2012 Toronto International Film Festival announces three more Galas and 18 Special Presentations The 2012 Toronto International Film Festival is just over three weeks away. I've attended 57 film festivals since the start of 2006, but none as prestigious or breathtaking in scope as this one. I saw over 170 films there from 2006-2011, and many of my Top Picks from all festivals over the past few years (of over 1000 in total) came from the TIFF lineup.

This year's event runs from September 6-16 and is considered by many (including myself) to be the top fest in the Western Hemisphere, second in the world only to Cannes. Many movies have their World, International or North American premieres there. Almost every major Academy Award-winning motion picture of the past few years debuted at TIFF. The number of films is expected to total over 275. Previously announced titles include 64 Galas and Special Presentations, 74 films in the Midnight Madness, TIFF Docs, Vanguard, City to City, TIFF Kids, and TIFF Cinematheque sections, and 19 features from host country Canada. The final list will be released next Tuesday, August 21. At that point the dates, times, and locations of screenings will be released as the program book is made available.

Three more Galas and 18 Special Presentations were announced this morning, bringing the final number of Galas to 20 and the final number of Special Presentations to 70, including 48 World Premieres. In addition, titles were announced today in the Contemporary World Cinema, Wavelengths, and Future Projections programs. Still to come: Visions, Masters, Mavericks, Discovery, and Nextwave. Today's announcement features films by directors Dan Algrant, Paul Thomas Anderson, Dante Ariola, Yvan Attal, Susanne Bier, Nick Cassavetes, Daniele Ciprì, Lee Daniels, Brian De Palma, Bahman Ghobadi, Harmony Korine, Patrice Leconte, Spike Lee, Scott McGehee, Claude Miller, Henry-Alex Rubin, Valeria Sarmiento, Pablo Trapero, Peter Webber, and Paul Andrew Williams.

As I've been saying for several months, Walter Salles' adaptation of the Jack Kerouac classic On the Road, one of the year's most highly-anticipated films, will indeed have its North American Premiere in the Special Presentations section. Starring Kristen Stewart as Marylou, Sam Riley as Sal Paradise, and Garrett Hedlund in the role of Dean Moriarty, the movie debuted at Cannes to great acclaim. As with all TIFF premieres, cast and crew are expected to be present to walk the red carpet, introduce the film, and conduct a Q&A session following the screenings. Appearances are always tentative due to scheduling conflicts and unforeseen circumstances, of course. Most films have at least three screenings during the festival. Guests will, in many cases, stay and do Q&As at later screenings in addition to the first one.

Ticket packages are now available for purchase by cash, debit, or online at TIFF.net/thefestival, by phone at 416-599-TIFF or toll free at 1-888-599-8433 (10 AM to 7 PM daily), or in person at the TIFF Box Office at Reitman Square, 350 King Street West (10 AM to 10 PM daily).

Here are the three Galas and 18 Special Presentations announced today:


GALAS

Song for Marion
Paul Andrew Williams, UK
World Premiere - Closing Night Film
A feel-good, heart-warming story about how music can inspire you. Song for Marion stars Terence Stamp as Arthur, a grumpy pensioner who can't understand why his wife Marion (Vanessa Redgrave) would want to embarrass herself singing silly songs with her unconventional local choir. But choir director Elizabeth (Gemma Arterton) sees something special in the reluctant Arthur and refuses to give up on him. As she coaxes him out of his shell, Arthur realizes that it is never too late to change.

Emperor
Peter Webber, Japan/USA
World Premiere
In the aftermath of Japan's defeat in World War II and the American occupation of the country, a Japanese expert (Matthew Fox) on the staff of Gen. Douglas MacArthur (Tommy Lee Jones) is faced with a decision of historic importance, in this epically scaled drama from director Peter Webber (Girl With a Pearl Earring).

What Maisie Knew
Scott McGehee, David Siegel, USA
World Premiere
Based on the Henry James novella, the story frames on 7-year-old Maisie, caught in a custody battle between her mother – a rock and roll icon – and her father. What Maisie Knew is an evocative portrayal of the chaos of adult life seen entirely from a child’s point of view. Starring Joanna Vanderham, Onata Aprile, Alexander Skarsgård, Julianne Moore, and Steve Coogan.


SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

Arthur Newman
Dante Ariola, USA
World Premiere
Wallace Avery is tired of being a loser. Once a hot shot in the world of competitive amateur golf, Wallace was dubbed ‘The Choker’ when he hit the pro circuit. Unable to shake off a monumental loss of nerve on the greens, Wallace retired from the pro tour and slipped into the ranks of the quietly desperate. Deciding to address a radical problem with a radical solution, he stages his own death, buys himself a new identity as Arthur Newman, and sets out toward his own private Oz of golf. An offbeat love story set in a perfect storm of identity crisis, Arthur Newman looks at how two people try to remake themselves and come around to owning up to some basic truths about the identities they left at home. Starring Emily Blunt, Colin Firth, and Anne Heche.

