The Toronto Film Festival has announced more than 40 titles — a mix of awards contenders, star-powered indies, and international arthouse fare — screening in its Gala and Special Presentations program this September, including Denzel Washington’s “The Equalizer,” a pair of Reese Witherspoon projects and closing-night film “A Little Chaos,” Alan Rickman’s period pic starring Kate Winslet as a landscape gardener assigned to construct the garden at Versailles.
World-preeming Galas announced this morning at the TIFF Bell Lightbox also include “Pawn Sacrifice,” Ed Zwick’s biopic on the legendary Cold War-era chess match between Bobby Fischer (Tobey Maguire) and Boris Spassky (Liev Schreiber), and “Black and White,” Mike Binder’s tale of a grieving widower (Kevin Costner) in a custody battle, as well as WB fall releases “The Judge” (Robert Downey Jr.) and Shawn Levy’s dysfunctional-family comedy-drama “This Is Where I Leave You.”
International titles world-preeming on the Gala screen include Lone Scherfig’s Oxford undergrad intrigue “The Riot Club,” based on Laura Wade’s play “Posh”; Francois Ozon’s “The New Girlfriend,” based on a short story by suspense scribe Ruth Rendell; and Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano’s social comedy “Samba,” which reteams them with “The Intouchables” star Omar Sy.
Two recent Cannes competition premieres, David Cronenberg’s “Maps to the Stars” (eOne) and Bennett Miller’s “Foxcatcher” (SPC), will receive their North American preems on Toronto’s Gala stage.
Earlier this year, Toronto Film Festival artistic director Cameron Bailey delivered the message that, from now on, prime first-weekend screening slots would be restricted to world or North American preems, a response to last year’s thunder-stealing programming at Telluride.
The move does not seem to have diminished Toronto’s clout. Today’s slate announcement, the first of many this summer, is packed with world preems of U.S. titles still up for grabs.
U.S. titles world-preeming in Special Presentations include Oren Moverman’s “Time Out Of Mind,” starring Richard Gere as a homeless man reaching out to his estranged daughter; Bill Pohlad’s Brian Wilson biopic “Love & Mercy,” starring John Cusack and penned by Moverman; Noah Baumbach’s “While We’re Young,” starring Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts as an uptight docu filmmaker and his wife; and Chris Rock’s “Top Five.”
“Ned Rifle,” the final chapter in Hal Hartley’s tragicomic trilogy about the Grim family, will world preem in the program, as well as Daniel Barnz’s “Cake,” starring Jennifer Aniston as a woman obsessed with the suicide of a someone in her chronic pain support group; “Captain America” star Chris Evans’ helming bow, “Before We Go”; and Sarik Andreasyan’s “American Heist,” starring Adrien Brody and Hayden Christensen; Daniel Barber’s Civil War-era thriller “The Keeping Room”; and Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland’s “Still Alice,” starring Julianne Moore as a professor who discovers she has early onset Alzheimer’s.
U.S.-backed pics from foreign helmers world-preeming in Toronto include Isabel Coixet’s “Learning to Drive,” starring Ben Kingsley and Patricia Clarkson; and Jean-Baptiste Leonetti’s “The Reach,” starring Michael Douglas and Jeremy Irvine.
Fall releases world-preeming in Special Presentations include Dan Gilroy’s “Nightcrawler” (Open Road), starring Jake Gyllenhaal as a freelance crime journalist; Jason Reitman’s ensemble pic “Men, Women & Children” (Paramount); Montreal helmer Philippe Falardeau’s “The Good Lie” (Warner Bros.), starring Reese Witherspoon as a woman who opens her home to Sudanese refugees; Michael R. Roskam’s neighborhood thriller “The Drop” (Fox Searchlight), starring Tom Hardy and the late James Gandolfini; James Marsh’s biopic about Stephen Hawking, “The Theory of Everything” (Focus); and Israel Horovitz’s “My Old Lady” (Cohen Media), starring Kevin Kline as a man who discovers a mother and daughter (Maggie Smith and Kristen Scott Thomas) are living in the Paris apartment he has recently inherited.
Perhaps the most intriguing international co-production world-preeming in Special Presentations is “Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet,” an animated feature inspired by the classic book with segments by animation directors from around the world. The film first screened as a work-in-progress at Cannes.
Susanne Bier’s “A Second Chance,” Liv Ullman’s “Miss Julie,” Mia Hansen-Love’s “Eden,” Regis Wargnier’s “The Gate,” Christian Petzold’s “Phoenix,” Ning Hao’s “Breakup Buddies” and Toa Fraser’s “The Dead Lands” will all world-preem in Special Presentations.
Barry Levinson’s “The Humbling,” David Gordon Green’s “Manglehorn” and Andrew Niccol’s “Good Kill” receive their North American preems in the program, Damien Chazelle’s “Whiplash” its Canadian preem.
Additional international titles announced in Special Presentations include Mike Leigh’s “Mr. Turner,” Laurent Cantet’s “Return to Ithaca,” Abel Ferrara’s “Pasolini,” Zhang Yimou’s “Coming Home,” David Oelhoffen’s “Far From Men,” Ruben Ostlund’s “Force majeure,” Shim Sung-Bo’s “Haemoo,” Peter Chelsom’s “Hector and the Search for Happiness,” Saverio Costanzo’s “Hungry Hearts” and Wang Xiaoshuai’s “Red Amnesia.”
The Toronto Film Festival run Sept. 4-14.
The Last Five Years Richard LaGravenese, USA World Premiere In this adaptation of the hit Broadway musical, The Last Five Years is a musical deconstruction of a love affair and a marriage taking place over a five year period. Jamie, a young, talented up-and-coming Jewish novelist falls in love with Cathy, a Shiksa Goddess and struggling actress. The film, told almost entirely through song and a beautiful pop music score, portrays an honest, heartbreaking, often funny, exploration of love and its consequences on individual identity. Starring Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan.