Toronto Film Fest 2008: Gala and Special Presentations

July 10, 2008–Toronto International Film Festival has announced the addition of two Gala Presentations and seven Special Presentations to the programming lineup for the Festival, which runs September 4 through 13. Included are works from critically acclaimed filmmakers Larry Charles, Mike Leigh, Guy Ritchie and Wong Kar-wai featuring performances by Keira Knightley, Dakota Fanning, Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys, Thandie Newton, Ricky Gervais, Greg Kinnear, Bill Maher, Ralph Fiennes, Gerard Butler, Tom Wilkinson and Jeremy Piven.

Previously announced, Waltz with Bashir is now a Special Presentation. Ticket packages for TIFF08 are now available for purchase by Visa cardholders. Ticket packages will be available for purchase by cash, debit or Visa as of 10 a.m. on Monday, July 14, 2008. Purchase online at tiff08.ca, by phone at 416-968-FILM or 1-877-968-FILM or in person at the Festival Box Office at Manulife Centre, 55 Bloor Street West (main floor, north entrance). Box Office hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

GALA PRESENTATIONS

Secret Life of Bees Gina Prince-Bythewood, USA

World Premiere

Based on the bestselling novel The Secret Life of Bees and set in South Carolina in 1964, the film is the moving tale of Lily Owens (Dakota Fanning), a 14-year-old girl who is haunted by the memory of her late mother (Hilarie Burton). To escape her lonely life and troubled relationship with her father (Paul Bettany), Lily flees with Rosaleen (Jennifer Hudson), her caregiver and only friend, to a South Carolina town that holds the secret to her mother's past. Taken in by the intelligent and independent Boatwright sisters (Queen Latifah, Sophie Okonedo and Alicia Keys), Lily finds solace in their mesmerizing world of beekeeping, honey and the Black Madonna. Secret Life of Bees is a Fox Searchlight Pictures presentation.

The Duchess Saul Dibb, United Kingdom

International Premiere

Long before the concept existed, the Duchess of Devonshire, Georgiana Spencer (Keira Knightley), was the original It Girl — ravishing, glamorous and adored by an entire country. Determined to be a player in the wider affairs of the world, she helped usher in sweeping changes to England as a leader of the forward-thinking Whig Party. But even as her power and popularity grew, she was haunted by the fact that the only man in England she seemingly could not seduce was her very own husband, the Duke (Ralph Fiennes). Directed by Saul Dibb (Bullet Boy, The Line of Beauty), The Duchess is the story of an extraordinary woman who rose to fame by staying true to her passions in a world of protocol, gossip and social rules and paid the price. Academy Award nominees Knightley and Fiennes head an international cast that also includes Dominic Cooper, Hayley Atwell and Charlotte Rampling. Based on the award-winning biography Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman, The Duchess is written by Dibb, Jeffrey Hatcher and Anders Thomas Jensen. The Duchess is a Paramount Vantage presentation.

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

Every Little Step James Stern, Adam Del Deo, USA

World Premiere

Every Little Step is a theatrical documentary on the making of Broadways greatest hit and current revival of A Chorus Line. The film culls behind-the-scenes footage of the auditions, rehearsals and performances of the 1975 original and the 2006 Broadway revival revealing how life imitates art as performers from both productions undergo intense experiences similar to the roles in the show itself. Every Little Step, directed by James Stern and Adam Del Deo (So Goes the Nation, TIFF 2006 and The Year of the Yao, TIFF 2004) spotlights the similarities and the differences between the two shows separated by a generation, the enduring popularity of A Chorus Line, and the creative minds behind one of the longest running musicals in Broadway history.

Ghost Town David Koepp, USA

World Premiere

Bertram Pincus (Ricky Gervais) is a man whose people skills leave much to be desired. When Pincus dies unexpectedly, but is miraculously revived after seven minutes, he wakes up to discover that he now has the annoying ability to see ghosts. Even worse, they all want something from him, particularly Frank Herlihy (Greg Kinnear), who pesters him into breaking up the impending marriage of his widow Gwen (Ta Leoni). Also starring Billy Campbell, Kristen Wiig and Dana Ivey.

