Toronto International Film Festival announces Midnight Madness, City to City, Closing Night, more The 2010 Toronto International Film Festival is just over three weeks away. I've attended 47 film festivals since the start of 2006, but none as prestigious or breathtaking in scope as this one. I saw over 105 films there from 2006-2009, and many of my Top Picks from all festivals over the past few years (of over 500 in total) came from the TIFF lineup.

This year's event runs from September 9-19 and is considered by many (including myself) to be the top film festival 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 this festival. The number of films is expected to total over 275.
Previously announced titles include Score: A Hockey Musical, the Official Opening Night Film, over 50 Galas and Special Presentations, 25 documentaries along with the Wavelengths program, and 24 films from host country Canada. The full schedule and list of guests will be revealed on Tuesday, August 24. Today's press conference announced the highly-anticipated titles in the Midnight Madness, City to City, and Sprockets Family Zone sections, along with two Galas (including the Official Closing Night film) and 18 Special Presentations.

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 until August 20 at the TIFF Box Office at 2 Carlton Street, West Mezzanine (Monday to Friday 10 AM to 7 PM). Beginning August 24, tickets may be purchased at the Festival Box Office located at 363 King Street West at Peter St.


MIDNIGHT MADNESS

Readers of this blog know of my love for genre films, and films in the Midnight Madness section have been among my Top Picks from the last several festivals in Toronto including The Abandoned, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, Severance, Diary of the Dead, Acolytes, Deadgirl, Daybreakers, Jennifer's Body, Survival of the Dead, and The Loved Ones. "From the streets of Hong Kong to a post-apocalyptic, vampire-plagued United States, from a town run by Kung Fu killers to the oil fields of Alberta, this year?s Midnight Madness selection will take audiences into worlds that are sure to excite, shock and thrill,? said TIFF programmer Colin Geddes.

Here is the complete lineup and schedule. All screenings are held at the Ryerson Theatre:

Opening Night Film
Thursday, September 9
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.

Friday, September 10
SUPER -- James Gunn, USA
World Premiere
After his wife (Liv Tyler) leaves him for a drug dealer (Kevin Bacon), a frustrated husband (Rainn Wilson) decides he will win her back as Crimson Bolt, a costumed vigilante armed with a monkey wrench. His actions bring him an admirer, an overeager comic store clerk (Ellen Page) who wants to be his sidekick.

Saturday, September 11
Bunraku -- Guy Moshe, USA
In a world with no guns, a mysterious drifter (Josh Hartnett), a young samurai and a bartender (Woody Harrelson) plot revenge against a ruthless leader (Ron Perlman) and his army of thugs, headed by nine diverse and deadly assassins. This visually stunning film is filled with uniquely choreographed action sequences of a new style that melds east with west and old school with new. The film also stars Demi Moore.

Sunday September 12
Vanishing on 7th Street -- Brad Anderson, USA
World Premiere
When a massive power blackout causes the population to inexplicably vanish, a small handful of survivors (Hayden Christensen, Thandie Newton, John Leguizamo) band together inside a desolate tavern, struggling to survive as the darkness hones in on them. From director Brad Anderson (The Machinist, Transsiberian) comes an apocalyptic thriller with a terrifying vision of our world's end and a story that wrestles with the nature of existence itself.

Monday September 13
The Ward -- John Carpenter, USA
World Premiere
Acclaimed director John Carpenter (Halloween, The Thing) makes his long-awaited return to the screen with a thriller about a young woman (Amber Heard) in a 1960s mental institution who becomes terrorized by malevolent unseen forces.

Tuesday, September 14
Insidious -- James Wan, USA
World Premiere
When proud parents take possession of an old house, an accident results in one of their sons falling into a coma. The tragedy doesn't stop there when they are beset by vengeful spirits from another realm in this new chiller by the director and writer of Saw and by the producers of Paranormal Activity. The film stars Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey and Patrick Wilson.

Wednesday, September 15
Red Nights -- Julien Carbon, Laurent Courtiaud, Hong Kong/China/France
World Premiere
This shocking debut by director duo Carbon and Courtiaud is a seductive cat-and-mouse thriller set in Hong Kong, about a woman's obsessive desire to own a rare object that hides a deadly and perverse secret.

Thursday, September 16
The Butcher, The Chef and the Swordsman -- Wuershan, Hong Kong/China/USA
World Premiere
A group of misfits become mixed up in the struggle to own a deadly kitchen cleaver made from the top five swords of the martial arts world in this wild and brash action comedy that is sure to have audiences running to Chinatown after the film for a late night snack.

