2010 Toronto International Film Festival announces Canadian films, Midnight Madness opening night The countdown to the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival is on, with Opening Night just four weeks from Thursday. You can count on my coverage, of course -- this will be my fifth year attending TIFF. I saw over 105 films there from 2006-2009, and many of my Top Picks from all festivals over the past few years (out of over 500 films) came from the Toronto lineup.

This year's event runs from September 9-19. Almost every major Academy Award-winning film of the past few years debuted in Toronto. I've been to 47 film festivals since the start of 2006, but none as prestigious or breathtaking in scope as TIFF, which I consider to be the top film festival in the Western Hemisphere, second in the world only to Cannes. The number of films is expected to total over 275 with a a large percentage being World, International, or North American premieres.
Previously announced titles include Score: A Hockey Musical, the Official Opening Night Film, over 50 Galas and Special Presentations, and 25 documentaries along with the Wavelengths program. The highly-anticipated titles in the City to City and Midnight Madness programs will be announced in a press conference on Tuesday, August 17th, along with additional Galas and Special Presentations. The full schedule and list of guests will be revealed on Tuesday, August 24.

Today's announcement focuses on host country Canada. Looking back I've found that many of the films I've selected as Top Picks over the years came from the lineup of Canadian entries. Our neighbor to the north hasn't always been known as a hotbed for filmmaking talent -- even the locals deride the native industry -- but I've been very impressed with many of the titles and look forward to them every year. There have been 2,127 Canadian films at TIFF since 1976. Today's announcement of 24 features from Canada includes the Midnight Madness Opening Night Film, one Gala, six Special Presentations, five in the Contemporary World Cinema section, two docs in the Real to Real program, two titles in the Visions section, one Canadian Open Vault selection, and six in the Canada First program. In addition, 40 titles in the Short Cuts Canada program have been announced.

"It's a testament to the creative minds and incredible talent in this country that we have such a diverse and exciting offering of Canadian films across all programmes in this year's Festival," said TIFF programmer Steve Gravestock. "It's an exciting time for Canadian cinema and we're proud to bring audiences this line-up of films which includes documentaries profiling some of our beloved national figures, powerful and unsettling dramas, thrillers, comedies, romances and a record number of dysfunctional families."

Ticket packages are now available for purchase by cash, debit, or Visa online at tiff.net/thefestival, by phone at 416-968-FILM or 1-877-968-FILM (Monday through Friday, 10 AM to 7 PM), or in person at the TIFF Box Office at 2 Carlton Street, West Mezzanine (Monday to Friday: 10 AM to 7 PM. This year TIFF has introduced The Canadian Pack, a package selected by festival programmers that offers film lovers exposure to Canadian talent with a selection of five new Canadian films for $80.

Here are the Canadian films announced today (descriptions provided by the festival):


MIDNIGHT MADNESS OPENING NIGHT

Fubar II -- Michael Dowse, Canada
World Premiere
In the sequel to the 2002 cult comedy Fubar, hoser headbangers Terry and Dean are back and hit the road to find wealth, happiness and more beer in the oil fields of Alberta. Special appearance by Tron.


GALAS

A Beginners Guide to Endings -- Jonathan Sobol, Canada
World Premiere
Raucous, charming and very funny, Jonathan Sobol's comedy A Beginners Guide to Endings follows three sons as they deal with their gambler father's somewhat complicated legacy. Featuring the legendary Harvey Keitel, the film also stars Scott Caan, Paolo Costanzo, Wendy Crewson, Tricia Helfer, Jason Jones, and J.K. Simmons.

Previously announced Canadian Galas include: The Bang Bang Club, Steven Silver; Barney's Version, Richard J. Lewis; Casino Jack, George Hickenlooper; and Score: A Hockey Musical, Mike McGowan.


SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS


Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie -- Sturla Gunnarsson, Canada
World Premiere
At 75 years old, David Suzuki shows no signs of slowing down. In this captivating documentary portrait, the passionate environmentalist's legacy lecture is entwined with candid interviews in which he reflects on his life and shares deeply personal stories, revealing a side previously unseen.

Good Neighbours -- Jacob Tierney, Canada
World Premiere
Director Jacob Tierney (The Trotsky) returns with an innovative and unsettling thriller about some very strange people living in the same apartment building in Montreal's Notre-Dame-de-Gr?ce neighbourhood. The film stars Scott Speedman, Emily Hampshire and Jay Baruchel.

Incendies -- Denis Villeneuve, Canada
North American Premiere
After their mother Nawal's death, twins Simon and Jeanne embark on a journey to the Middle East that shines a disturbing light on their mother's past and culminates in a shocking revelation. Based on the acclaimed play by Wajdi Mouawad and directed by Genie and Jutra award-winner Denis Villeneuve (Polytechnique).

Les amours imaginaires (Heartbeats)
-- Xavier Dolan, Canada
English Canadian Premiere
Wunderkind filmmaker Xavier Dolan returns with his second feature ? a sophisticated comedy about close friends, Francis and Marie, who pursue their mutual obsession with a young man. As they face off in competition, cracks in their friendship begin to appear with both comic and tragic results.

Repeaters -- Carl Bessai, Canada
World Premiere
Veteran director Carl Bessai returns with a tense thriller that follows three young addicts in a rehabilitation centre. Each day they live the same events over and over ? a situation each responds to in radically different ways.