Bad 25
Spike Lee, USA
North American Premiere
Bad 25 celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Michael Jackson “Bad” album with unseen footage, content shot by Jackson himself, and a treasure chest of findings. The documentary is divided into two parts: artists today who were influenced by Michael, and people who worked by his side – musicians, songwriters, technicians, engineers, people at the label – all committed to Michael and the follow-up to the biggest record of all time, “Thriller.” Interviewees include: Mariah Carey, L.A. Reid and Sheryl Crow.

Disconnect
Henry Alex Rubin, USA
North American Premiere
Disconnect interweaves multiple storylines about people searching for human connection in today’s wired world. Through poignant turns that are both harrowing and touching, the stories intersect with surprising twists that expose a shocking reality into our daily use of technology that mediates and defines our relationships and ultimately our lives. Directed by Academy Award® nominee Henry Alex Rubin (Murderball), and starring Jason Bateman, Hope Davis, Frank Grillo, Paula Patton, Michael Nyqvist, Andrea Riseborough, Alexander Skarsgård, and Max Theriot, as well as Jonah Bobo, Colin Ford and Haley Ramm.

Do Not Disturb
Yvan Attal, France
World Premiere
Jeff unexpectedly shows up on Ben's doorstep at 2am. Since their college days, they've taken very different paths. Jeff is still the wild man, a serial lover, an artist and eternal vagabond who's never stopped roaming the world. Ben has settled down with chilled-out and wonderful Anna; they bought a small and comfortable house in the suburbs and started trying to make a baby. But this quiet life is disrupted by the whirlwind that is Jeff, especially when he takes Ben to a wild party, from which they return at dawn, having made a decision that is about to turn all of their lives upside down. This provocative, hot and funny new film by award-winning French director Yvan Atta stars François Cluzet and Charlotte Gainsbourg.

Greetings from Tim Buckley
Dan Algrant, USA
World Premiere
Greetings from Tim Buckley follows the story of the days leading up to Jeff Buckley’s eminent 1991 performance at his father’s tribute concert in St. Ann’s Church. Through a romance with a young woman working at the concert, he learns to embrace all of his feelings toward the father who abandoned him – longing, anger, forgiveness, and love. Culminating in a cathartic performance of his father’s most famous songs, Jeff’s debut stuns the audience and launches his career as one of the greatest young musicians of his time. Starring Imogen Poots and Penn Badgley.

Lines of Wellington
Valeria Sarmiento, Portugal
North American Premiere
After the failed attempts of Junot and Soult in 1807 and 1809, Napoleon Bonaparte sent a powerful army, commanded by Marshal Massena, to invade Portugal in 1810. The French easily reached the centre of the country, where the Anglo-Portuguese army, led by General Wellington, was waiting. Starring John Malkovich, Nuno Lopes, Soraia Chaves, Marisa Paredes, and Victoria Guerra.

Love is All You Need
Susanne Bier, Denmark
North American Premiere
Love Is All You Need is a new film by Academy Award-winner Susanne Bier. Philip (Pierce Brosnan), an Englishman living in Denmark, is a lonely, middle-aged widower and estranged single father. Ida (Trine Dyrholm) is a Danish hairdresser, recuperating from a long bout of illness, who's just been left by her husband for a younger woman. The fates of these two bruised souls are about to intertwine, as they embark for Italy to attend the wedding of Philip's son and Ida's daughter. With warmth, affection and confidence, Bier has shaken a cocktail of love, loss, absurdity, humour and delicately drawn characters who will leave only the hardest heart untouched. This is a film about the simple yet profound pains and joys of moving on – and forward – with your life.

On The Road
Walter Salles, France/Brazil
North American Premiere
Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Walter Salles and based on the iconic novel by Jack Kerouac, On The Road tells the provocative story of Sal Paradise (Sam Riley), a young writer whose life is ultimately redefined by the arrival of Dean Moriarty (Garrett Hedlund), a free-spirited, fearless, fast-talking Westerner and his girl, Marylou (Kristen Stewart). Traveling cross-country, Sal and Dean venture out on a personal quest for freedom from the conformity and conservatism engulfing them in search of the unknown, themselves, and the pursuit of it – the pure essence of experience. Seeking unchartered terrain and the last American frontier, the duo encounter an eclectic mix of men and women, each adding meaning to their desire for a new way of life. The screenplay is by Jose Rivera (Academy Award nominee for The Motorcycle Diaries), while Executive Producer Francis Ford Coppola has been developing the project since 1978. Also stars Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst. As I mentioned above, the filmmakers will be present along with cast members including Kristen Stewart, Sam Riley, and Garrett Hedlund, to walk the red carpet, introduce the film, and conduct a Q&A session afterward. Appearances are always tentative due to scheduling conflicts and unforeseen circumstances, of course. Most films have at least three screenings during the festival. Guests will, in many cases, stay and do Q&As at later screenings in addition to the first one.

