My pics of “Maps to the Stars” N. American Premiere Cast Intro at the 2014 Toronto Film Festival

On Tuesday, September 9, 2014 I attended the star-studded North American Premiere of Maps to the Stars at the Toronto International Film Festival. The sold-out screening was held at the cavernous 2630-seat Roy Thomson Hall, TIFF's largest venue. It was a selection in the Gala Presentations section.

Directing from a biting script by Bruce Wagner, director David Cronenberg shot Maps to the Stars in the summer of 2013 on location in Hollywood and Beverly Hills, California, as well as Toronto. After a smashing debut in competition for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in May (where Julianne Moore won Best Actress), along with other high profile festival appearances, Cronenberg hosted the picture's long-awaited North American Premiere here at TIFF.   

With an award-winning cast featuring Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, Olivia Williams, Sarah Gadon, John Cusack, Robert Pattinson, Evan Bird, Emilia McCarthy, and Ari Cohen, Cronenberg uses the backdrop of Hollywood, with its legendary superficiality, to tell a tale of family dysfunction that demands multiple viewings. In fact, I saw it twice here -- something I've only done once before in my nine years attending TIFF (The Perks of Being a Wallflower in 2012). 

The slick look of the movie owes much to a veteran creative team of longtime Cronenberg collaborators, led by cinematographer Peter Suschitzky. This is their tenth feature together, going back to 1988's Dead Ringers. Editor Ronald Sanders joined Cronenberg for the first time on 1981's Scanners. This is their 15th feature together. The picture boasts a haunting score by the iconic Howard Shore, who's also worked with Cronenberg on 15 films, beginning with The Brood in 1979. Production Designer Carol Spier has worked on 15 Cronenberg features as well, going back to The Brood.

The Canadian filmmaker is no stranger to the Toronto International Film Festival. Cronenberg has brought a number of movies to TIFF, including M. Butterfly (1992), A History of Violence (2005), Eastern Promises (2007), and A Dangerous Method (2011). With Maps to the Stars, Cronenberg demonstrates once again why he's one of the industry's most incisive and insightful directors.

Executive Producers were Benedict Carver, Patrice Theroux, and Renee Tab. It was produced by Martin Katz, Saïd Ben Saïd, and Michel Merkt. Maps to the Stars is a Canada/Germany co-production from Prospero Pictures and Integral Film GmbH. Just prior to TIFF, Entertainment One Films sold US distribution rights to Focus World, an arm of NBC Universal's Focus Features. An early 2015 release is planned.

For a synopsis see the festival's official page.

Unlike other films at TIFF, Gala Presentations at Roy Thomson Hall do not include a post-screening Q&A (with rare exceptions). However, there is an opportunity for the filmmakers and cast to appear onstage prior to the film, and the audience was thrilled to be a part of it that night. Director David Cronenberg was joined by 10 members of the cast and crew, including stars Julianne Moore, John Cusack, Robert Pattinson, Sarah Gadon, Olivia Williams, Dawn Greenhalgh, and Evan Bird, along with writer Bruce Wagner and producers Michel Merkt and Martin Katz.

Here are some pictures I shot during the introduction:

GALLERY (58 photos)


NOTE: I selected Maps to the Stars as one of my Top 10 from the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.

The official UK trailer is below.


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Larry Richman

Larry Richman

For 20 years I was a professional in the entertainment industry, from commercial broadcast radio in America's fourth largest market to band management to record production. But my passion is independent film, and I spend much of the year traveling to film festivals to see indies and meet the actors, directors, and others responsible for creating them. I'm a writer, photographer, and videographer, currently serving as Senior Vice President for Media & Technology and Public Relations at PROnetworks as well as Editor at

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