Religulous Larry Charles, USA

World Premiere

Religulous follows political humorist and author Bill Maher (Real Time with Bill Maher, Politically Incorrect) as he travels around the globe interviewing people about God and religion. Known for his astute analytical skills, irreverent wit and commitment to never pulling a punch, Maher brings his characteristic honesty to an unusual spiritual journey. Directed by Larry Charles, Religulous will mark Charless first feature project since the critically acclaimed, wildly successful Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (TIFF 2006). Teaser clips of Religulous were presented as a special Mavericks presentation at TIFF 2007 with Maher and Charles in attendance.

Ashes of Time Redux Wong Kar-wai, Hong Kong,China

North American Premiere

Wong Kar-wai works his magic in this long-planned “reworking” of his legendary, romantic and one and only martial arts film, previously unreleased in North America. Set in ancient China, Ouyang Feng (Leslie Cheung) is a fallen swordsman who is afraid of love after having his heart broken. But the bounty hunters that work for him, like “Blind Swordsman” (Tony Leung Chiu Wai) and Hung Chi (Jacky Cheung), discover the intangible secret of true love while Ouyang retains his attitude towards his fighters and the precious lessons that they have taught.

Happy-Go-Lucky Mike Leigh, United Kingdom

North American Premiere

Poppy (Sally Hawkins), is an irrepressibly free-spirited school teacher who brings an infectious laugh and an unsinkable sense of optimism to every situation she encounters as a single woman in London. When Poppys commuter bike is stolen, she enthusiastically signs up for driving lessons with Scott (Eddie Marsan), who turns out to be her polar opposite a fuming, uptight cynic. As the tension of their weekly lessons builds, Poppys story takes alternately hilarious and serious turns, becoming a touching, truthful and deeply life-affirming exploration of one of the most mysterious of all human qualities: happiness. Happy-Go-Lucky is a new comedy from director Mike Leigh.

RocknRolla Guy Ritchie

North American Premiere

When a Russian mobster orchestrates a crooked land deal, millions of dollars are up for grabs, and all of Londons criminal underworld wants in on the action. Everyone from a dangerous crime lord to a sexy accountant, a corrupt politician and down-on-their-luck petty thieves conspire, collude and collide with one another in an effort to get rich quick. Written and directed by Guy Ritchie, RocknRolla stars Gerard Butler, Tom Wilkinson, Thandie Newton, Chris Bridges, Jeremy Piven and Idris Elba.

Waltz with Bashir Ari Folman, Israel/France/Germany

North American Premiere

One night in a bar, an old friend tells director Ari Folman about a recurring nightmare. The two men conclude that there is a connection to their Israeli Army mission in the Lebanon War in the early 1980s. An astonishing and powerful animated feature that journeys into the director's memory in search of some missing pieces.

The Special Presentations programme is made possible through the generous sponsorship of

American Movie Classics Company LLC.

Bell Lightbox

Construction of Bell Lightbox, soon to be one of the worlds leading innovative cultural institutions a truly global home for film began on February 1, 2007. A five-storey podium building located on Reitman Square in the heart of Torontos downtown entertainment district, Bell Lightbox is designed by world-renowned Toronto-based architectural firm KPMB. The building includes five cinemas, two galleries, three learning studios, and an enhanced film reference library and archive. Visit belllightbox.ca for more information.

The campaign to build Bell Lightbox is generously supported by founding sponsor Bell. The Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario each have contributed $25 million to realize Bell Lightbox. A gift of more than $22 million has been confirmed from the Reitman family acclaimed filmmaker Ivan Reitman and his sisters Agi Mandel and Susan Michaels and The Daniels Corporation, who together form the King and John Festival Corporation. The project is also supported by RBC as Major Sponsor and Official Bank, Visa, Copyright Collective of Canada, NBC Universal Canada, The Allan Slaight Family, The Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation, CIBC, and many other individuals and corporations. The TIFFG Board of Directors, staff and many generous individuals have also contributed to the campaign. The total amount raised to date is $147 million, three quarters of the total campaign of $196 million.

Our organization is a charitable, not-for-profit, cultural organization whose mission is to transform the way people see the world through film. Its vision is to lead the world in creative and cultural discovery through the moving image.

