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article imageStar power abounds at 2013 Toronto Film Festival Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Jul 23, 2013 in Entertainment
The Toronto International Film Festival announces its first round of highly-anticipated galas and special presentations.
The hum is growing louder in Toronto as the chatter becomes clearer. The Toronto International Film Festival held its opening press conference this morning, announcing one-quarter of the titles to be included in this year’s event.
Piers Handling, CEO and Director of TIFF, and Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director of the Toronto International Film Festival, unveiled the first group of titles set to premiere in the Galas and Special Presentations programmes at the 38th Toronto International Film Festival. Of the 16 galas and 55 special presentations revealed, 40 are world premieres.
"This first round of films offers a taste of the powerhouse lineup at this year’s Festival,” said Handling. “These are the works that will have everyone talking because they capture the mood of the times. They will captivate, excite and entertain the global film community and audiences alike.”
The opening night film on September 5 will be the world premiere of DreamWorks Pictures’ The Fifth Estate. Directed by Bill Condon, the film begins as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Brühl) team up to become underground watchdogs of the privileged and powerful. It reveals the quest to expose the deceptions and corruptions of power that turned an Internet upstart into the 21st century’s most fiercely debated organization.
The festival will close on September 14 with the world premiere of Daniel Schechter’s Life of Crime. Based on Elmore Leonard’s novel The Switch, the closing night gala trails Louis and Ordell (John Hawkes and yasiin bey) — two common criminals in 1970s Detroit — who kidnap the wife (Jennifer Aniston) of a corrupt real estate developer (Tim Robbins) and hold her for ransom.
Other Gala highlights include:
August: Osage County directed by John Wells
USA, World Premiere
The film tells the dark, hilarious and deeply touching story of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose lives have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Midwest house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them. Based on Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize– and Tony Award–winning 2007 play of the same name. Starring Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Abigail Breslin, Sam Shepard and Chris Cooper.
Cold Eyes directed by Cho Ui-seok and Kim Byung-seo
South Korea, North American Premiere
A veteran leader of the Special Crime Department Surveillance Team, and a rookie female detective with gifted powers of reasoning, keep a close watch over a vicious criminal organization. After continuous surveillance and pursuit, they come close to arresting the organization but commit a fatal mistake. Starring Seol Kyung-gu, Jung Woo-sung, Han Hyo-joo, Lee Jun-ho and Jin Gyeong.
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom directed by Justin Chadwick
South Africa, World Premiere
Based on South African President Nelson Mandela’s autobiography of the same name, the film chronicles his early life, coming of age, education, and 27 years in prison before working to rebuild his country’s once-segregated society. Starring Idris Elba as Nelson Mandela, and Naomie Harris as Winnie Mandela.
Highlights from the Special Presentations programme include:
12 Years a Slave directed by Steve McQueen
USA, World Premiere
The film tells the incredible true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841 and finally freed in 1853. The story is a triumphant tale of one man’s courage and perseverance to reunite with his family that serves as an important historical and cultural marker in American history. Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Garret Dillahunt, Paul Giamatti, Scoot McNairy, Lupita Nyong'o, Adepero Oduye, Sarah Paulson, Brad Pitt, Michael Kenneth Williams and Alfre Woodard.
Gravity directed by Alfonso Cuarón
USA/United Kingdom, North American Premiere
Gravity is a heart-pounding thriller that pulls its audience into the infinite and unforgiving realm of deep space. Sandra Bullock plays Dr. Ryan Stone, a brilliant medical engineer accompanied on her first shuttle mission by veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney). On a seemingly routine spacewalk, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalsky completely alone — tethered to nothing but each other and spiraling out into the blackness. The deafening silence tells them they have lost any link to Earth… and any chance for rescue. As fear turns to panic, every gulp of air eats away at what little oxygen is left. But their only way home may be to go further out into the terrifying expanse of space.
MARY Queen of Scots directed by Thomas Imbach
France/Switzerland, North American Premiere
A queen who lost three kingdoms. A wife who lost three husbands. A woman who lost her head. Starring Camille Rutherford, Sean Biggerstaff and Aneurin Barnard.
Prisoners directed by Denis Villeneuve
USA, World Premiere
How far would you go to protect your family? Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) is facing every parent’s worst nightmare. His six-year-old daughter, Anna, is missing, together with her young friend, Joy, and as minutes turn to hours, panic sets in. The only lead is a dilapidated RV that had earlier been parked on their street. Heading the investigation, Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) arrests its driver, Alex Jones (Paul Dano), but a lack of evidence forces his release. As the police pursue multiple leads and pressure mounts, knowing his child’s life is at stake the frantic Dover decides he has no choice but to take matters into his own hands. But just how far will this desperate father go to protect his family? Also features Melissa Leo, Maria Bello, Viola Davis and Terrence Howard.
“An unparalleled calibre of international talent will illuminate the city for 11 spectacular days, to descend on the hottest red carpets representing productions from across the globe including South Africa, France, Canada, South Korea, Australia, Germany, USA, and the United Kingdom,” said Bailey.
Celebrate with Midnight Madness:
Also noted was the 25th anniversary of the Midnight Madness programme at TIFF. “Midnight Madness maven Colin Geddes has a few surprises up his bloody sleeve,” said Bailey. Most elements of the shock, horror and action line-up are still under wraps. But Bailey did reveal a special midnight (11:59 p.m.) free screening on July 29 of Jonathan Levine’s All the Boys Love Mandy Lane at TIFF Bell Lightbox, a fan favourite from 2006. The full 2013 programme will be announced the following day, July 30.
The full conference is available to view online, as well as the full list of 66 films announced.
The Toronto International Film Festival is the leading public film festival in the world, screening more than 300 films from more than 60 countries. The festival runs September 5 to 15, 2013.
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