Friday, August 31, 2007

Lucky box #66

It appears that out of 75 total boxes this year, box #66 was selected. This is a significant increase, considering there were only 40 boxes total last year. Now, if you have submitted your selections remotely, it's my understanding that you can log onto the TIFF website, and under the "Buy Now" section, you can click "Check Order Status", then "View Detail", and it will reveal the selections you were granted. Otherwise, an email will be sent out sometime Monday with your list.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The next day

After reading the multiple comments in the sections below, I must say that I sincerely hope that those of you that did not receive your OOT packages on Wednesday, have received them today. I share your aggrevation.

I had my doubts considering how things stood last night, but I was fortunate enough to receive my package today and get it back out to FedEx just hours later. It still doesn't mean I'll get my selections, nor does it mean the package won't get hung up at customs on it's way back. But, its out of my hands and the work is done for now.

For those of you are still completing your schedules and have given up on the MyTiff tool at the official website, has created an alternative. It's a Google Calandar based tool that works directly with the Tiffreviews film list. You can give it a try here.

If the task of filling out the order forms is a bit confusing for you, the TIFFTalk blog has put together a thorough walk-through of the entire process. Nice work Richard. Just remember that all advance orders must be submitted by 1:00 PM this Friday, August 31, in order to be eligible for the advanced order lottery.

Let's all hope the online ordering system that's been beta-testing, worked out well this week. I know we would all appreciate an alternative to this madness next year. If you were one of the lucky one's to test the online ticket selection system this year, let us know how the experience went, and share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Not happy...

It's almost midnight, and I'm just completing my tentative schedule, in anticipation that my OOT package will arrive only 24 hours late. I am extremely dissappointed that it did not arrive today, and will be devestated if it fails to arrive tomorrow. FedEx has told me repeatedly that there is no missing information, and that its simply customs that is holding up the shipment due to an excessive amount of packages. Not sure if this is true or not, but its all I have to go on, considering at 11:00 PM EST Thursday, my package was still in Newark, New Jersey. I sincerely hope the festival will at least consider extending the deadline for the advance draw by at least a day, so all of the dedicated and devoted fans that have sponsored the festival with their business over the years, get a chance at the tickets they've been yearning for. Lets see how things develop tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

True story

As most of you probably already know, the full 10 day schedule for the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival is now online at the TIFF website. But, for those of you that are receiving the Out Of Town packages, I had an interesting experience this evening I thought you might find interesting. About 20 minutes after I get home from work, I get a phone call from FedEx in Ontario. A man named Mark proceeds to tell me he’s sitting on 400-500 packages from the Toronto International Film Festival that cannot move unless he gets some additional information about where they’re going. It turns out, someone at TIFF did not download or submit the necessary information into the FedEx Powership system. This data is needed in order for FedEx to get the “manifest” that’s required so the packages can get to their destinations. So, he gives me the names of the senders on the labels, and asks me to let them know the packages aren’t moving tonight unless he gets the necessary info. Once I scrape my jaw off the floor, I tell him that I really don’t know who these people are, and that I would try and track them down via the website. Unfortunately the box office was closed and I ended up scrambling through phone numbers from the TIFF Industry website until I finally landed on a live human being at 7:30 EST. The kind woman assisted me with the necessary email addresses and phone numbers. Thankfully, the TIFF staff was on the ball, and got my email after-hours, thus contact was made. I received a confirmation email from the staff member and Mark confirmed he was able to get the info he needed. SO, long story short, the packages are slated to arrive ON TIME tomorrow morning. No mention of how FedEx got my phone number though…

Monday, August 27, 2007

TIFF interview from CBC

From CBC news, Heather Hiscox interviews CBC film critic and TIFF jury member Jesse Wente on the upcoming festival and the slate of Canadian films. (Runs: 5:02)
Click here to watch the Real Media file.
Click here to watch the QuickTime file.

CONTROL wins top prizes

Anton Corbijn's CONTROL took both top awards at the Edinburgh International Film Festival this past Sunday. Awards included the Michael Powell Award for new British feature, as well as the best performance award to lead actor Sam Riley for his portrayal of late Joy Division singer Ian Curtis.

TIFF TIP: Scheduling Pt.3 (Considerations)

Now that you know of at least some of the films you want to see, it's important to take certain things into consideration before diving head first into the rest of your scheduling. Here are some things you'll want to consider when constructing your advance ticketing film schedules:

- Identify directors of films you've enjoyed in the past, or directors you typically follow. This can give you some idea of what to expect from their latest release.

- Consider the length of the films. One film may be as long as two of your alternate choices. Also, make sure the selection doesn't run into other possible First Choice or Second Choice selections later in the day. Both First and Second Choice selections need to work interchangeably based on what tickets are available at the time of the lottery.

- Review the programs, and the films in them, from past years. For example: Did you like the films that were selected for the Visions program over the past two years? What types of films did they turn out to be? This can be a good indicator of the type of film that fits that classification.

- If you're debating taking the first or second screening of a particular film, consider the number of seats in each theater. Try and select the screening with the larger number of seats. You'll have a better chance at getting tickets for the larger screenings. Along the column to the left, I have identified the number of seats in each venue to aid in this selection process.

