Friday, August 13, 2010

The Toronto International Film Festival

Canadian's are starting to get excited about the 35th annual Toronto International Film Festival which runs from September 9th to the 19th, 2010.
The festival originally started as the "Festival of Festival's" in 1976 where it screened the 30 best films from Canada and the world (Hollywood decided not to show at the first festival as it was an inaugural year) to 35,000 eager movie-goers. The movies are screened in Toronto, Ontario, in the city's posh neighbourhood of Yorkville. The once small festival has now gained a international reputation of high standards. Renamed the Toronto International Film Festival or TIFF, it has been compared to the Cannes Film Festival in France. Last year, 336 films were shown from 64 different countries to 500,000 film enthusiasts. According to Time magazine, TIFF has "grown from its place as the most influential fall film festival to the most influential film festival, period" (2007). It is said that the race for the Oscars begins here.

American Beauty, directed by Sam Mendes, first premiered at TIFF and later went on to win 5 Oscars. Another notable movie that premiered at the festival was Up in the Air, directed by Jason Reitman, which was nominated for 6 Oscars. A Canadian film that was nominated for an Oscar was Water, directed by Deepa Mehta, and was first premiered at TIFF. Other Oscar winners that have shown at TIFF are Slumdog Millionaire, directed by Danny Boyle and last years Precious, directed by Lee Daniels. Both movies won the festivals People's Choice Award.

This year, Daydream Nation is making it's debut on the opening night of the festival. The movie is directed by Mike Goldbach and stars Kat Dennings (Norah from Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist) as the lead. The movie is about a teenage girl (Dennings) being moved to a small town in rural British Columbia, or BC, (that's where I'm from!). Her classmates seem permanently stoned -BC is said to have the best weed in the world- while there is an industrial fire in the background and a killer is on the loose. Check out the trailer below:

Other movies that people are talking about are The Town, directed by and starring Ben Affleck, which is about a bank thief who falls in love with the banks manager while they hold them hostage. Trust starring David Schwimmer, Clive Owen and Catherine Keener, is about a young, teen girl being raped by a pedophile she met online. Some Canadian movies that are premiering at the festival are five movies from BC; Daydream Nation is one of them. Another one is Force of Nature, The David Suzuki Movie, directed by Sturla Gunnarsson. Gunnarsson follows David Suzuki around to internment camps sites of WWII, Japan, and lastly, Vancouver's Chan Centre where Suzuki gives a lecture on his life's work as an environmentalist and broadcaster. The other three movies are Repeaters , a thriller directed by Carl Bessai (if you liked Groundhog Day, you might want to check this one out), A Night for Dying Tigers, directed by Terry Miles, which stars two BC actors, and finally, Amazon Falls, Katrin Bowen's directorial debut about B-starlet that's lost her shine and is falling for a powerful man of mystery.

TIFF looks to be pretty exciting this year, I'm interested to see what movies will make it big and which ones will just flop. I think that the movies with the big stars like Truth and The Town will be more of the "box-office hits" because, honestly, they don't seem that original, and let's face it, the general public loves their unoriginal movies. However, Amazon Falls doesn't seem to be to original either and it doesn't have any big names; it seems more like a flop. I think movies like Daydream Nation will be big in the underground, indie industry because the movie has the Juno-vibe to it with it's quirkiness and the way that it is so out there. But of course, the movies are only half of the fun of TIFF. I'll be keeping you posted on what stars are showing up, who's dressing them and who's in the running for the People's Choice Award. Who do you think it will be?

If you want to check out more on the festival and the full list of movies that will be shown, you can visit TIFF's website at

-S. Maharaj

1 comment:

  1. "Daydream Nation" definitely looks like a movie that I should be watching.