Some promising entries for TIFF 08

(Canscene) — Deepa Mehta, Don McKellar, Bruce McDonald — all names familiar to Toronto International Film Festival goers will be returning to TIFF screens this year with new Canadian productions.

Deepa Mehta, a TIFF veteran, enters Heaven on Earth based on the true story of Punjabi-born Toronto woman who is a victim of domestic violence. Mehta has already filmed a documentary on the same subject, but Heaven on Earth will be presented as a feature.

Don McKellar (Last Night and Red Violin) wrote the screenplay for Blindness, shown this year at Cannes. It’s the story of a world struck blind by a virus and stars Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo.

Bruce McDonald’s Pontypool also has a post-apocalyptic story line. From a novel by Ontarian Tony Burgess, it offers a glimpse into a future that is far from promising for humankind.

For star gazers, there’s Appaloosa, directed by and starring Ed Harris, also featuring Viggo Mortensen. The two star as gunslingers hired to clean up a New Mexico town. Sounds familiar? But it’s a world premiere and with Renee Zellweger as a “provocative outsider” likely to attract a large crowd to the screening and eventual press conference.

Viggo: Back in the saddle again

Canadian offerings in addition to Heaven on Earth, Blindness and Pontypool are profuse and varied. In its Canada First series, TIFF has scheduled nine productions for first-time Canadian directors as well as those presenting at TIFF for the first time.

Before Tomorrow is directed by Marie-Helen Cousineau and Madeline Ivalu and based on an acclaimed Danish novel. It’s described as “a moving drama about a strong Inuit woman and her beloved grandson trapped on a remote island as they face the ultimate challenge of survival.”

Canada’s first stop-motion animated feature Edison and Leo is “ a sumptuous fairy tale about a quirky inventor (Powers Boothe) who endangers his family in quest to create a viable electric light bulb.”

In the Contemporary World Cinema series, Carl Bessai’s Mothers and Daughters is a look at the strained relationships three women have with their daughters. Features Tantoo Cardinal, Gabrielle Rose and Babz Chula.

Also to be featured are Maman est chez le coiffeur Lost Song, Toronto Stories and Summer Without a Home Run a Quebec baseball story.


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