- Mix it up. In order to get the most of the festival experience, try and select films from a variety of genres, programs, as well as films that can balance the darker films with lighter content. For instance, try and select at least one documentary, one gala, and even a midnight madness selection (everyone will tell you the audiences are part of the "madness").

- When completing your schedules, its important to remember to make time in between films to find time to eat and travel. This may sound obvious, but it's amazingly easy to forget. Screening times frequently run over due to late starts, Q&A's, introductions etc. Consider adding at least a half-hour to the run-time of each film to account for this. Also, if you want decent seats, consider getting to the screening at least a half hour early. There are usually lines around the block just before the start time. And last but not least, remember the locations of each theater. Some are across town and will take 20+ minutes by subway, while others are in the same venue, just a different theater.

As usual, feel free to add your pointers to the list, and don't forget about my sidebars for links, locations and theater seat numbers.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Premiere statuses revealed!

I just happened to stumble upon a fantastic pdf Variety put together that reveals the official premiere status of each film at this year's TIFF. You may have noted in a past post, this information has been MIA from the official press releases this year. So anyone who uses this info as a deciding variable, you're in luck. Click here to download the document. As I also previously stated, I've been updating the TIFF RESOURCES section (in the column to the right) with new links as they appear, including this one. I anticipate adding at least another handful before the week's end so keep checking back.

TIFF trailers

In order to help ease the pain of researching all 349 films this week, Twitch, a wonderful website with similar tastes, just created a page devoted to TIFF trailers. All trailers are neatly organized by category and will continue to be updated as they become available. Click here to check them out.

TIFF TIP: Scheduling Pt.2 (Prioritizing)

As you begin to narrow down your film selections, you should establish what you hope to get out of the experience.

Step 1: Decide what kind of festival-goer you are:
Many people like to only select the smaller films that don’t have wide releases planned or distribution deals inked. The rationale is that they can eventually see the studio films when they are released officially later in the year. This would mean avoiding many of the Galas or any film from a large studio. If this is what you’re interested in, the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly is the fall movie preview and outlines the upcoming films by date. You can also access this list online here. Other festival-goers prefer to follow the stars. For this, I would suggest Galas and the Special Presentation programs. But if catching a glimpse of a celebrity is something you take seriously, you don’t necessarily need tickets to do that. Go to the film’s theater an hour to two early and get a great spot in front of the theater. This way you can catch the stars entering the theater at a good distance without having to be restrained by the length and distance of the ticket line. The bigger stars are typically in the larger films, which are the Galas. But, from my experience, you have a better chance staking out a smaller venue to see the smaller films with marquee names. And lastly, if you don't care who's in the movie, when it’s coming out, and simply want to see a good film, then the selection process is wide-open. I personally don’t have the luxury of skipping out on the studio films since I have 2 kids and don’t get out to the theater as often as I would like. So, I simply select a wide mix of films that simply cater to my tastes. For this, there is no real way to immediately narrow down the selection besides following your instincts and the intrigue of the film’s premise.

Step 2: With such a large and wonderful selection of films, you will have to start prioritizing somewhere. As I stated in my previous posting, start by highlighting and identifying the films you absolutely CANNOT miss. This will make things surprisingly more concrete because, as luck will always have it, there will be 3 films you think you HAVE TO SEE that are playing simultaneously. So, by identifying which of those Must See films are most important, you have already made some decisions about your priorities. Consider making the films that are playing simultaneously and subsequently not chosen, your Second Choice selections.

Step 3: Determine your First and Second Choices. If you’re doing the advance draw, take the First and Second Choice labels seriously and be sure to always have a Second Choice identified. This determination will shape your entire schedule. If you want to see both the First and Second Choice films, look to find when their repeat screening takes place and try to select that one as your First Choice on another day. But sooner or later, you have to accept that a Must See film may become a Second Choice film by scheduling default. Also, make sure your Second Choice works with your next/upcoming First and Second choices later in the day. So in actuality, you’re creating two schedules and they both have to work interchangeably.

You have identified your must list, now its time to fill in the gaps. This will be the majority of your film selections. The next TIFF Tips will explore all the things to consider when narrowing down your final film list.

Questions about the post or having trouble navigating the festival? Post your questions in the Comments section and I will do my best to respond promptly.

Friday, August 24, 2007

LUST, CAUTION receives NC-17 rating

On Wednesday, Ang Lee's espionage thriller, LUST CAUTION, went before the MPAA for review and was slapped with the dreaded NC-17 rating. Focus Features has decided to keep the rating without appeal. This rating typically makes it hard for a film to find advertising outlets, as many publications, not to mention theaters, ban promoting what they consider an adult film. Click here for more on this story.

The film is screening at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival in its original form as a Special Presentation at 9:00 on Friday, September 7th at the Visa Screening Room.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

TIFF TIP: Scheduling Pt.1 (The Technique)

What I consider to be Christmas in August is the day the Festival Guidebook and Schedule arrive at my doorstep. This year that day is August 29th and it’s already less than a week away. So before the three day hysteria of studying 349 films, 3AM scheduling debates, and strategic time management exercises, I thought it might be helpful to share my TIFF scheduling technique, and hopefully you, the casual reader will feel inclined to share yours!

