TIFF: the 2007 Canadian films

(Canscene) — So many years, so many worthy Canadian films that have received little acclaim or distribution beyond the screenings at Toronto International Film, festivals. What’s in store for Canadian films at Festival 2007, opening September 11?

One recalls Falling Angels, Ararat, Rhinoceros Eyes, Stardom, to name just a few that came and went quickly on sceens across Canada. Plus the hordes of fine Quebec films — outside their province of origin.

It is to the credit of festival co-directors Piers Handling and Noah Cowan and the TIFF board that they persist in bringing us a large proportion of productions with Canadian origins.

This year’s selections bring fresh hope for a real breakthrough and are linked to creative names like Denys Arcand, Francois Girard, David Cronenberg, Guy Maddin, Robert Lantos, Jeremy Podeswa and Clement Virgo, all of whom have scored kudos at previous TIFFs.

Viggo Mortensen and David Cronenberg at the TIFF press conference.

We’ll watch with interest the way in which Lantos and Podeswa have accepted the challenge of adapting festival opener Fugitive Pieces, from the stunning, poetic novel by Ann Michaels and how Cronenberg, reunited with his History of Violence star Viggo Mortensen serves up what promises to be a new twist to to an old genre in the thriller Eastern Promises.

Here’s the official TIFF release
Canadian programming at the 32nd Toronto International Film Festival highlights the best of our national cinema, bringing the country’s finest films and filmmakers to the attention of local, national and international audiences. This year, Canada First! opens with Martin Gero’s funny, sexy comedy YOUNG PEOPLE F*CING, and continues its celebration of emerging talent with eight feature films. Ticket Passes and Packages now on sale. For more information, please visit tiff07.ca or call 416-968-FILM or 1-877-968-FILM.

The Festival announces Denys Arcand’s L’ÂGE DES TÉNÈBRES (DAYS OF DARKNESS) starring Marc Labrèche, and David Cronenberg’s EASTERN PROMISES starring Viggo Mortensen and Naomi Watts. These titles join the previously announced Opening Night film, FUGITIVE PIECES by Jeremy Podeswa, as Canadian Gala Presentations to date.

Special Presentations include HERE IS WHAT IS from Adam Vollick, Daniel Lanois, Adam Samuels; Guy Maddin’s MY WINNIPEG; Clement Virgo’s POOR BOY’S GAME, winner of the Telefilm Canada Pitch This! competition in 2001; SILK by François Girard, and Roger Spottiswoode’s SHAKE HANDS WITH THE DEVIL.

MIchel Brault showcased
This year the Canadian Retrospective showcases the work of one of Canada’s most influential directors and cinematographers, Michel Brault. As a director, Brault revolutionized the way the world perceived contemporary Quebecois life and identity. The Toronto International Film Festival Group is publishing a book on Brault entited Cinema as History: Michel Brault and Modern Quebec, written by Andre Loiselle. To celebrate the release of the book, TIFFG, Pages Books & Magazines and This Is Not A Reading Series proudly present Andre Loiselle in conversation with Michel Brault on Thursday, August 23, 7:30 p.m. at The Gladstone Hotel.

Francis Mankiewicz’s masterpiece LES BONS DÉBARRAS (1980) is this year’s Canadian Open Vault. The cast includes Germain Houde, Serge Thériault, Charlotte Laurier, Roger Lebel, Louise Marleau, Marie Tifo and Gilbert Sicotte. A tale of passion, jealousy and destructive love, LES BONS DÉBARRAS tells the story of Manon (Laurier) who is determined to have her mother all to herself.

Canada First! titles include Martin Gero’s YOUNG PEOPLE F*CING; AMAL by 2005 Telefilm Canada Pitch This! winner Richie Mehta; Rafaël Ouellet’s LE CÈDRE PENCHÉ; Stéphane Lafleur’s CONTINENTAL, UN FILM SANS FUSIL; Chaz Thorne’s JUST BURIED; Ernie Barbarash’s THEY WAIT; Ed Gass-Donnelly’s THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY, and Robert Cuffley’s WALK ALL OVER ME.

Contemporary World Cinema includes Leonard Farlinger’s ALL HAT, Bruce Sweeney’s AMERICAN VENUS, Laurie Lynd’s BREAKFAST WITH SCOT, Bernard Émond’s CONTRE TOUTE ESPÉRANCE, Carl Bessai’s NORMAL, Denis Côté’s NOS VIES PRIVÉES, Kari Skogland’s THE STONE ANGEL, and Allan Moyle’s WEIRDSVILLE.

Real to Reel includes: Peter Raymont’s A PROMISE TO THE DEAD: THE EXILE JOURNEY OF ARIEL DORFMAN, Suroosh Alvi and Eddy Moretti’s HEAVY METAL IN BAGDHAD, and John Zaritsky’s THE WILD HORSE REDEMPTION.

Short Cuts Canada presents 43 compelling shorts this year. The programme focuses local and international audiences, media, and industry attention on some of Canada’s most innovative filmmakers. Titles include Peter Lynch and Max Dean’s A SHORT FILM ABOUT FALLING, deco dawson’s THE LAST MOMENT, Sean Garrity’s REORDER, and Alanis Obomsawin’s GENE BOY CAME HOME.

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