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For information contact the Communications Department at 416-934-3200 or email proffice@tiffg.ca

July 10, 2008

NEWS RELEASE #5

TIFF ADDS INTERNATIONAL TITLES TO MASTERS AND CONTEMPORARY WORLD CINEMA

Toronto Thirteen titles have been added to the Masters and Contemporary World Cinema lineups for this years Toronto International Film Festival, running September 4 – 13. Two films join the five Masters titles announced to date. Eleven films join six Contemporary World Cinema titles announced to date. Ticket packages for TIFF08 are now available for purchase by Visa cardholders. Ticket packages will be available for purchase by cash, debit or Visa as of 10 a.m. on Monday, July 14, 2008. Purchase online at tiff08.ca, by phone at 416-968-FILM or 1-877-968-FILM or in person at the Festival Box Office at Manulife Centre, 55 Bloor Street West (main floor, north entrance). Box Office hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Saturday.

MASTERS

Everlasting Moments Jan Troell, Denmark/Sweden

World Premiere

From Academy Award-nominated Swedish filmmaker Jan Troell (The Emigrants; As White as in Snow, TIFF 2001) comes a true story from early 20th-century Sweden. In a time of social change and poverty, the young working-class woman Maria wins a camera in a lottery. The camera enables Maria to see the world through new eyes, but it also becomes a threat to her somewhat alcoholic womanizing husband, as it brings the charming photographer Pedersen into her life.

Tokyo Sonata Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Japan/The Netherlands/Hong Kong

North American Premiere

Un Certain Regard Jury Prize winner at Cannes 2008, Tokyo Sonata from filmmaker Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Bright Future, TIFF 2003) is a portrait of a struggling Japanese family: a father who abruptly loses his job and conceals it from his family; the eldest son who hardly ever returns home from college; the youngest son who furtively takes piano lessons without telling his parents; and the mother, who knows deep down that her role is to keep the family together, but cannot find the will to do so. Somehow a single, unforeseeable rift has developed within the family, spreading quickly and quietly, and threatening to break them apart.

CONTEMPORARY WORLD CINEMA

Fear Me Not Kristian Levring, Denmark

World Premiere

Desperate to change his life, 42-year-old Michael signs up to take part in clinical trials for a new anti-depressant. But when the tests are abandoned due to the discovery of serious side effects, Michael decides to continue the experiment on his own. Intoxicated by a new sense of self control, Michael feels an urge to take control of other peoples lives as well. Slowly, his minor psychological games grow more drastic and frequent, until Michael makes a discovery that forces him to view his actions in a terrifying new light.

El Greco Iannis Smaragdis, Greece/Spain/Hungary

World Premiere

From acclaimed Greek director Iannis Smaragdis (Cavafy, TIFF 1996) comes the epic tale of an uncompromising artist and fighter for freedom, known to the world as El Greco. In the 16th-century, El Grecos search for liberty and love takes him across Europe. Never backing down from the establishments of his day, he is led on a quest to confront his greatest adversary: the Holy Inquisition. El Grecos story is one of unusual heroism, betrayal, love and the power of one man to battle barbarity and ignorance.

The Narrows Franois A. Velle, USA

World Premiere

Brooklyn-born Mike (Kevin Zegers) lives with his dad Vinny (Vincent DOnofrio), a sanitation worker with low-level ties to local mob boss Tony (Titus Welliver). A talented photographer, Mike secretly applies to college, taking a job from Tony in order to pay his tuition. Torn between two worlds that threaten to collide, Mike learns the far-reaching consequences of his personal choices.

Pandoras Box Yesim Ustaoglu, Turkey/France/Belgium/Germany

World Premiere

When three fortysomething siblings in Istanbul receive a call that their aging mother has disappeared from her home along the Eastern Black Sea Coast of Turkey, they put aside their problems and set out to find her. As the siblings come together, the tension between them quickly become apparent, and they are forced to reflect upon their own shortcomings and ignorance of each others lives.

My Mother, My Bride and I Hans Steinbichler, Germany

International Premiere

Of course its crazy: going to Bucharest to meet prospective wives chosen from a catalogue. But its alright with Erwin, who knows little of life and even less of women. Up to now, the only woman in his life has been his mother. Erwin is a mamas boy, and mama isnt into sharing. This becomes distressingly clear to Irina, the shy young woman Erwin brings back from the city. While Mother sharpens her claws and Irina transforms from meek to manic, Erwin must decide in just three weeks if this truly is his idea of happily ever after.