Passion
Brian De Palma, France/Germany
North American Premiere
An erotic thriller in the tradition of Dressed To Kill and Basic Instinct, Brian de Palma's Passion tells the story of a deadly power struggle between two women in the dog-eat-dog world of international business. Christine possesses the natural elegance and casual ease associated with one who has a healthy relationship with money and power. Innocent, lovely and easily exploited, her admiring protégé, Isabelle, is full of cutting-edge ideas that Christine has no qualms about stealing. They're on the same team, after all... But when Isabelle falls into bed with one of Christine's lovers, war breaks out. Starring Rachel McAdams, Noomi Rapace, Karoline Herfurth and Paul Anderson.

Rhino Season
Bahman Ghobadi, Iraqi Kurdistan/Turkey
World Premiere
After thirty years spent in prisons of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Kurdish-Iranian poet Sahel finally walks free. Now the one thing keeping him alive is the thought of finding his wife Mina, who thinks he is long dead and has since moved to Turkey. Sahel sets out on an Istanbul-bound search. Starring Behrouz Vossoughi, Monica Bellucci and Yilmaz Erdo?an.

Spring Breakers
Harmony Korine, USA
North American Premiere
Four sexy college girls plan to fund their spring break getaway by burglarizing a fast food shack. But that’s only the beginning. During a night of partying, the girls hit a roadblock when they are arrested on drug charges. Hung over and clad only in bikinis, the girls appear before a judge but are bailed out unexpectedly by Alien (James Franco), an infamous local thug who takes them under his wing and leads them on the wildest spring break trip in history. Rough on the outside but with a soft spot inside, Alien wins over the hearts of the young spring breakers, and leads them on a spring break they never could have imagined. Starring Selena Gomez, James Franco, Vanessa Hudgens and Heather Morris.

The Master
Paul Thomas Anderson, USA
North American Premiere
A striking portrait of drifters and seekers in post World War II America, Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master unfolds the journey of a Naval veteran (Joaquin Phoenix) who arrives home from war unsettled and uncertain of his future — until he is tantalized by The Cause and its charismatic leader (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Starring Amy Adams, Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Dern.

The Paperboy
Lee Daniels, USA
North American Premiere
A chilling sex-and-race-charged film noir, The Paperboy takes audiences deep into the backwaters of steamy 1960s South Florida, as investigative reporter Ward Jansen and his partner Yardley Acheman chase a sensational, career-making story with the help of Ward’s younger brother Jack and sultry death-row groupie Charlotte Bless. Starring Matthew McConaughey, Nicole Kidman, John Cusack, David Oyelowo and Zac Efron.

The Son Did It
Daniele Ciprì, Italy/France
North American Premiere
The Son Did It is the story of the Ciraulos, a poor family from South Italy whose young daughter is mistakenly killed by the Mafia. As compensation, they receive a large amount of money from the State but this sudden richness will change their life in a completely unexpected way. Starring Toni Servillo, Giselda Volodi, Alfredo Castro and Fabrizio Falco.

The Suicide Shop
Patrice Leconte, France/Belgium/Canada
International Premiere
Imagine a shop that for generations has sold all the accoutrements for the perfect suicide. This family business prospers in all its bleak misery, until the day it encounters joie de vivre in the shape of younger son, Alan. What will become of The Suicide Shop in the face of Alan's relentless good cheer, optimism and determination to make the customers smile? Starring Bernard Alane, Isabelle Spade, Kacey Mottet Klein, Isabelle Giami and Laurent Gendron.

Thérèse Desqueyroux
Claude Miller, France
International Premiere
In the Landes region of France, near Bordeaux, marriages are arranged to merge land parcels and unite neighbouring families. Thus, young Thérèse Larroque becomes Mrs. Desqueyroux. But her avant-garde ideas clash with local conventions and in order to break free from the fate imposed upon her and live a full life, she will resort to tragically extreme measures. Starring Audrey Tautou, Gilles Lellouche and Anaïs Demoustier.

White Elephant
Pablo Trapero, Argentina/Spain
North American Premiere
In a poverty-stricken and highly dangerous Buenos Aires slum, two men – both friends, both priests, both deeply respected by the local community for their tireless endeavours on behalf of the poor and the dispossessed – take very different paths in their struggle against violence, corruption and injustice. Starring Martina Gusman, Ricardo Darin and Jérémie Renier.

Yellow
Nick Cassavetes, USA
World Premiere
Nick Cassavetes' seminal work, Yellow, is a searing take on modern society and the demands it makes on people. Centered on Mary Holmes, a young woman who has a difficult time feeling things, and swallowing twenty Vicodin a day doesn’t help. We enter her hallucinatory world, peopled with Busby Berkeley dancers, Cirque du Soleil, Circus freaks, and human farm animals where nothing is quite what it seems. Starring Sienna Miller, Gena Rowlands, Ray Liotta, David Morse, Lucy Punch, Max Theoriot, Riley Keough, Daveigh Chase, Heather Wahlquist and Melanie Griffith.


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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  • Author: Larry Richman
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