mountain is a haunting and dramatic exploration of a women’s search for identity.
  • My Name is Emily Simon Fitzmaurice, Ireland — North American Premiere — Packed off to a foster home after her father is institutionalized, a rebellious young Irish girl resolves to bust her dad out of the hospital where he’s been confined, in this spirited coming-of-age tale from celebrated memoirist and first-time feature director Simon Fitzmaurice.
  • The Paradise Suite Joost van Ginkel, Netherlands/Sweden/Bulgaria — World Premiere — This dexterous tale of survival from director Joost van Ginkel traces the intersecting stories of six immigrants from very different backgrounds in Amsterdam who learn that they can irreversibly influence each other’s lives, sometimes with just one glance.
  • Semana Santa Alejandra Márquez Abella, Mexico — World Premiere — Dali and her eight-year-old son Pepe take a vacation to Acapulco with Dali’s boyfriend, Chavez. Instead of bringing them closer, their beach holiday brings out things in each of them that threaten to pull this emerging family apart.
  • Spear Stephen Page, Australia — World Premiere — Djali, a young Aboriginal man, sets off on a journey of initiation to understand what it means to be a man in a modern day world. He sees the problems being faced by Aboriginal men in remote and urban communities. As he struggles to find his place, he becomes awakened to a spiritual force within, guiding him on his journey into manhood.
  • Very Big Shot (Film Kteer Kbeer) Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya, Lebanon/Qatar — World Premiere — Intending to smuggle the amphetamine Captagon to Iraqi Kurdistan, a small-time Lebanese drug dealer discovers that a way to foil customs, with the help of a talentless filmmaker. Posing as a film producer, he has no qualms manipulating public opinion to his advantage.
  • The Wait (L’attesa) Piero Messina, Italy — North American Premiere — Waiting for someone is an act of faith. Anna and Jeanne, isolated in a Sicilian country house in Caltagirone, are waiting for Giuseppe’s arrival. He is the former’s son, the latter’s boyfriend. Their wait turns into a mysterious act of love and will, while in the streets people are celebrating Easter.
  • We Monsters (Wir Monster) Sebastian Ko, Germany — North American Premiere — Paul and Christine know their teenage daughter Sarah has been thrown off track by their separation — but is she capable of committing a horrible crime? Wanting to protect her, they decide attempt to hide her wrongdoing, but their joint guilt forces the family back together under a web of lies. The directorial debut from German actor Sebastian Ko, We Monsters is a gripping psychological thriller.
  • Wedding Doll (Chatona Meniyar) Nitzan Gilady, Israel — International Premiere — Fixated on romantic fantasies, a kindly and strong-willed young woman with a mild mental disability embarks on a relationship — much to the concern of her protective mother — in this assured first feature from director Nitzan Gilady.

Cinematheque Programme
  • Heat Michael Mann, USA — Hard-boiled ex-con Neil McCauley is the leader of a crew of seasoned thieves who operate with grim determination and military discipline. But when a last-minute replacement on his team leads to a bloody triple murder during an armoured truck robbery, McCauley is targeted by veteran detective Vincent Hanna, whose obsessive dedication both mirrors and contrasts with McCauley’s ruthless professionalism. Starring Al Pacino and Robert De Niro with Jon Voight, Val Kilmer, Ashley Judd, Tom Sizemore and Amy Brenneman.

Vanguard Programme
  • Zoom Pedro Morelli, Canada — World Premiere — Zoom is a fast-paced, pop-art inspired, multi-plot contemporary comedy. The film consists of three seemingly separate but ultimately interlinked storylines about a comic book artist, a novelist and a film director. Each character lives in a separate world but authors a story about the life of another.

  • The Boy and the Beast (Bakemono no ko) Mamoru Hosoda, Japan — International Premiere — A young boy in modern-day Tokyo stumbles into an alternate dimension and becomes the apprentice to a bearlike warrior, in this stunning animated fantasy from writer-director Mamoru Hosoda. Cast includes Koji Yakusho and Aoi Miyazaki. Recommended for ages 11 and up.
  • My Skinny Sister (Min lilla syster) Sanna Lenken, Sweden/Germany — Canadian Premiere — Just as Stella enters the exciting world of adolescence, she discovers that her big sister and role model Katja is hiding an eating disorder. The disease slowly tears the family apart. A story about jealousy, love and betrayal told with warmth, depth and laughter. Starring Rebecka Josephson, Amy Deasismont and Annika Hallin. Recommended for ages 11 and up.
  • Phantom Boy Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli, France/Belgium — North American Premiere — From the Academy Award-nominated directors of A Cat in Paris comes a thrilling new adventure. An 11-year-old boy named Leo, becomes an unlikely superhero when he discovers that he has the ability to leave his body and fly through walls. When a nefarious gangster takes control of New York’s power supply, only he can save the city. Cast includes Audrey Tautou, Édouard Baer and Jean-Pierre Marielle. Recommended for ages 10 and up.
  • The Iron Giant: Signature Edition Brad Bird, USA — World Premiere — Remastered and enhanced with two new scenes, the modern animated classic about a young boy befriending a gigantic space robot returns to enchant a new generation of audiences. Cast includes Jennifer Aniston, Harry Connick, Jr., Vin Diesel and Eli Marienthal. Recommended for ages 7 and up.