The TIFF website traditionally offers a helpful resource to organizing and saving your films with a system called My Film List. You can currently find buttons on the official site that read “+Add”. This will add the film to a master list of films that you have personally selected. You can log in to retrieve this list and even update it to reflect your actual final selections. Its handy and quite easy to use, being that the interactivity resides alongside the film descriptions. I use it to get a head start on my planning the day the schedules go live, simply to create a general list of the films I’m interested in.

But I leave the tool to do only that. It’s useful, but not yet perfect (but who knows, this year may be different). Next, I will print out the schedules from the website by day, for each day I will attend. Sometimes the day’s schedule doesn’t fit onto one page so I’ll have to tape them together vertically. This allows me an easy way to get the entire day’s schedule at a glance. You can also photocopy the pages in the official festival schedule book, but being that I am in Michigan, I do not receive it until Wednesday, so this option allows me an extra day to work. It’s important to note that it’s good to print the pages in black and white as opposed to color. It will make your notes and markings easier to read.

At this point, the selection process begins. I use a pencil to immediately circle anything I know I want to see, and cross off anything I know I don’t want to see. Then with a range of colored highlighters, I will highlight the films that I am interested in ranging from very interested, to hardly interested. I will most likely have more than one copy of each day on hand in order to transfer my findings/notes from the “draft” onto a new “working” version. That just makes it easier for me to read after all the highlighting and pencil markings.

What comes next is determined by the types of films you want to see while there, and what type of festival-goer you consider yourself to be. The next TIIF Tips I post will explore those questions.

Again, feel free to use the Comments section to share your neurotic, systematic, or just plain logical scheduling solutions, to what I consider the three day scramble of TIFF scheduling madness!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Full TIFF line-up announced

The complete line-up to the Toronto International Film Festival was posted today, as well as the schedules for the Galas and Special Presentation programs. There were also a number of newly announced titles, many of them rather significant. The festival has also added what they are calling a “screening room” with trailers and clips from a small selection of films. It’s not working for me at the moment, but it may possibly be working by the time you read this. Click here to go check it out.

Below is a summary of today’s announcement from the TIFF press release:

Today's announcements feature six Gala Presentations, including Renny Harlin's CLEANER, starring Samuel L. Jackson, Ed Harris, Eva Mendes and Keke Palmer; Richard Attenborough's CLOSING THE RING, starring Shirley MacLaine, Christopher Plummer, Mischa Barton, Neve Campbell, Pete Postlethwaite and David Alpay; Alain Corneau's LE DEUXIÈME SOUFFLE, starring Daniel Auteil, Monica Bellucci, Eric Cantona, Michel Blanc, Jacques Dutronc, and Daniel Duva; Robin Swicord's THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB, starring Kathy Baker, Maria Bello, Marc Blucas, Emily Blunt, Amy Brenneman, Hugh Dancy, Maggie Grace, Jimmy Smits, Kevin Zegers and Lynn Redgrave; Kenneth Branagh's SLEUTH, starring Michael Caine and Jude Law; and Paul Schrader's THE WALKER, starring Woody Harrelson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Lauren Bacall, Lily Tomlin, Willem Defoe, Ned Beatty, Moritz Bleibtreu and Mary Beth Hurt.

Four enlightening Mavericks presentations will feature appearances by Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, Bill Maher, Larry Charles, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Don Cheadle, Mira Nair, Santosh Sivan and more. Eight presentations in Dialogues: Talking with Pictures will feature Max von Sydow, Bell Festival Centre architect Bruce Kuwabara, Ken Loach, Arthur Dong and Nancy Kwan, Peter Bogdanovich, Ellen Burstyn, Sidney Lumet, and Lord Richard Attenborough showcasing films that have inspired them or have marked a significant period in their careers.

For the first time in ten years, Wayne Wang returns to the low-budget filmmaking that made him a leader in the American independent cinema movement with A THOUSAND YEARS OF GOOD PRAYERS and THE PRINCESS OF NEBRASKA, two tales about the experience of Chinese immigrants in the United States screening as part of Masters. This year's Masters will feature a complete line-up of 20 films.

Thirteen titles have been added to Special Presentations for a complete programme of 50 films. Titles announced today include Sidney Lumet's BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU'RE DEAD, Melisa Wallack and Bernie Goldmann's BILL, Michael Moore's CAPTAIN MIKE ACROSS AMERICA, Gillian Armstrong's DEATH DEFYING ACTS, Vadim Perelman's IN BLOOM, Jason Reitman's JUNO, Ira Sachs' MARRIED LIFE, Jonathan Demme's MAN FROM PLAINS, Alison Eastwood's RAILS & TIES, Brian De Palma's REDACTED, Brad Furman's THE TAKE, Thomas McCarthy's THE VISITOR, and Anand Tucker's WHEN DID YOU LAST SEE YOUR FATHER?