Trigger -- Bruce McDonald, Canada
World Premiere
Molly Parker and the late Tracy Wright form a highly dysfunctional yet endearing rock duo reuniting a decade after their band called it quits. Directed by Bruce McDonald (Pontypool, The Tracey Fragments, Hard Core Logo, Highway 61), and written by Daniel MacIvor, the film features Sarah Polley, Don McKellar and Callum Keith Rennie.


CONTEMPORARY WORLD CINEMA


? l?origine d?un cri -- Robin Aubert, Canada
World Premiere
Three generations of men from the same family drunkenly careen across the Qu?b?cois countryside in an emotionally powerful journey through the past from one of Qu?bec?s most intriguing young filmmakers.

MODRA -- Ingrid Veninger, Canada
World Premiere
In this authentic portrait of teenaged self-discovery, recently-dumped seventeen-year-old Lina and free spirit Leco travel to visit Lina's extended family in the quirky town of Modra, Slovakia.

A Night for Dying Tigers
-- Terry Miles, Canada
World Premiere
The night before Jack goes to prison for five years, his family gets together at their ancestral home for a farewell dinner. What begins as a civil, if not joyful, reunion quickly devolves into a morally questionable whirlwind of regret, reversals, and revelations. The film stars Jennifer Beals, Gil Bellows, Kathleen Roberston, Lauren Lee Smith, Tygh Runyon and John Pyper-Ferguson.

Route 132 -- Louis B?langer, Canada
English Canadian Premiere
A powerful drama directed by acclaimed veteran Louis B?langer, Route 132 focuses on a man who loses a loved one and embarks on a journey in an attempt to rediscover his roots and come to terms with his grief.

Small Town Murder Songs -- Ed Gass-Donnelly, Canada
World Premiere
Ed Gass-Donnelly?s (This Beautiful City) Small Town Murder Songs mixes sexuality, religion and tradition in a Greek tragedy about repression and mistrust. The film stars Peter Stormare, Jill Hennessy, Aaron Poole and Martha Plimpton.


REAL TO REEL

How to Start Your Own Country -- Jody Shapiro, Canada
World Premiere
Shapiro's documentary about micro-nations, tiny countries seldom recognized by the outside world, mixes comedy and compassion with a serious analysis of the concept of statehood and citizenship.

The Man of a Thousand Songs -- William D. MacGillivray, Canada
World Premiere
Veteran East Coast filmmaker William MacGillivray returns to the Festival with this emotional, intimate and tender documentary about the life of fabled Atlantic songwriter Ron Hynes.


VISIONS

Curling -- Denis C?t?, Canada
North American Premiere
Set in a village in Quebec, Denis C?t?s Curling follows inveterate loner Jean-Fran?ois, a single father, and his isolated 12-year-old daughter Julyvonne. Between his unremarkable jobs, Jean-Fran?ois devotes an awkward energy to Julyvonne until some unexpected events jeopardize the fragile balance of their relationship.

Trois temps apr?s la mort d'Anna
-- Catherine Martin, Canada
English Canadian Premiere
After vibrant young violinist Anna dies, her mother Fran?oise leaves Montreal and takes refuge at the country home of her maternal ancestors in Kamouraska. She has given up on life, but an old friend labours to revive her desire to live.


CANADIAN OPEN VAULT


A Married Couple -- Allan King, Canada
A restruck and restored version of master filmmaker Allan King's classic cinema-verit? film, one of the most influential and celebrated Canadian films ever made, A Married Couple records the collapse of a middle class couple's marriage. The film is being restruck in conjunction with Zoe Druick's monograph on the film, co-published by the University of Toronto Press and TIFF.


CANADA FIRST

Daydream Nation -- Mike Goldbach, BC
World Premiere
In this striking and slyly funny debut by filmmaker Mike Goldbach, a young woman (Kat Dennings) is uprooted to a small town where her classmates seem permanently stoned, an industrial fire burns ceaselessly in the background and a killer preys on the unsuspecting populace. The film also stars Andie MacDowell, Josh Lucas, Reece Thompson and Rachel Blanchard.

Amazon Falls
-- Katrin Bowen, BC
World Premiere
Characters reveal hidden depths as Katrin Bowen?s first feature tells the tale of a struggling actress named Jana. Delving into the high-stakes world of keeping up appearances for which Los Angeles is infamous, Amazon Falls crafts an intense look at dream-chasers living on the margins of Hollywood.

High Cost of Living
-- Deborah Chow, QC
World Premiere
Deborah Chow?s dark drama centres on the burgeoning relationship between an unlikely pair. Nathalie (Isabelle Blais) is expecting her first child and Henry (Zach Braff) is on his way to his next drug deal. Their paths fatefully collide one night in an event that will irrevocably change their lives.

Jaloux -- Patrick Demers, QC
North American Premiere
In this psychological thriller that was improvised during its 16-day shoot, a couple trying to mend their relationship set off for a weekend in the country. When they encounter a friendly neighbour, they are too absorbed in their marital woes to see that he is not who he appears to be.

Oliver Sherman -- Ryan Redford, ON
World Premiere
Tensions arise when Sherman visits the home of Franklin, a fellow soldier who saved his life back in the war. Franklin has long since moved on ? to a wife, two children and a reliable job, but the stability he has worked so hard to establish is soon threatened by Sherman?s presence. The film stars Donal Logue, Molly Parker and Garret Dillahunt.

You Are Here -- Daniel Cockburn, ON
North American Premiere
You Are Here is a smartly-crafted commentary on our modern day existence. Comprised of interconnected mini-narratives, the film?s characters find themselves trapped in bizarre social experiments of their own making. The film features Tracy Wright and Nadia Litz.



Author

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 Larry411.com

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