Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Telluride Wraps, Toronto Opens

Abbie Cornish in the period drama BRIGHT STAR, directed by Jane Campion

One of America's most prestigious film festivals wrapped Labor Day in Colorado. That was, of course, the Telluride Festival (TFF). This year was the 36th and it did not disappoint. Telluride, like the New York Film Festival, is a non-competitive festival. No special awards are given. People go to enjoy restful and beautiful Telluride, to see, appreciate, and to talk, film.

As Oscar® looms, with Telluride under the belt, and Venice closing Saturday (12th), here are some of the films many have tapped as possibly being Oscar bound. First and foremost from Telluride is Jason Reitman's UP IN THE AIR. George Clooney's much-praised performance is considered by many to be a timely theme about an American culture hurting for connection and basic humanity. It now heads to Toronto with a Special Premiere.

Clooney stars in a second much talked about movie this year, THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS, and both will screen at Toronto. He squired Miss Elisabetta Canalis in Venice and Telluride and, most likely, will do it again in Toronto.

Another high-profile movie, THE ROAD, which had screened to a good reception at the Venice International Film Festival, screened Sunday night at Telluride with an opening ovation. The fact that Viggo Mortensen stars, received a special fest tribute, and was on hand for questioning, helped to brighten this adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's bleak, Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. John Hillcoat directs and the movie will also receive a Special Premiere at Toronto.

Werner Herzog's BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS, reportedly pleased Telluride fest goers. Herzog, along with star Nicolas Cage, will now take their film North to Port of Call Toronto. Herzog will have another movie this year at Hollywood North, MY SON, MY SON, WHAT HAVE YE DONE? A USA - German co-production.

Other notable movies at Telluride will now go to test their metal at Toronto. Among them, Jane Campion's BRIGHT STAR, Jacques Audiard's A PROPHET, and Michael Haneke's THE WHITE RIBBON (Das Weisse Band) winner at Cannes this year.

The Toronto International Film Festival Group (TIFFG) is a charitable, not-for-profit, cultural organization, which is often dubbed Hollywood North, and ranks with Cannes, Sundance, Berlin and Venice as one of the world's most influential film festivals. I is considered the kick-off of the film awards season, which culminates with the Academy Awards® 7 March 2010.

The lineup of directors, producers, actors, and others for the 34th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), when compared to other film festivals this summer, is huge - - over 500 expected. The Festival opens this Thursday, the 10th and closes on the 19th.

Like many festivals this year, TIFF has expanded its Outdoor programs and free screenings. There are not just free films but also free concerts at the Live at Yonge and Dundas Square.

The winner of the Cadillac People's Choice Award will be announced on the afternoon of 19 September. The presentation that evening on the closing night of the festival is free. Last year, the People's Choice went to Danny Boyle's multiple Academy Award®-winning SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE. It was then that I felt almost certain that the movie had "The It" to win the Academy Award, having also followed its reception at Telluride.

Opening Night - Live satellite feed from the Roy Thomson Hall red carpet for the Opening Night Gala Presentation of CREATION. TIFF YDS Spotlight: Opening Night concert by DJ Champion, hosted by Canadian soprano Measha Brueggergosman.

Closing Night - TIFF Live In Concert Film Series: world premiere of COPYRIGHT CRIMINALS. The Festival Wrap Party, presented in association with Future Projections and hosted by Chuck D, featuring the infectious improvised audiovisual "mashups" of Eclectic Method. With special guest Clyde Stubblefield, plus the presentation of the Cadillac People's Choice Award.

Full Screening List For Toronto

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