Eight documentaries join Real to Reel for a complete programme featuring 32 of the world's finest non-fiction films. Titles announced today include Paul Crowder/Murray Lerner's AMAZING JOURNEY: THE STORY OF THE WHO, Julian Schnabel's LOU REED'S BERLIN, Ran Tal's CHILDREN OF THE SUN, Philippe Kholy's CALLAS ASSOLUTA, Wang Bing's FENGMING: A CHINESE MEMOIR, Grant Gee's JOY DIVISION, Olga Konskaya and Andreï Nekrasov's REBELLION: THE LITVINENKO CASE, and Jia Zhang-ke's USELESS. A series of conversations with directors and producers exploring the how and why of documentary filmmaking, Doc Talks will be open to the public for the first time this year; previously the series was offered exclusively to the Festival's industry delegates.

The 32nd Toronto International Film Festival is proud to announce a Special Event at which Hollywood great Peter Bogdanovich (THE LAST PICTURE SHOW) will be presented with the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) Award for his contribution to film preservation. He has chosen to screen Jean Renoir's historic gem LA GRANDE ILLUSION (1937) as an example of the importance of film restoration.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

TIFF TIP: Research

The full list of films is only a day away. From the point in which the titles go live, this gives you exactly 6 days to get a head start on researching your films prior to receiving the festival guidebook and there is no need to wait for that. There are typically over 350 films each year, and if you end up waiting until the book and schedules go out, then you have a lot of ground to cover in a very short period of time, especially if you plan on attending most of the festival. Now, if you don’t plan on submitting your selections for the advance draw, then you have a bit more time, but you also run the risk of your films selling out before you get tickets.

The most common method to researching is to scour the past press releases for that one or two sentence synopsis. That can help, but it’s not necessarily the most efficient method, nor does it tell you much about each film. Here are a few great tools for researching that are right under your nose:

  1. is an incredible resource and houses background info on most releases, even if the film is still in development. If it’s not listed here, there may not be much info elsewhere. Try this site first.

  2. Use a search engine to look for the official websites. Many films have websites, even if they don’t have a distributor. These sites can contain a wealth of information, providing summaries, trailers, photo galleries and more.

  3. Many trailers are added to YouTube for promotional and marketing purposes. This is especially true for the larger more commercial films such as those in the Galas or Special Presentation programs. A good trailer can give you a better idea of the film’s tone and content, something descriptions don’t always convey. But proceed with caution. One of the things I like best about seeing films at TIFF is the ability to go in knowing very little. The experience can be greatly rewarding.

  4. Check websites and magazines like Variety, Film Comment and Entertainment Weekly. Many of the films that screened previously at Cannes have already been covered to some length in these publications. I just picked up the August issue of Film Comment and there are 14 pages dedicated to the films at Cannes. Some sites have also dedicated specific sections to festivals, like Variety, (see right sidebar). I will be posting more links to similar sites as they go live and as the festival draws near.
What did I leave out? Share your film researching methods in the comments section. I will be sure to link to additional resources as they appear.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The HOW TO of TIFF...

Over the course of the next couple weeks, I will be offering a series of tips to help guide TIFF-goers through the festival madness. These will include research, film selection, festival navigation, as well as just general TIFF advice. Now, many of you have probably attended before, so hopefully there will be something of benefit for you as well, but if not, feel free to chime in with a comment to share with others. Hopefully this can become a resource for those of you looking for a few pointers. I’ve attended for over five years now, and I can still use advice because I know the moment those schedules and books go out, every second counts!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

TIFF update

Due to the passing of TIFF colleague Richard Bradshaw this week, and the following funeral on Tuesday, the Toronto International Film Festival Group has rescheduled the Tuesday press conference in which the full list of films were to be announced, to Wednesday, August 22nd at 12 noon. My condolences to Richard Bradshaw's friends and family.

Unofficial TIFF addition: DEATH OF A POET

Another pre-Tuesday title addition comes by the way of the Asian Journal Online, which reports that Laverente Diaz’s DEATH OF A POET has been added to the TIFF07 line-up. No additional information was given concerning the title. Look for more information to come this Tuesday via the TIFF website.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Ira Sachs MARRIED LIFE to screen at TIFF

Yet another title has been unofficially announced. has reported that the dark comedy MARRIED LIFE, starring Pierce Brosnan, Rachel McAdams, Patricia Clarkson and Chris Cooper, will screen Wednesday September 12th at this year's TIFF. It will also screen later in the month at the 45th New York Film Festival. The website describes the film as this: "The story concerns an adulterous husband (played by Chris Cooper) who decides it would be kinder to murder his loyal wife than to divorce her." The film is currently planned to open wide in early 2008.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

2 unofficial TIFF additions

In addition to yesterday's big TIFF update, there were a few additional inclusions that apparently did not make the press release. The Toronto Star has reported that 2 additional films will be joining the line-up this year. Although not "official" since it was not published by the Toronto International Film Festival Group, it at least provides a good idea of what will be included in next week's big announcement. From Martin Knelman at the Toronto Star, the titles are:

The Second Wind (Deuxième souffle): Gets a Gala slot. It's French director Alain Corneau's remake of a 1966 crime thriller about a gangster who has escaped from jail but needs to pull off one more robbery.