White Night Wedding Baltasar Kormakur, Iceland

International Premiere

Jon, a middle-aged professor, is about to embark on marriage number two. His bride-to-be A former student half his age. Not everyone thinks that this blessed union is a good idea, among them the parents of his future wife. As the guests flock to the island where the marriage is to be held, the groom begins to get cold feet.

33 Scenes from Life Malgosia Szumowska, Germany/Poland

North American Premiere

Julia is a beloved daughter and wife, and a successful photographer. But the pieces of her happy life begin to fall apart all around her, beginning with the death of the family dog. When Julias mother is diagnosed with cancer, her husband, a famous composer, is of no help, spending most of his time abroad, while her father seems to need help even more than she does. Sickness and death from a close perspective are much more absurd, nonsensical and ridiculous than Julia expected.

The Country Teacher Bohdan Slma, Czech Republic/Germany/France

North American Premiere

When a gifted young teacher takes a job at a grammar school in the country, he quickly forms a strong bond with Marie, a local farm owner. But their friendship is challenged by the arrival of the teachers jealous ex-lover from the city, who, upon discovering that the teacher is harbouring a secret affection for Maries 17-year-old son, plots to expose him. From the director of Something Like Happiness (TIFF 2005).

Delta Kornl Mundrucz, Hungary/Germany

North American Premiere

Having been away since childhood, a young man returns to the wild, isolated landscape of the Danube Delta. Introduced to the sister he never knew he had, he and his newfound sibling build a house on stilts in the middle of the river, far away from everyone else. But when they invite the villagers over to share a meal together, it becomes apparent that the coarse locals do not accept their unnatural relationship.

Knitting Yin Lichuan, China

North American Premiere

Daping hates Haili, who strode out of nowhere into her apartment, her life, and her blossoming relationship with Chen Jin. Though Daping tries to be a kind and honest person, Haili bullies her mercilessly. Then Chen Jin disappears, leaving Daping pregnant and alone. Having experienced many hardships in her life, Haili might be just the person to help Daping during these troubled times.

Teza Haile Gerima, Germany/Ethiopia/France

North American Premiere

Upon graduating from a university in Germany, Anberber returns to his native Ethiopia during the war of the 1990s. Hoping to put his newly acquired knowledge to good use and eager to strengthen and rebuild his homeland, which has become impoverished under the military junta, Anberber both inspires hope and faces disillusionment, feeling estranged from his own people.

The Masters programme is made possible through the generous sponsorship of BMO Nesbitt Burns.

The Contemporary World Cinema programme is made possible through the generous sponsorship of Sun Life Financial.

Bell Lightbox

Construction of Bell Lightbox, soon to be one of the worlds leading innovative cultural institutions a truly global home for film began on February 1, 2007. A five-storey podium building located on Reitman Square in the heart of Torontos downtown entertainment district, Bell Lightbox is designed by world-renowned Toronto-based architectural firm KPMB. The building includes five cinemas, two galleries, three learning studios, and an enhanced film reference library and archive. Visit belllightbox.ca for more information.

The campaign to build Bell Lightbox is generously supported by founding sponsor Bell. The Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario each have contributed $25 million to realize Bell Lightbox. A gift of more than $22 million has been confirmed from the Reitman family acclaimed filmmaker Ivan Reitman and his sisters Agi Mandel and Susan Michaels and The Daniels Corporation, who together form the King and John Festival Corporation. The project is also supported by RBC as Major Sponsor and Official Bank, Visa, Copyright Collective of Canada, NBC Universal Canada, The Allan Slaight Family, The Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation, CIBC, and many other individuals and corporations. The TIFFG Board of Directors, staff and many generous individuals have also contributed to the campaign. The total amount raised to date is $147 million, three quarters of the total campaign of $196 million.

Our organization is a charitable, not-for-profit, cultural organization whose mission is to transform the way people see the world through film. Its vision is to lead the world in creative and cultural discovery through the moving image.

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For information contact the Communications Department at 416-934-3200 or email proffice@tiffg.ca.