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30th Toronto will open with World Premiere of WATER

Toronto International Film Festival will open with of World Premiere of WATER

Toronto International Film Festival is set to open on September 8th to the 17th, 2005. This will be the 30th anniversary of the top North American Film Festival and one of the most respected Festivals in the world. To date programmers have acquired to screen 11 world premieres, five international premieres, and nine North American premieres from 17 countries. Last years Festival was close to 350 films from over 50 countries with many films going onto garner Oscar attention, such as KINSEY, HOTEL RUANDA, LES CHORUS and A SEA INSIDE.

Acclaimed Indian filmmaker Deepa Mehta new film WATER will open the Festival with a Gala Presentation and is the final film in her trilogy on the elements, following FIRE (1996) and EARTH (1998). Set in pre-independent India against the backdrop of Mahatma Gandhi's rise to power, the film tells the story of eight-year old child-bride Chuyia, who is exiled to a widow's ashram after her husband dies. This extraordinary film stars Lisa Ray, Seema Biswas, and John Abraham. Mehta is well known for her BOLLYWOOD HOLLYWOOD film and has the other element films screen at the past Toronto Film Festivals to rave reviews. WATER is a David Hamilton Production, and executive produced by Mark Burton, Ajay Virmani, and Doug Mankoff. WATER is being distributed by Mongrel Media in Canada.

Set in pre-independent India, set against the backdrop of Mahatma Gandhi's rise to power, eight-year old child-bride Chuyia hears of her husband's death. Her father, following custom, exiles her to a widow's ashram where she is meant to live out her days. Chuyia's feisty presence starts to affect the lives of the other residents, in particular 20-year-old Kalyani (Lisa Ray of BOLLYWOOD/HOLLYWOOD), 35-year-old Shakuntala (Seema Biswas of BANDIT QUEEN) and an 80-year-old whose days are waning. Encouraged by Chuyia, Kalyani (who serves as the ashram's breadwinner) breaks tradition and falls for young upper-class Gandhian idealist Narayan (Bollywood star John Abraham), forcing the widows to question their future and faith. Even Chuyia is caught in the wind of change. The Opening Night Gala will be screening at Roy Thomson Hall are made possible through the sponsorship of Paramount Pictures (Canada) Inc., Showtime Networks Inc., and Viacom.

Another highlight of the festival will be David Cronenberg's A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE with its North American premiere as a Gala Presentation. The film is a harsh thriller that defies a once simple family and the events that turns into a catastrophic transformation. Based on the John Wagner/Vince Locke graphic novel of the same name, the film stars Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, William Hurt, Ed Harris, and Ashton Holmes.

WHERE THE TRUTH LIES, the new film from Atom Egoyan, receives its North American premiere as a Gala Presentation. Based on the Rupert Holmes novel of the same name, WHERE THE TRUTH LIES is a dramatic look at the events that sever a famous comedic duo when a beautiful girl turns up naked and dead in the pair's hotel suite after a night of wild partying. Kevin Bacon, Colin Firth, Alison Lohman, and Rachel Blanchard lead the stellar ensemble cast.

Many in the film world are long awaiting the world premiere of Ang Lee's BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN in its North American premiere. Staring Heath Leger and Jake Gleynhalle set in Wyoming as a young cowboy and rodeo rider come to know each other more than what they bargain for. Their relationship breaks the rules in their world amongst the outdoor mountain setting.

This year's Special Presentations include the world premieres of Anand Tucker's SHOPGIRL the long adored novel written by Steve Martin and, starring Claire Danes, Steve Martin, and Jason Schwartzman; Jason Reitman's THANK YOU FOR SMOKING, starring Aaron Eckhart, Robert Duvall, and Katie Holmes; first-time director Paul Mayeda Berges' MISTRESS OF SPICES United Kingdom starring Aishwarya Rai and Dylan McDermott; and the international premiere of Richard E. Grant's WAH-WAH South Africa/France/United Kingdom, starring Nicholas Hoult, Gabriel Byrne, and Emily Watson.

The Toronto Festival is viewed as the true peoples film festival as its support to the community and city of Toronto is well orchestrated. With 23 screens in the Festival Village and downtown Toronto it delivers an economic impact of $67 million to the City and county of Ontario, Canada. It attracts thousands of industry representatives from Canada, the U.S., and the world in its 10 day run. Its support to local Canadian filmmakers has boosted the Canadian Film Industry cultivating and highlighting Canadian film as the gateway to the North American film market, providing an environment for the buying and selling of films. The influence on the awards season, including the Academy Awards, BAFTA, European Film Awards, and the Golden Globes, were overwhelming as 29 titles were honoured last year at these events following premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival.

By Keiko Beatie

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