The Edge of Heaven (directed by Fatih Akin): It won the prize at Cannes for best script. It's about a university professor in Germany who is less than thrilled when his immigrant father chooses a prostitute from Turkey as his new girlfriend. But then they form an unlikely bond.

73 new titles from around the globe

The Toronto International Film Festival has announced an absolute slew of new titles from multiple categories. Galas, Special Presentations, Masters, Visions, Vanguard as well as the Contemporary World Cinema programs all have new additions from countries around the globe. The list is quite expansive and will most likely be the last significant press release prior to the complete film lineup, to be announced this coming Tuesday (Aug. 21st). Below is a list of titles by country, courtesy the TIFF press release. Click here to read it in full with complete film descriptions.

THE PAST Hector Babenco, Argentina/Brazil Masters

UNFINISHED SKY Peter Duncan, Australia Contemporary World Cinema

LOVE COMES LATELY Jan Schütte, Germany/Austria/USA Special Presentations
RECLAIM YOUR BRAIN Hans Weingartner, Germany/Austria Special Presentations
THE COUNTERFEITERS Stefan Ruzowitzky, Austria/Germany Contemporary World Cinema
FOREVER NEVER ANYWHERE Antonin Svoboda, Austria Contemporary World Cinema

ON THE WINGS OF DREAMS Golam Rabbany Biplob, Bangladesh Contemporary World Cinema

ANGEL François Ozon, France/UK/Belgium Special Presentations
L'AMOUR CACHÉ Alessandro Capone, Italy/Luxembourg/Belgium Visions

THE PAST Hector Babenco, Argentina/Brazil Masters

BLOOD BROTHERS Alexi Tan, Taiwan/China/Hong Kong Gala Presentation
THE SUN ALSO RISES Jiang Wen, China Special Presentations

Czech Republic
EMPTIES Jan Sverák, Czech Republic Contemporary World Cinema

ERIK NIETZSCHE THE EARLY YEARS Jacob Thuesen, Denmark Contemporary World Cinema
JUST LIKE HOME Lone Scherfig, Denmark Contemporary World Cinema

CHAOS Youssef Chahine and Youssef Khaled, Egypt/France Masters

ANGEL François Ozon, France/UK/Belgium Special Presentations
CHACUN SON CINÉMA Various, France Special Presentations
PERSEPOLIS Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud, France Special Presentations
CHAOS Youssef Chahine and Youssef Khaled, Egypt/France Masters
DÉSENGAGEMENT Amos Gitai, Israel/France/Germany/Italy Masters
LA FILLE COUPÉE EN DEUX Claude Chabrol, France/Germany Masters
AVANT QUE J'OUBLIE Jacques Nolot, France Contemporary World Cinema
THE BAND'S VISIT Eran Kolirin, Israel/France Contemporary World Cinema
DANS LA VIE Philippe Faucon, France Contemporary World Cinema
L'ENNEMI INTIME Florent Siri, France Contemporary World Cinema
JELLYFISH Etgar Keret and Shira Geffen, Israel/France Contemporary World Cinema
THE SECRETS Avi Nesher, Israel/France Contemporary World Cinema
SON OF RAMBOW Garth Jennings, France/UK Contemporary World Cinema
UNE VIEILLE MAÎTRESSE Catherine Breillat, France Contemporary World Cinema
MISTER LONELY Harmony Korine, UK/France/Ireland/USA Vanguard

LOVE COMES LATELY Jan Schütte, Germany/Austria/USA Special Presentations
MONGOL Sergei Bodrov, Germany/Kazakhstan/Mongolia/Russia Special Presentations
RECLAIM YOUR BRAIN Hans Weingartner, Germany/Austria Special Presentations
DÉSENGAGEMENT Amos Gitai, Israel/France/Germany/Italy Masters
LA FILLE COUPÉE EN DEUX Claude Chabrol, France/Germany Masters
IT'S A FREE WORLD… Ken Loach, UK/Italy/Germany/Spain Masters
THE COUNTERFEITERS Stefan Ruzowitzky, Austria/Germany Contemporary World Cinema
JAR CITY Baltasar Kormákur, Iceland/Germany Contemporary World Cinema
MY BROTHER IS AN ONLY CHILD Daniele Luchetti, Italy/France Contemporary World Cinema
THE TRAP Srdan Golubovic, Serbia/Germany/Hungary Contemporary World Cinema

Hong Kong
BLOOD BROTHERS Alexi Tan, Taiwan/China/Hong Kong Gala Presentation
MAD DETECTIVE Johnnie To and Wai Ka Fai, Hong Kong Special Presentations
THE EXODUS Pang Ho-cheung, Hong Kong Vanguard

THE TRAP Srdan Golubovic, Serbia/Germany/Hungary Contemporary World Cinema

JAR CITY Baltasar Kormákur, Iceland/Germany Contemporary World Cinema

THE LAST LEAR Rituparno Ghosh, India Gala Presentation
FOUR WOMEN Adoor Gopalakrishnan, India Masters
THE VOYEURS Buddhadeb Dasgupta, India Masters