Friday, September 17
Stake Land -- Jim Mickle, USA
World Premiere
In the aftermath of a vampire epidemic, a teen is taken in by a grizzled vampire hunter on a road trip through a post-apocalyptic America, battling both the bloodsuckers and a fundamentalist militia that interprets the plague as the Lord?s work.

Saturday, September 18
Fire of Conscience -- Dante Lam, Hong Kong/China
North American Premiere
Dante Lam proves himself to be a talent to look out for in this slam bang action film where robbers and gunrunners battle with cops on the busy urban streets of Hong Kong. Starring Leon Lai, Fire of Conscience is easily one of loudest action films from Hong Kong in recent memory, with an orchestra of exploding grenades and machine gun rounds.


CITY TO CITY

"This has been a hard secret to keep! When we began discussions about a short list of possible cities back in January, Istanbul quickly emerged as a leading candidate," said TIFF head Cameron Bailey. "Most people know Istanbul as a dynamic city with a rich history, but its film scene is less well-known. Over the past five years, filmmakers from this vibrant metropolis have been winning awards at Cannes and Berlin. Now, some are making the leap to festivals outside of Europe. We?re so pleased to feature films from Istanbul this year: audiences will have access to strong emerging filmmakers, at the moment just before they're sure to be discovered somewhere else."

10 to 11 -- Pelin Esmer, Turkey/France/Germany
North American Premiere
An elderly man clashes with his neighbours as they try to remove him ? and his elaborate collections of ephemera -- from his apartment.

40 -- Emre Sahin, Turkey
International Premiere
Capturing the dazzling intensity of Istanbul's 12 million souls, Sahin's groundbreaking feature crisscrosses the lives of a petty crook, an ambitious nurse and an African migrant as they seek money, luck or just a way out.

Block-C
-- Zeki Demirkubuz, Turkey Canadian Premiere
Zeki Demirkubuz's career-launching debut feature dissects the melancholy and repression inherent in bourgeois life in dreary apartment blocks.

Dark Cloud
-- Theron Patterson, Turkey
North American Premiere
A black comedy in the style of a lucid dream, Dark Cloud looks at a middle-aged man who can't move on from the death of his wife, and the teenaged son who needs him to wake up.

Distant -- Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Turkey
Distant maps Nuri Bilge Ceylan's signature exploration of existential heartache onto the wintry shores of Istanbul.

Hair
-- Tayfun Pirselimou, Turkey
North American Premiere
An ailing Istanbul wig-maker becomes obsessed with a woman who enters his shop one day.

The Majority -- Seren Y?ce, Turkey
North American Premiere
A young middle-class man rebels against his father's brutish authority and seeks a rough romance with a woman of ethnic minority. Y?ce's moral tale draws from the example of today's Turkish youth and the timeless shadow of fathers over sons.

My Only Sunshine -- Reha Erdem, Turkey/Greece/Bulgaria
Toronto Premiere
In this potent, widescreen portrait of an Istanbul wild child, Hayat lives in a shack beside the Bosphorus sea with her criminal father and wheezing grandfather. Life is harsh, but Hayat watches and learns.

September 12 -- ?zlem Sulak, Turkey/Germany
North American Premiere
In this meditative and monumental examination of the legacy of Turkey?s 1980 military coup, individual narrations of the tumultuous event are juxtaposed with quotidian routines, 30 years on.

Somersault in a Coffin -- Dervis Zaim, Turkey
A thief with bizarre compulsions ? and possibly good reasons ? tries to get by in this essential Istanbul film.


GALAS

Closing Night Film
Last Night -- Massy Tadjedin, USA/France
World Premiere
A married couple are apart for a night when the husband takes a business trip with a colleague to whom he's attracted. While he's away, his wife encounters her past love. The film stars Keira Knightley, Eva Mendes, Sam Worthington and Guillaume Canet.

Sarah?s Key -- Gilles Paquet Brenner, France
World Premiere
Based on Tatiana de Rosnay?s best-selling novel, Sarah?s Key tells the story of an American journalist on the brink of making big life decisions regarding her marriage and her unborn child. What starts off as research for an article about the Vel?d?Hiv Roundup in 1942 in France ends up as a journey towards self discovery as she stumbles upon a terrible secret. The film stars Kristin Scott Thomas, M?lusine Mayance, Niels Arestrup, Fr?d?ric Pierrot, Michel Duchaussoy and Aidan Quinn.


SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

127 Hours -- Danny Boyle, USA
World Premiere
127 Hours is the true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston?s (James Franco) remarkable adventure to save himself after a fallen boulder crashes on his arm and traps him in an isolated canyon in Utah. Over the next five days Ralston examines his life and survives the elements to finally discover he has the courage and the wherewithal to extricate himself by any means necessary. The film also stars Cl?mence Po?sy, Amber Tamblyn and Kate Mara.

AMIGO --John Sayles, USA
World Premiere
At the beginning of the 20th Century, during the Philippine-American War, a garrison under the command of US Lieutenant Compton is left to ?protect? San Isidro, a remote region located in the Philippines. Compton can only communicate with Rafael, the Head of the barrio, through the friar Hidalgo who bears a deep resentment towards Rafael. Neither side can understand or trust the other, but are forced to live together, trying to survive in the middle of a war. When the American occupation policy gets tougher, Rafael has to answer to both the Americans and the Filipino patriots.

Deep in the Woods -- Beno?t Jacquot, France/Germany
North American Premiere
France, 1865. A young vagabond, Timoth?e, arrives in a village and is given food and lodging by Doctor Hughes and his daughter Jos?phine. Jos?phine runs after him, leaving her home and father, driven by an uncontrollable force. Distraught, she follows this young man for whom she seems to feel only fear and disgust. Their pilgrimage will reveal another truth.

Everything Must Go -- Dan Rush, USA
World Premiere
After 16 years spent devising motivational speeches that promise certain success, Nick Porter (Will Ferrell) is abruptly fired. He returns home to discover his wife has left him, changed the locks on their home and dumped all his possessions on the front yard. Nick puts it all on the line ? or, more properly, on the lawn ? with an absurdly escalating garage sale that becomes a unique strategy for survival. Nick comes face-to-face with a life turned inside out and discovers in total exposure an unexpected path to renewal.

Gorbaci?f - The Cashier who Liked Gambling -- Stefano Incerti, Italy
North American Premiere
A compulsive gambler who works in the petty-cash office of the Poggioreale prison falls in love with Lily, an illegal immigrant, and tries to free both of them from their dead-end lives. The film stars Toni Servillo, Mi Yang and Nello Mascia.

Hereafter -- Clint Eastwood, United Kingdom
World Premiere
The story of three people haunted by mortality in different ways, Hereafter stars Matt Damon as a blue-collar American who has a special connection to the afterlife. On the other side of the world, a French journalist (C?cile de France), has a near-death experience that shakes her reality. And when London schoolboy Marcus (Frankie/George McLaren) loses the person closest to him, he needs answers. Each in search of the truth, their lives will intersect, forever changed by what might ? or must ? exist in the hereafter. The film also stars Jay Mohr, Bryce Dallas Howard, Marthe Keller, Thierry Neuvic and Derek Jacobi.

I?m Still Here -- Casey Affleck, USA
International Premiere
The directorial debut of Oscar-nominated actor Casey Affleck, I?m Still Here is a portrayal of a tumultuous year in the life of internationally acclaimed actor Joaquin Phoenix. With remarkable access, I?m Still Here follows the Oscar nominee as he announces his retirement from a successful film career in the fall of 2008 and sets off to reinvent himself as a hip hop musician. The film is a portrait of an artist at a crossroads. Defying expectations, it deftly explores notions of courage and creative reinvention, as well as the ramifications of a life spent in the public eye.

Julia?s Eyes -- Guillem Morales, Spain
World Premiere
Julia, a woman suffering from a degenerative eye disease, finds her blind twin sister Sara hanged in the basement of her house. Julia decides to investigate what she feels is a murder case, entering a dark world that seems to hide a mysterious presence. As Julia begins to uncover the terrifying truth about her sister's death, her sight deteriorates further, until a series of unexplained deaths and disappearances cross her path. The film stars Bel?n Rueda and Lluis Homar.

The Last Circus -- ?lex de la Iglesia, Spain/France
North American Premiere
?lex de la Iglesia's genius for dark humour is at its most eloquent in his latest parody about the Spanish Civil War. Two clowns attack and disfigure one another in jealous rages over a beautiful dancer. In the name of love, they destroy the very object of their affection.

Let Me In -- Matt Reeves, United Kingdom/USA
World Premiere
Chlo? Moretz (Kick-Ass) stars as Abby, a mysterious 12-year-old girl, who moves next door to Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Road), a social outcast who is viciously bullied at school. As a string of grisly murders occupy the town, Owen has to confront the reality that this seemingly innocent girl is really a savage vampire. Let Me In is based on the best-selling Swedish novel L?t den R?tte Komma (Let The Right One In), and the highly acclaimed film of the same name.

