(July 29, 2015 – Toronto, ON) The 40th annual Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) made its first announcement about this year`s lineup yesterday. The first 49 titles are just the start of a slate that will eventually number about 300 films. The biggest news is usually reserved for the opening-night Gala selection and this year organizers have chosen Jean-Marc Vallée’s Demolition to kick things off on September 10th.
Piers Handling, CEO and Director of TIFF, and Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director of the Toronto International Film Festival, were on hand to announce the first round of titles premiering in the Galas and Special Presentations programmes. Of the 15 Galas and 34 Special Presentations announced, this initial lineup includes films from such acclaimed directors as Ridley Scott, Michael Moore, Deepa Mehta, Lenny Abrahamson, Brian Helgeland, Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson, Jason Bateman, Cary Fukunaga, Catherine Corsini, Stephen Frears, Tom Hooper, Hany Abu-Assad, Meghna Gulzar, Terence Davies, Jonás Cuarón, Julie Delpy, Rebecca Miller and Johnnie To.
“We are celebrating our 40th anniversary in 2015 and this first round of films offers a taste of the incredible lineup at this year’s Festival,” said Handling. “Made by both established and emerging filmmakers from around the world, these films offer a global snapshot of our times.”
The Opening Night Gala, always a prestigious spot at any film festival, has been given to Québec-born Canadian director Jean-Marc Vallée and his new film Demolition. Jake Gyllenhaal plays a successful investment banker who struggles with life after losing his wife
in a tragic car crash. Despite pressure from his father-in-law (Chris Cooper) to pull it together, Davis continues to unravel. What starts as a complaint letter to a vending machine company turns into a series of letters revealing startling personal admissions. Davis’ letters catch the attention of customer service rep Karen (Naomi Watts) and, amidst emotional and financial burdens of her own, the two strangers form an unlikely connection. With the help of Karen and her son (Judah Lewis), Davis starts to rebuild, beginning with the demolition of the life he once knew. Films gain their nationality largely based on where the money came from to finance the production. Demolition is a US film, but it is nice to see pride of place at the festival go to a Canadian director.
Regular readers will know that our focus is strictly Canadian and so here are some details of the other Canadian films, in alphabetical order by title, announced at yesterday`s media conference:
Beeba Boys from Director Deepa Mehta will have its World Premiere at TIFF 40. It`s an adrenaline-charged violent Indo-Canadian gang war mixes guns, bhangra beats, bespoke suits, cocaine, and betrayal. Gang boss Jeet Johar and his loyal, young crew are audaciously taking over the Vancouver drug and arms scene from an old-style crime syndicate. Hearts are broken and family bonds shattered when the Beeba Boys (known as the “nice boys”) do anything “to be seen and to be feared” — in a white world.
Forsaken is directed by Jon Cassar and will also enjoy a World Premiere. Tormented by a dark secret, an aging gunfighter abandons a life of killing and returns home, only to discover his mother has died. He’s forced to confront his estranged father and the life he left behind. Starring Donald Sutherland, Kiefer Sutherland and Demi Moore.
Hyena Road (Hyena Road: Le Chemin du Combat) directed by Paul Gross is also a World Premiere. A sniper who has never allowed himself to think of his targets as humans becomes implicated in the life of one such target. An intelligence officer who has never contemplated killing becomes the engine of a plot to kill. And a legendary Mujahideen warrior who had put war behind him is now the centre of the battle zone. Three men, three worlds, three conflicts — all stand at the intersection of modern warfare, a murky world of fluid morality in which all is not as it seems.
Remember is Atom Egoyan`s new film. It`s a North American Premiere at TIFF.Remember is the contemporary story of Zev, who discovers that the Nazi guard who murdered his family some 70 years ago is living in America under an assumed identity. Despite the obvious challenges, Zev sets out on a mission to deliver long-delayed justice with his own trembling hand. What follows is a remarkable cross-continent road-trip with surprising consequences. Starring Academy Award winners Christopher Plummer and Martin Landau.
Brooklyn from director John Crowley is a United Kingdom/Ireland/Canada coproduction. This Canadian Premiere is set on opposite sides of the Atlantic, this drama tells the profoundly moving story of Eilis Lacey, a young Irish immigrant navigating her way through 1950s Brooklyn. Lured by the promise of America, Eilis departs Ireland and the comfort of her mother’s home for the shores of New York City. The initial shackles of homesickness quickly diminish as a fresh romance sweeps Eilis into the intoxicating charm of love. But soon, her new vivacity is disrupted by her past, and Eilis must choose between two countries and the lives that exist within. Starring Saoirse Ronan, Domhnall Gleeson, Emory Cohen, Jim Broadbent and Julie Walters.
Room by director Lenny Abrahamson is an Ireland/Canada coproduction and also a Canadian Premiere. Told through the eyes of five-year-old-Jack, Room is a thrilling and emotional tale that celebrates the resilience and power of the human spirit. To Jack, the room is the world… it`s where he was born, where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. But while it`s home to Jack, to Ma it`s a prison. Through her fierce love for her son, Ma has managed to create a childhood for him in their 10-by-10-foot space. But as Jack`s curiosity is building alongside Ma`s own desperation — she knows
Much like the opening Gala, Sicario from Denis Villeneuve is a US film with a Canadian director. It will have its North American Premiere at TIFF. In the lawless border area stretching between the U.S. and Mexico, an idealistic FBI agent (Emily Blunt) is enlisted by an elite government task force official (Josh Brolin) to aid in the escalating war against drugs. Led by an enigmatic consultant with a questionable past (Benicio Del Toro), the team sets out on a clandestine journey that forces Kate to question everything that she believes.
This is just the first round of announcements as the season crawls slowly toward September. The 2015 Toronto International Film Festival® runs from September 10 to 20.