Toronto Film Fest 2009: Discovery Program

July 23, 2009–The 34th Toronto International Film Festival announces twenty-one feature films for the Discovery program, showcasing provocative feature films by new and emerging directors. This is where audiences can find the year’s most exciting debuts as the Festival shines a light on the works of up-and-coming filmmakers.




The Angel Margreth Olin, Norway/Sweden/Finland World Premiere


A young mother (played brilliantly by Maria Bonnevie) struggles with a history of drug abuse in this exquisitely rendered and deeply compassionate piece, the first fiction film from one of Norway’s most respected documentary filmmakers.


Applause Martin Pieter Zandvliet, Denmark North American Premiere


Paprika Steen delivers a tour-de-force performance in this devastating drama about an alcoholic actress trying to put her life back together.


Bare Essence of Life Satoko Yokohama, Japan International Premiere


In this original fusion of black comedy, surreal fantasy and feel-good drama about a mentally challenged hero, Japanese heartthrob Kenichi Matsuyama plays a strange farmer who finds an unexpected path to the miracle of love.


Beautiful Kate Rachel Ward, Australia International Premiere


In order to make peace with his combative, dying father, a writer must return to his childhood home and confront long-suppressed memories of the mysterious deaths of his brother and twin sister.


A Brand New Life Ounie Lecomte, South Korea/France North American Premiere


An impressive debut by French-Korean filmmaker Ounie Lecomte who, inspired by her childhood, recounts the emotional journey of a little girl abandoned by her father in an orphanage.


The Disappearance of Alice Creed J. Blakeson, United Kingdom World Premiere


Two ex-cons kidnap a woman, but the tables turn and turn again in this tight, smart tale. This film is a terrific little thriller starring Eddie Marsan, Martin Compston and Gemma Arterton.


Eamon Margaret Corkery, Ireland North American Premiere


A family holiday brings to a head the destructive love triangle between Eamon, a little boy with behavioural problems, his selfish mother Grace and his sexually frustrated father Daniel.

Every Day Is a Holiday Dima El-Horr, France/Germany/Lebanon North American


From Lebanon, this is a striking debut about three women on the road to visit their imprisoned men. Mixing real politics and stark absurdity, El-Horr announces herself as a major new voice in Middle Eastern cinema.


Five Hours from Paris Leon Prudovsky, Israel World Premiere


In a suburb of Tel Aviv, an Israeli cab driver who longs to fly and a Russian music teacher who is soon to board a plane find out that romance is only a cab ride away.


Heliopolis Ahmad Abdalla, Egypt World Premiere


An Egyptian art film with some major stars, Heliopolis weaves together portraits from one of Cairo’s most storied neighborhoods.


The Day Will Come Susanne Schneider, Germany/France International Premiere


Thirty years after giving her daughter up for adoption to join the terrorist underground in Germany, Judith is tracked down by her now adult daughter Alice to a vineyard in the Alsace where she is living with a new family and a new identity.


Le Jour où Dieu est parti en voyage Philippe van Leeuw, Belgium World Premiere


Offering a new take on the Rwandan genocide, acclaimed cinematographer van Leeuw’s directorial debut recreates the first-person experience of one woman as the horror descends.


Last Ride Glendyn Ivin, Australia International Premiere


A desperate father and his 10-year-old son flee into the wilderness of the desert and the human heart, battling the elements, the past and each other.


My Dog Tulip Paul Fierlinger and Sandra Fierlinger, USA North American Premiere


Christopher Plummer and Isabella Rossellini voice this vividly animated, touching tale of friendship between an elderly bachelor and his German Shepherd.


My Tehran for Sale Granaz Moussavi, Australia/Iran International Premiere


Shot underground on location in Tehran, the film tells the story of modern-day Iranian youth struggling for cultural freedom.


Northless Rigoberto Perezcano, Mexico/Spain World Premiere


Andrés reaches the Mexican border to cross into the United States. As he waits between crossing attempts, he discovers the complicated border world of Tijuana.


La Soga Josh Crook, Dominican Republic/USA World Premiere


This gritty and gripping drama explores political intrigue, love, death and the power of memory, set in the Dominican Republic.


Shirley Adams Oliver Hermanus, South Africa/USA North American Premiere


This intimate, precise portrait focuses on a mother in Cape Town, South Africa, whose son is disabled in a neighbourhood shooting.


Toad’s Oil Koji Yakusho, Japan International Premiere


The story of Takuro Yazawa, a day-trader who claims he can earn hundreds of millions of yen in one day, and those around him as they attempt to cope with the death of his son and somehow find a way to benefit spiritually from the experience.


Together Matias Armand Jordal, Norway International Premiere


The tragic death of a mother causes her family to shatter when they struggle to cope with the loss.


The Unloved Samantha Morton, United Kingdom International Premiere


Morton shifts from actor to director in this stark portrait of a young British girl plucked from an abusive family and thrown into the hands of government care.