The House by the Medlar Tree
-- Pasquale Scimeca, Italy
International Premiere
The Malavoglia are a family of fishermen: Grandfather Padron 'Ntoni, his son Bastianazzo and wife Maruzza, and their children 'Ntoni, Mena, Alessi and Lia. One night Bastianazzo dies in a boating accident, leaving the family on the verge of a break down.

Mothers -- Milcho Manchevski, Macedonia/France/Bulgaria
World Premiere
A child's friend is accosted by a flasher so she decides to go to the police herself; a film crew sets out to find the old traditions and discovers a grandmother living alone in an abandoned village; retired cleaning women are found raped and strangled in a small town. The innovative structure of Mothers highlights the delicate nature of truth and fiction, of drama and documentary.

Passion -- John Turturro, Italy
North American Premiere
Passion journeys through Napoli, one of the biggest jukeboxes in the world with a treasure chest of songs from the 1200s to present day. Each song conjures distant stories and myths that speak of love, sex, jealousy, crime, poverty, irony, superstition, and social protest.

Passion Play -- Mitch Glazer, USA
World Premiere
Set in the desert and laced with the deep elements of a modern fable, Passion Play tells the tale of Nate (Mickey Rourke), a down-on-his-luck jazz trumpet player who forms a bond with Lily (Megan Fox), a woman born with wings who has wound up as a carnival sideshow attraction. Together these two damaged souls undertake a turbulent romantic journey while trying to avoid the witty and menacing Happy (Bill Murray), a local gangster.

The Poll Diaries -- Chris Kraus, Germany/Austria/Estonia
World Premiere
On the eve of World War I, a 14-year-old German girl returns to her home on the Baltic coast, a place uneasily shared by Germans, Russians and Estonians. While her morbid scientist father controls the family with a cruel hand, the passionate young girl secretly nurses a wounded Estonian anarchist back to health ? an act of curiosity and then of defiance that could set off an uncontrollable chain reaction.

Rio Sex Comedy -- Jonathan Nossiter, France/Brazil
World Premiere
Rio Sex Comedy charts the misadventures of expatriates in Rio in their search for both personal pleasures and social justice. Charlotte Rampling is an English plastic surgeon determined to subvert anyone from going near the knife. Ir?ne Jacob is a French anthropologist whose political correctness is upstaged by more carnal ambitions. Bill Pullman is a befuddled American ambassador who flees from his responsibilities into one of Rio?s most dangerous favelas. There he becomes co-opted by the schemes of Fisher Stevens, favela tour operator and romantic huckster.

Special Treatment -- Jeanne Labrune, France/Luxembourg/Belgium
World Premiere
A high-class prostitute and a pre-eminent psychoanalyst discover that they share many things in common. They are both unhappy with their professions, seeking a way out that involves unique contact with each other's worlds.

What's Wrong With Virginia -- Dustin Lance Black, USA
World Premiere
Jennifer Connelly stars as Virginia, a charming yet mentally ill mother whose greatest love is her protector and illegitimate son, Emmett (Harrison Gilbertson). Richard Tipton (Ed Harris), the local married Mormon sheriff, who is running for public office, might very well be Emmett?s father. Their boardwalk town?s peculiar secrets are threatened when Virginia?s son begins a romantic relationship with Tipton?s daughter (Emma Roberts) sending mother and son on a mad dash to seize their own brand of the American Dream ? guns blazing.


SPROCKETS FAMILY ZONE

Karla and Jonas -- Charlotte Sachs Bostrup, Denmark
North American Premiere
Thirteen-year-olds Karla and Jonas search for Jonas? birth mother in this coming of age story based on the books by Ren?e Toft Simonsen.

Little Sister -- Richard Bowen, China/USA
World Premiere
Based on one of the earliest versions of the beloved Cinderella tale comes a magical film that reveals the Chinese origins of this widely known fairy tale.

Make Believe -- J. Clay Tweel, USA
International Premiere
A group of dedicated teen magicians amaze audiences by performing seemingly impossible feats while pursuing the title of Teen World Champion Magician.

Sammy?s Adventures: The Secret Passage
-- Ben Stassen, Belgium
North American Premiere
Sammy the sea turtle embarks on an exciting 50-year journey through the oceans in this 3D animation film that combines entertainment with an environmental message.







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
  • Posted: August 16, 2010
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