The Toronto InternationalFilm Festival has expanded its professional development offerings with TalentLab Toronto, a series of creative and technical workshops aimed at emerginglocal filmmakers.

20 selected filmmakers willparticipate in a curriculum ranging from issues of creative collaboration tomarketing and distribution, all of it conducted by local and internationalindustry professionals.

The inaugural three-dayprogramme will be open to Canadian filmmakers; however, future labs will likelyinclude international applicants. One of the lab's sponsors is the UK FilmCouncil.

The festival's director ofindustry Kelley Alexander told the introduction of two newCanadian programmes and the retirement of the 20-year-old Perspective Canadaprogramme necessitated a local focus for the first iteration of Talent LabToronto. But she added that the international film industry participants whowill conduct the labs will have an opportunity to scout new Canadian talent."The scope is not local but global. It's about networking and gaining aninternational perspective," she said. "It's an opportunity for exchange andcollaboration."

The festival will also presentthe fifth annual Telefilm Canada PITCH THIS! Competition, a programme, as itstitle suggests, aimed at honing the pitching skills of emerging producers. Thewinning project will receive C$10,000 towards securing further financing.

The 29th TorontoInternational Film Festival runs September 9-18, 2004. Talent Lab Toronto takesplace September 10-12, 2004.