UNFINISHED STORIES Pourya Azarbayjani, Iran Contemporary World Cinema

GARAGE Lenny Abrahamson, Ireland Contemporary World Cinema
KINGS Tom Collins, Ireland/UK Contemporary World Cinema
MISTER LONELY Harmony Korine, UK/France/Ireland/USA Vanguard

DÉSENGAGEMENT Amos Gitai, Israel/France/Germany/Italy Masters
THE BAND'S VISIT Eran Kolirin, Israel/France Contemporary World Cinema
JELLYFISH Etgar Keret and Shira Geffen, Israel/France Contemporary World Cinema
THE SECRETS Avi Nesher, Israel/France Contemporary World Cinema

DÉSENGAGEMENT Amos Gitai, Israel/France/Germany/Italy Masters
IT'S A FREE WORLD… Ken Loach, UK/Italy/Germany/Spain Masters
DAYS AND CLOUDS Silvio Soldini, Italy/Switzerland Contemporary World Cinema
MY BROTHER IS AN ONLY CHILD Daniele Luchetti, Italy/France Contemporary World Cinema
L'ORA DI PUNTA Vincenzo Marra, Italy Contemporary World Cinema
L'AMOUR CACHÉ Alessandro Capone, Italy/Luxembourg/Belgium Visions

GLORY TO THE FILMMAKER! Takeshi Kitano, Japan Masters
A GENTLE BREEZE IN THE VILLAGE Nobuhiro Yamashita, Japan Contemporary World Cinema
SAD VACATION Aoyama Shinji, Japan Vanguard

MONGOL Sergei Bodrov, Germany/Kazakhstan/Mongolia/Russia Special Presentations

L'AMOUR CACHÉ Alessandro Capone, Italy/Luxembourg/Belgium Visions

Republic of Macedonia
SHADOWS Milcho Manchevski, Republic of Macedonia Special Presentations

MONGOL Sergei Bodrov, Germany/Kazakhstan/Mongolia/Russia Special Presentations

WOLFSBERGEN Nanouk Leopold, Netherlands Contemporary World Cinema

GONE WITH THE WOMAN Petter Næss, Norway Contemporary World Cinema

PHILIPPINE SCIENCE Auraeus Solito, Philippines Contemporary World Cinema
SLINGSHOT Brillante Mendoza, Philippines Contemporary World Cinema

CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS, THE ENIGMA Manoel de Oliveira, Portugal Masters

CALIFORNIA DREAMIN' (ENDLESS) Cristian Nemescu, Romania Contemporary World Cinema
4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS Cristian Mungiu, Romania Visions

MONGOL Sergei Bodrov, Germany/Kazakhstan/Mongolia/Russia Special Presentations

THE TRAP Srdan Golubovic, Serbia/Germany/Hungary Contemporary World Cinema

South Korea
BEYOND THE YEARS Im Kwon-taek, South Korea Masters
HAPPINESS Hur Jin-ho, South Korea Contemporary World Cinema

FADOS Carlos Saura, Spain Masters
IT'S A FREE WORLD… Ken Loach, UK/Italy/Germany/Spain Masters
CHAOTIC ANA Julio Medem, Spain Special Presentations
BARCELONA (A MAP) Ventura Pons, Spain Contemporary World Cinema

TO LOVE SOMEONE Åke Sandgren, Sweden Contemporary World Cinema

DAYS AND CLOUDS Silvio Soldini, Italy/Switzerland Contemporary World Cinema

BLOOD BROTHERS Alexi Tan, Taiwan/China/Hong Kong Gala Presentation
LUST, CAUTION Ang Lee, Taiwan Special Presentations

United Kingdom
ANGEL François Ozon, France/UK/Belgium Special Presentations
IT'S A FREE WORLD… Ken Loach, UK/Italy/Germany/Spain Masters
BATTLE FOR HADITHA Nick Broomfield, UK Contemporary World Cinema
BRICK LANE Sarah Gavron, UK Contemporary World Cinema
KINGS Tom Collins, Ireland/UK Contemporary World Cinema
RUN, FAT BOY, RUN David Schwimmer, UK Contemporary World Cinema
SON OF RAMBOW Garth Jennings, France/UK Contemporary World Cinema
BOY A John Crowley, UK Vanguard
MISTER LONELY Harmony Korine, UK/France/Ireland/USA Vanguard

THE POPE'S TOILET Enrique Fernandes and César Charlone, Uruguay Contemporary World Cinema

LOVE COMES LATELY Jan Schütte, Germany/Austria/USA Special Presentations
CHOP SHOP Ramin Bahrani, USA Contemporary World Cinema
KING OF CALIFORNIA Mike Cahill, USA Contemporary World Cinema
STARTING OUT IN THE EVENING Andrew Wagner, USA Contemporary World Cinema
NEW YORK CITY SERENADE Frank Whaley, USA Contemporary World Cinema
MISTER LONELY Harmony Korine, UK/France/Ireland/USA Vanguard
SMILEY FACE Gregg Araki, USA Vanguard
WHITE LIES, BLACK SHEEP James Spooner, USA Vanguard

