Toronto International Film Festival Announces First Round of Titles

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The list of gala premieres for the 40th Toronto International Film Festival

On Tuesday, July 28, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) held a press conference at the TIFF Bell Lightbox to announce the first line-up of films having gala premieres at the 40th annual festival with the honors conducted by Piers Handling, CEO and Director of TIFF, and Cameron Bailey, the festival’s Artistic Director.

The festival will kick off on September 9th with the Gala Premiere of Demolition, the new movie from Jean-Marc Vallée (WildThe Dallas Buyers Club), starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Naomi Watt,

Other Gala Premieres (all held at the Roy Thomson Hall) will include Ridley Scott’s The Martian starring Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain, Brian Helgeland’s Legend starring Tom Hardy, the long-awaited Lance Armstrong film The Program, starring Ben Foster and directed by Stephen Frears; Roland Emmerich’s StonewallPeter Sollett’s drama Freeheld, starring Julianne Moore and Ellen Page, and The Dressmaker, starring Kate Winslet, Hugo Weaving and Liam Hemsworth. Oscar-winning filmmaker Gavin Hood (Tsotsi) will be there with his latest film Eye in the Sky, starring Aaron Paul, Colin Firth and Dame Judi Dench.

TIFF regulars Atom Egoyan and Deepa Mehta will be back at the festival premiering their respective new films, Remember, starring Christopher Plummer, and Beeba Boys

Some of the Special Presentations of note premiering at TIFF include Cary Fukunaga’s Beasts of No Nations, which will be released by Netflix on October 16; Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl, starring Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne; Jonas Cuaron’s Desierto, starring Gael Garcia Bernal; Duke Johnson and Charlie Kauffman’s Anomalisa; and Jason Bateman will premiere his second feature as a director, The Family Fang, co-starring Nicole Kidman and Christopher Walken. Jay Roach’s Trumbo, starring Bryan Cranston, Helen Mirren and Louis CK will also premiere at the fest, as will Michael Moore’s new doc Where to Invade Next. (Hopefully it’s not Canada!) Rebecca Miller’s comedy Maggie’s Plan, starring Julianne Moore, Ethan Hawke and Greta Gerwig, is also on the cards for a Special Presentation.

Scott Cooper’s Black Mass, starring Johnny Depp as Whitey Bulger, will premiere at the Venice Film Festival but will play at TIFF shortly afterwards.

A couple Sundance films getting their Canadian premieres include John Crowley’s Brooklyn with Saorsie Ronan and Adam Salky’s I Smile Back, starring Sarah Silverman.

Films that premiered to acclaim at Cannes and will continue their festival run at Toronto include Lionsgate’s Sicario, the new film from Denis Villeneuve, whose last few movies including Prisoners premiered at TIFF, this one starring Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin. It will be released by Lionsgate on September 18. Other popular Cannes hits include Yorogos Lanthimos’ The Lobster, starring Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz and John C. Reilly; Joachim Trier’s Louder than Bombs, starring Isabelle Hupert, Gabriel Byrne and Jesse Eisenberg, Jacques Audiard’s Dheepan, Laszlo Nemes’ Son of Saul and Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth starring Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel and Jane Fonda.

Being the festivals’ 40th Anniversary, there’s a lot of special events including a screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo accompanied by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, as well as a series of short films showing “TIFF40 moments.”

Below is the full list of films announced:

GALAS:

Beeba Boys
Deepa Mehta, Canada
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.

Opening Night Film:

Demolition
Jean-Marc Vallée, USA World
Premiere In Demolition, a successful investment banker, Davis (Jake Gyllenhaal), struggles 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.

The Dressmaker
Jocelyn Moorhouse, Australia World Premiere
Based on the best-selling novel by Rosalie Ham, The Dressmaker is a bittersweet, comedy-drama set in early 1950s Australia. After many years working as a dressmaker in exclusive Parisian fashion houses, Tilly Dunnage, a beautiful and talented misfit, returns home to the tiny middle-of-nowhere town of Dungatar to right the wrongs of the past. Not only does she reconcile with her ailing, eccentric mother Molly, and unexpectedly falls in love with the pure-hearted Teddy, but armed with her sewing machine and incredible sense of style, Tilly sets out to right the wrongs of the past and transforms the women of the town but encounters unexpected romance along the way. Starring Kate Winslet, Liam Hemsworth, Judy Davis and Hugo Weaving.

