The Toronto InternationalFilm Festival kicks off today and - once again - is offering an abundance, somewould say over-abundance, of world premieres.
Buyers, media and publicalike have been poring over the packed schedules since they were announced, decidingwhat to target and what they will inevitably have to miss. It's rich pickingsfor buyers from around the world and domestic distribution teams in particularwill be out in full force, with new players such as The Weinstein Co,Picturehouse and the new Miramax Films all out to make demonstrations of theirbuying mettle.
Numerous English-languagetitles remain without domestic distribution, and the spotlight is on titlessuch as Tideland, Trust The Man, Thank You For Smoking, Sorry Haters,Shooting Dogs, Harsh Times, 12 And Holding, The Quiet, A Little Trip To Heaven,Neverwas, and Revolver to see if deals are closed hot on the heelsof their Toronto screenings.
Opening night film- Deepa Mehta's Water - was recently sold to Fox Searchlight for the US but closing night title - Justin Timberlake-starrer Edison- is so far without a US distributor. Local audiences at the festival arefamously warm to the films in the festival, and sellers have kept buyerswaiting until Toronto to see some titles at the same time as the public.Indeed, as buyers well know, some world premieres have their press and industryscreenings after their first public screening.
Toronto as always has itsfair share of international world premieres not to mention the pick of theVenice crop. New films from Danis Tanovic, Zhang Yang, Montxo Armendariz, AnneFontaine, Marcelo Pineyro and Carlos Saura among others will be unveiled forthe first time, giving specialist buyers of foreign-language films no respiteafter Venice.
Ever-expanding market thoughit may be, Toronto is also fulfilling an increasingly valuable role forHollywood studios as a launchpad for its story-driven, end-of-year prestigepictures.
After a summer in which theworld's media has slammed the poor quality of the studios' tentpole output, alleyes will be on studio awards contenderssuch as Curtis Hanson's In Her Shoes, Niki Caro's NorthCountry, James Mangold's Walk The Line and Joe Wright's Pride& Prejudice, all of which arrive with red hot word-of-mouth.
That's not to mention titlesfresh from Venice like Elizabethtown from Paramount, BrokebackMountain from Focus Features or Proof from Miramax. Once again,studios will stage mammoth press junkets at the Four Seasons and Park Hyatt,operating an almost parallel event tothe festival itself.
The cream of Hollywoodtalent will be on stage presenting their films and on the cover of Toronto'sdaily newspapers not to mention Screen International's own daily paper. Reese,Gwyneth, Cameron and Charlize; Heath, Viggo and Orlando ; Pierce, Jodie andDakota; all and many more are scheduled to attend.
The question has to beasked, as many buyers and journalists do every year: how big can one filmfestival be'