In its 40 years, it’s safe to estimate that TIFF has celebrated close to 6000 films.
First held in 1976 with 85 selections, the festival now showcases almost 400 films from over 60 countries annually. Its profile has grown second only to Cannes.
Commemorating the ruby milestone is the TIFF.40 banner for 2015. While the full list of films for this festival is still pending release, programming highlights were announced by CEO Piers Handling and Artistic Director Cameron Bailey.
“We are celebrating our 40th anniversary in 2015 and this first round of films offers a taste of the incredible lineup at this year’s Festival,” says Handling. “Made by both established and emerging filmmakers from around the world, these films offer a global snapshot of our times.”
As has come to be expected, Bailey notes that international selections are well-represented. “This year we are thrilled to share a diverse array of filmmakers from Australia, India, France, China, the United Kingdom and the USA,” he says.
TIFF.40 will open on September 10th with DEMOLITION, a film by Jean-Marc Vallee, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Naomi Watts. There will be 15 Galas and 34 Special Presentations over the eleven day festival, with 28 features from Canadian creators. Check out some of the selections below (including trailers if available):
Director: Jean-Marc Vallee
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts
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.
Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Danny Glover
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.
Director: Roland Emmerich
Starring: Jeremy Irvine, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Ron Perlman
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.
Director: Stephen Frears
Starring: Ben Foster, Dustin Hoffman
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.
Director: Brian Helgeland
Starring: Tom Hardy
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.
THE IDOL (YA TAYR EL TAYER)
Director: Hany Abu-Assad
A young boy in Gaza, Mohammad Assaf, dreams of one day singing in the Cairo Opera House with his sister and best friend, Nour. One day, Nour collapses and is rushed to the hospital where it is discovered that she needs a kidney transplant. Nour leaves Mohammad with a dying wish that someday, he will become a famous singer in Cairo. Escaping from Gaza to Egypt against unbelievable odds, Mohammad makes the journey of a lifetime. From two-time Academy Award nominee Hany Abu-Assad comes this inspirational drama inspired by the incredibly true story of Mohammed Assaf, winner of Arab Idol 2013.
LOUDER THAN BOMBS
Director: Joachim Trier
Starring: Isabelle Huppert, Gabriel Byrne, Jesse Eisenberg
An upcoming exhibition celebrating photographer Isabelle Reed three years after her untimely death brings her eldest son Jonah back to the family house, forcing him to spend more time with his father Gene and withdrawn younger brother Conrad than he has in years. With the three men under the same roof, Gene tries desperately to connect with his two sons, but they struggle to reconcile their feelings about the woman they remember so differently. Starring Isabelle Huppert, Gabriel Byrne and Jesse Eisenberg.
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Starring: Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, John C. Reilly, Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw
In a dystopian near future, single people are obliged to find a matching mate in 45 days or are transformed into animals and released into the woods. Starring Colin Farrell, Academy Award winner Rachel Weisz, John C. Reilly, Léa Seydoux and Ben Whishaw.
Director: Johnnie To
Starring: Chow Yun Fat, Sylvia Chang, Tang Wei, Wang Ziyi.
Billion-dollar company Jones & Sunn is going public. Chairman Ho Chung-ping has promised CEO Chang, who has been his mistress for more than 20 years, to become a major shareholder of the company. As the IPO team enters the company to audit its accounts, a series of inside stories start to be revealed. Starring Chow Yun Fat, Sylvia Chang, Tang Wei and Wang Ziyi.
MOUNTAINS MAY DEPART (SHAN HE GU REN)
Director: Jia Zhang-ke
The new film from master filmmaker Jia Zhang-ke (A Touch of Sin) jumps from the recent past to the speculative near-future as it examines how China’s economic boom has affected the bonds of family, tradition, and love.
CANADIAN FEATURE SELECTIONS:
BORN TO BE BLUE
Director: Robert Budreau
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Carmen Ejogo
Born to be Blue is a reimagining of jazz trumpeter Chet Baker’s life in the 1960s. When Chet is cast to star in a film about himself, a romance heats up with his female co-star, the enigmatic Jane. But his comeback bid is derailed when his past returns to haunt him and it appears he may never play music again. Starring Ethan Hawke and Carmen Ejogo.
Director: Guy Édoin
An actress shooting a movie hopes to reconcile with her son. A paramedic haunted by his past tries to stay the course, while a caring nurse keeps an eye on him from afar as she tries, at the same time, to keep an emergency room running. It is at the Ville-Marie Hospital that these four lives will take an unexpected turn. Starring Monica Bellucci, Patrick Hivon, Pascale Bussières and 2015 TIFF Rising Star Aliocha Schneider.
THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING
Director: Avi Lewis
Seven powerful portraits of community resistance around the world lead to one big question: what if confronting the climate crisis is the best chance we’ll ever get to build a better world? Inspired by Naomi Klein’s international bestseller and directed by her partner Avi Lewis, This Changes Everything is an affecting and hopeful call to action.
THE WAITING ROOM
Director: Igor Drljaca
Jasmin, once a successful actor in former Yugoslavia, now lives in Toronto with his second wife and young son. While juggling a construction job and a busy audition schedule, he dreams of re-launching an old televised stage show that made him famous in his homeland. When he is cast in a role that triggers recollections of the civil war, he is forced to reconcile his current reality with memories of his past success. From the team behind Krivina and In Her Place.
MY INTERNSHIP IN CANADA
Director: Philippe Falardeau
Guibord is an independent Member of Parliament representing a vast county in Northern Quebec who unwillingly finds himself in the awkward position of determining whether Canada will go to war. Accompanied by his wife, daughter and Souverain (Sovereign) Pascal, an idealistic intern from Haiti, Guibord travels across his district in order to consult his constituents and face his own conscience. This film is a sharp political satire in which politicians, citizens and lobbyists go head-to-head tearing democracy to shreds.
CANADIAN PRESS CONFERENCE RED CARPET PHOTOS:
This will also be the second year that TIFF will spill out on to King Street for its Street Festival component, tying in additional entertainment and activities for the first four days of the festival. Check out the TIFF.40 Gala and Special Presentations Press Conference Here:
The 2015 Toronto International Film Festival will be held September 10th to 20th – follow @ScreenRelish for our coverage and reviews from TIFF.40.