The Toronto International Film Festival (Sept. 5-14), that was massively disrupted by last year's terrorist attacks, is to mark the anniversary of the tragic events by remaining dark.

The festival will suspend all conferences, lectures and screenings until 11am on Sept 11 this year and will offer counseling services to staff and guests.

"It is very important to us that the festival programme acknowledges the terrible events of this day, the first anniversary of Sept. 11," said festival director Piers Handling.

A special thematic programming for the anniversary has also been announced. It includes the world premiere gala presentation of director Jim Simpson's The Guys. Starring Sigourney Weaver and Anthony LaPaglia, The film tells the poignant true story of a fire captain who lost eight men in the collapse of the World Trade Centre towers, and the editor who helps him put together the eulogies he must deliver.

The Sept. 11 programme will also feature a compilation of short films from 11 international directors who were commissioned to write and direct a film lasting 11 minutes, nine seconds and one frame (11/09/01).

These include: Sean Penn's portrait of a widower living in the shadows of the towers; Samira Makhmalbaf's story of a teacher trying to explain the attack to schoolchildren and Claude Lelouch's tale of a deaf person reacting to the events. Other films in the series include Mira Nair's portrayal of ethnic minorities facing discrimination after the attack and Shohei Imamura's film in which the events of Sept 11 trigger memories of WWII in Japan. The other directors are Youssef Chahine, Amos Gitai, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Ken Loach, Idrissa Ouedraogo and Danis Tanovic.