Monday, August 13, 2007


Thirteen titles have been added to the Toronto International Film Festival lineup under the Discovery program, a showcase for new and emerging filmmakers. Past years have brought us the fine film THE MAGDALENE SISTERS as well as one of my personal favorites, WHALE RIDER. It should also be noted that these films are eligible for the DIESEL Discovery Award. The winning filmmaker will walk away with a cash prize of $10,000 as determined by 1000 members from the international media. At first glance, this looks to be a promising year for the program with some very intriqing films. Of personal interest are FROZEN, THE PASSAGE, and WITH YOUR PERMISSION. Who knows what gems will be found...
Below is a complete list of the newly added titles from the TIFF press release:

Sixteen-year-old Shirley (Katherine Waterston) turns her babysitting service into a call girl ring for married men after she begins an affair with a customer. Writer David Ross' (THE WOODS) directorial debut stars John Leguizamo, Cynthia Nixon, Denis O'Hare and Andy Comeau.

BLIND Tamar van den Dop, Netherlands/Belgium/Bulgaria
Marie (Halina Reijn) a young albino woman struggling with her looks finds love with a blind man named Ruben (Joren Seldenslachts). Marie becomes disheartened when she discovers that surgery may repair Ruben's eyesight. A period piece, BLIND is a touching portrait of how blind love can be.

COCHOCHI Israel Cárdenas and Laura Amelia Guzmán, Mexico/UK/Canada
After returning home from elementary boarding school, two brothers Tony (Luis Antonio Lerma Batista) and Evaristo (Evaristo Lerma Batista) are sent to deliver a package to a far community in La Sierra Tarahumara, Mexico, by their grandfather. Without permission, the brothers take the family horse but lose the horse and one another after making a wrong turn. They each then embark on a separate adventure, leading them to discover a new world.

CORROBOREE Ben Hackworth, Australia
A dying theatre director hires a young man named Conor (Conor O'Hanlon) to visit him in a meditation retreat and perform scenes from the director's life. Following a tape of instructions, the young man must visit different rooms over the weekend and in these rooms, encounters five actresses who portray key women in the director's life. As the final scenes unfold, Conor must decide whether the performance has gone too far.

FROZEN Shivajee Chandrabhushan, India
Lasya (Gauri), a girl in her late teens, lives with her father Karma (Danny Denzongpa) and younger brother Chomo (Angchuk) in a remote village, somewhere in the mountains of the northern Himalayas. The family's quiet life is disturbed when the army moves into the village in search of the enemy but instead they find a frozen body. Director Shivajee Chandrabhushan strips away excess to reveal a simple succession of telling moments that build to a remarkable final image.

I AM FROM TITOV VELES Teona Strugar Mitevska, Macedonia
A social drama, I AM FROM TITOV VELES is the story of three sisters living in Veles, a small industrial town in Macedonia, searching for a better life. With painful honesty, writer/director Teona Strugar Mitevska follows the sisters as they struggle with themselves, their dissolving family and difficult relationships.

KING OF THE HILL Gonzalo LGpez-Gallego, Spain
While travelling through an isolated area in Spain, Quim (Leonardo Sbaraglia) meets Bea, a young woman (María Valverde), at a stop at a gas station. After a brief encounter, Bea steals his wallet, and takes off. Quim pursues her on an unmarked road, but during the chase, he is suddenly shot and wounded by a sniper. As he searches for safe cover, he eventually finds Bea, who has also been mysteriously shot at. With a small cast and few locations, director Gonzalo LGpez-Gallego (OVER THE RAINBOW, NOMADS) keeps the tension high throughout this thrilling and surprising film.

LA ZONA Rodrigo Plà, Spain/Mexico
Three youths from the slums break into one of the houses of The Zone, an exclusive residential neighbourhood in Mexico City. Miguel (Alan Chávez), one of the intruders, survives the botched burglary and escapes deeper into The Zone. Alejandro (Daniel Tovar), a young boy celebrating his birthday, discovers Miguel but makes a difficult decision to protect him from The Zone residents who want to carry out justice themselves.

During a trip to Morocco, Luke (Stephen Dorff) meets and falls in love with Zahra (Sarai Givaty) a beautiful local. After discovering that their forbidden romance could cost them their lives, the couple leaves the confines of the city for the Atlas Mountains. However, they soon discover that being miles away from anywhere leaves them unprotected and without a place to hide.

ROMING Jirí Vejdelek, Czech Republic/Romania/Slovakia
A slapstick road-movie, ROMING traces the misadventures of Romany community members, Jura (Vítezslav Holub), his father Roman (Marián Labuda), and an old family friend Stano (Bolek Polívka) as they journey in a broken truck from northern Bohemia in the Czech Republic to Slovakia. More than just a comedy, this film is a portrait of a nomadic culture searching for identity and acceptance.

