The Toronto International Film Festival has announced a further seven world premieres including new films from Mike Figgis, John Dahl, Gregor Jordan, Bruce McDonald and Yvan Attal. Topping the list is Novocaine (pictured), the Artisan Entertainment-produced feature debut of screenwriter David Atkins.

The crime thriller stars Steve Martin as a dentist who is drawn into the underworld by "a seductive patient with an appetite for pain killers." Helena Bonham Carter, Laura Dern, Scott Caan and Elias Koteas co-star. The film will receive a gala premiere.

Figgis, a Toronto favourite, returns with Hotel, a follow-up to his digital video-shot Time Code. Set in a Venetian hotel, the free-wheeling narrative features Selma Hayek, David Schwimmer, Burt Reynolds, Lucy Liu, Alan Rickman and Valeria Golino among others. Moonstone Entertainment is handling world sales.

John Dahl's Joy Ride sees the director on familiar terrain, with a thriller about three young people on a summer road trip who become entangled with a deranged truck driver. Paul Walker, Leelee Sobieski, and Steve Zahn star. Produced by New Regency, the film is distributed by 20th Century Fox in North America.

Gregor Jordan's new film, Buffalo Soldiers, features Joaquin Phoenix, Ed Harris, Scott Glenn, and Anna Paquin in a story about rogue American GIs stationed in Germany just before the fall of the Berlin Wall. The film is produced by Film Four and Good Machine and backed by Germany's Odeon.

Canadian filmmaker Bruce McDonald, a local hero of long standing, returns with Picturing Claire, a fish-out-of-water caper featuring Juliette Lewis as a young French Canadian woman forced to move from Montreal to Toronto only to become involved in a murder case. Gina Gershon and Mickey Rourke co-star. Alliance Atlantis is handling world sales except for the US, which will be handled by producer Robert Lantos' Serendipity Point Films.

French director Yvan Attal's drama Ma Femme Est Une Actrice follows Attal's sports reporter in his growing obsession with the on-screen intimacies of his actress wife, played by Charlotte Gainsbourg. (Attal and Gainsbourg are a couple in real life.) Terence Stamp co-stars.

Focus, the feature film directorial debut of photographer Neal Slavin, features William H. Macy, Laura Dern, David Paymer and Meat Loaf Aday, in drama about anti-semitism set in New York at the height of World War II. The film is distributed in North America through Paramount Classics.

Making its North American premiere is Thirteen Conversations About One Thing from Clockwatchers director Jill Sprecher, featuring Alan Arkin, Matthew McConaughey, Clea DuVall, John Turturro and Amy Iriving. Overseas Film Group is handling international sales.

The festival will also feature the Canadian premiere of two films from Richard Linklater, Tape and Waking Life. Tape is being released by Lions Gate while Waking Life is through Fox Searchlight.

Novocaine will be featured in the festival's gala programme. The other six world premieres, along with Thirteen Conversations and the Linklater films are Special Presentations. The 26th Toronto International Film Festival runs from Sept. 6 to 16.