Eye in the Sky
Gavin Hood, United Kingdom World Premiere
London-based military intelligence officer Colonel Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren) is remotely commanding a top secret drone operation to capture a group of dangerous terrorists at their safe-house in Nairobi, Kenya. The mission suddenly escalates from a capture to a kill operation, when Powell realizes that the terrorists are about to embark on a deadly suicide mission. American drone pilot Steve Watts (Aaron Paul) is poised to destroy the safe-house when a nine-year-old-girl enters the kill zone just outside the walls of the house. With unforeseen collateral damage now entering the equation, the impossible decision of when to strike gets passed up the kill chain of politicians and lawyers as the seconds tick down. Also stars Alan Rickman, Barkhad Abdi and Iain Glen.

Forsaken
Jon Cassar, Canada 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.

Freeheld
Peter Sollett, USA World Premiere
Based on the Oscar-winning documentary and adapted by the writer of Philadelphia, Freeheld is the true love story of Laurel Hester and Stacie Andree and their fight for justice. A decorated New Jersey police detective, Laurel is diagnosed with cancer and wants to leave her hard-earned pension to her domestic partner, Stacie. However the county officials — the Freeholders — conspire to prevent Laurel from doing so. Hard-nosed detective Dane Wells and activist Steven Goldstein come together in Laurel and Stacie’s defense, rallying police officers and ordinary citizens to support their struggle for equality. Starring Julianne Moore, Ellen Page, Michael Shannon and Steve Carell.

Hyena Road (Hyena Road: Le Chemin du Combat)
Paul Gross, Canada 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.

Legend
Brian Helgeland, United Kingdom International Premiere
The true story of the rise and fall of London’s most notorious gangsters, brothers Reggie and Ron Kray, both portrayed by Tom Hardy in an amazing double performance. Legend is a classic crime thriller that takes audiences into the secret history of the 1960s and the extraordinary events that secured the infamy of the Kray twins.

Lolo
Julie Delpy, France North American Premiere 
While on holiday in the south of France, Parisian sophisticate Violette falls in love with carefree geek Jean-René. As their relationship blossoms, Jean-René heads to Paris to spend more time with Violette but finds himself up against her possessive teenage son Lolo who is determined to sabotage their relationship by any means necessary. A razor-sharp comedy from Julie Delpy.

The Man Who Knew Infinity
Matthew Brown, United Kingdom World Premiere 
A true story of friendship that forever changed mathematics. In 1913, Ramanujan, a self-taught mathematics genius from India, travelled to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he forged a bond with his mentor, the eccentric professor GH Hardy, and fought to show the world the magic of his mind. Starring Dev Patel and Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons.

The Martian
Ridley Scott, USA World Premiere
During a manned mission to Mars, astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. Millions of miles away, NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring “the Martian” home, while his crewmates concurrently plot a daring, if not impossible rescue mission. Based on a best-selling novel, and helmed by master director Ridley Scott, The Martian features a star-studded cast that includes Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Donald Glover.

The Program
Stephen Frears, United Kingdom World Premiere
From Academy Award-nominated director Stephen Frears (The Queen, Philomena) and producers Working Title (The Theory of Everything), comes the true story of the meteoric rise and fall of one of the most celebrated and controversial men in recent history, Lance Armstrong. Starring Ben Foster, Dustin Hoffman, Chris O’Dowd and Guillaume Canet.

Remember
Atom Egoyan, Canada North American Premiere
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.

Septembers of Shiraz
Wayne Blair, USA World Premiere
A thriller based on the New York Times bestseller, this is the true story of a secular Jewish family caught in the 1979 Iranian revolution and their heroic journey to overcome and ultimately escape from the deadly tyranny that swept their country and threatened to extinguish their lives at every turn. Starring Salma Hayek and Adrien Brody.

Stonewall
Roland Emmerich, USA World Premiere 
This fictional drama inspired by true events follows a young man caught up during the 1969 Stonewall Riots. Danny Winters (Jeremy Irvine) finds himself alone in Greenwich Village, homeless and destitute, until he befriends a group of street kids who introduce him to the local watering hole, The Stonewall Inn — however, this shady, mafia-run club is far from a safe haven. As Danny and his friends experience discrimination, endure atrocities and are repeatedly harassed by the police, the entire community of young gays, lesbians and drag queens who populate Stonewall erupts in a storm of anger. With the toss of a single brick, a riot ensues and a crusade for equality is born. Starring Jeremy Irvine, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Ron Perlman and Joey King.

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS:

Anomalisa
Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson, USA Canadian Premiere
A man struggles with his inability to connect with other people. Starring Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Noonan and David Thewlis.

Beasts of No Nation
Cary Fukunaga, USA/Ghana Canadian Premiere
Based on the highly acclaimed novel, director Cary Fukunaga’s Beasts of No Nation brings to life the gripping tale of Agu (newcomer Abraham Attah), a child soldier torn from his family to fight in the civil war of an African country. Idris Elba dominates the screen in the role of Commandant, a warlord who takes in Agu and instructs him in the ways of war.

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