SEPTEMBER Peter Carstairs, Australia
A coming-of-age story set in the Australian wheat-belt in 1968, SEPTEMBER tells the story of two 16-year-old boys, Ed (Xavier Samuel) and Paddy (Clarence John Ryan) - one white and one Aboriginal - as the social and political climate of the time threatens to fracture their close friendship, especially with the arrival of a new girl in town.

WITH YOUR PERMISSION Paprika Steen, Denmark/Sweden
Paprika Steen's (AFTERMATH) second feature film, WITH YOUR PERMISSION, is a dark and twisted comedy on marital discord. Jan (Lars Brygmann) and Bente (Sidse Babett Knudsen) are in an unhappy marriage. Upon insistence of his boss, Jan goes into therapy where he meets two mechanics willing to get rid of Bente. Everyone's lives take an unexpected turn when the two hitmen meet Bente and take a liking to her.

THE WORLD UNSEEN Shamim Sarif, UK/South Africa
Free-spirited Amina (Sheetal Sheth) and the married Miriam (Lisa Ray) fall in love in the 1950's apartheid South Africa and set in motion a chain of events that changes both women forever. THE WORLD UNSEEN, is a captivating drama, based on a highly acclaimed awarding-winning novel of the same title by director Shamim Sarif.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Visions program

Last year, a selection in the TIFF Visions program - a program highlighting films that utilize experimental or innovative techniques to aid in storytelling - became an overnight sensation after its initial screening. The film was TEN CANOES. It told the story of how an aborigine tribe, while building canoes, taught another tribe member the virtues and dangers of lust, jealousy, pride and revenge through elaborate ancestral stories. It was beautifully shot, utilized native environments, an all-Aboriginal cast, and was filmed in both black and white as well as color. It was the first feature in an Australian Aboriginal language and celebrated the power of the spoken word.

After the screening, the public quickly raved about its powerful imagery and its ability to resonate across cultures and generations. But then word got out that the print was not complete and was not intended to be seen as is. What could have been missing?


It lacked a translated soundtrack, but the film left an impact through its strong visual and narrative techniques, and was clearly at home in the Visions program. What can we expect from the program this year? The director of TEN CANOES, Rolf de Heer, is back again this year with DR PLONK, a black and white silent comedy set in 1907, about a scientist determined to prove the world will end in 2008, and creates a time machine in order to gather the proof. It appears lightning will not strike twice as there will be no audio to translate.

The festival also announced an additional 12 films to the program this week. All of which will be eligible for the Artistic Innovation Award, now in it’s second year. Click here to read descriptions of each new title at TIFF web site.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

2 official, 2 unofficial TIFF announcements

The big TIFF07 news this week is that Woody Allen’s newest feature, CASSANDRA’S DREAM, will premiere at the festival as a Gala presentation. The film stars Colin Farrell, Tom Wilkinson, and Ewan McGregor and will no doubt be on many critc's must see lists as the festival countdown continues. The festival describes the film as "...a powerful and thrilling story about two brothers (Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell) who are desperate to better their troubled lives. One is a chronic gambler up to his ears in debt; the other is a young man in love with a beautiful actress (newcomer Hayley Atwell) whom he has just recently met. Their lives gradually become entangled as a result of a sinister situation with intense and unfortunate results."

It seems that there are 2 types of filmgoers; the kind that adores the filmmaker that brought us the films ANNIE HALL and MANHATTAN, and those that will respond to this announcement with a shrug of the shoulders and the click of a mouse. So depending on the camp you’re in, this announcement may or may not have the resonance a press release like this tends to garner. Either way, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise considering its appearance in Venice days earlier.

The other title that was “officially” announced this week is the film ACROSS THE UNIVERSE from Julie Taymor. This will also be screening as a Gala presentation and unfortunately, seems to have been overshadowed by the above announcement. The film is a romantic musical set in the 1960’s and follows the story of two lovers as they explore the challenges and changes of the turbulent times, all to the soundtrack of “30 revolutionary, generation-defining songs”. As the current list stands, this looks like one of the more intriquing Gala releases.

Two more titles were also added to the festival roster recently, albeit unofficially. Outside sources report that Ang Lee’s World War II-era espionage thriller LUST, CAUTION will have an official screening, as well as Shinji Aoyama's SAD VACATION. SAD VACATION will be a part of the Vanguard program, while the program for LUST, CAUTION has yet to be confirmed. While these have not been officially announced by the festival, expect to see a press release with these titles soon.

Friday, August 3, 2007

DVD releases for 7/31/07

The last time we saw Simon Pegg, he was a lumbering, slow moving, disheveled couch potato, flinging records and beer bottles at lumbering, slow moving, disheveled zombies. His wonderful fondness and understanding for all things undead gave the film SHAUN OF THE DEAD a silly, relaxed sense of humor while staying true to it's genre. Simon Pegg's newest venture, HOT FUZZ, out now on DVD, is another affectionate homage to the genre film, but this time he takes on the buddy-cop film. Expect the same dry wit you've come to expect from the rising Brit writing team of Pegg and Edgar Wright, but instead of scares, expect guns, explosions and most of all, a thoroughly entertaining 2 hours for any couch potato.

Other notable releases this week include:


Everything’s Gone Green

The Darwin Awards

Encounter Point