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Toronto Opens with World Premiere of Deepa Mehta’s WATER

Toronto International Film Festival Opens with World Premiere of Deepa Mehta’s WATER

Toronto International Film Festival opening night was a triumph on September 8th with the premiere of Deepa Mehta’s dynamic film WATER. Finishing out her ode to the elements this is the final film in her trilogy, following FIRE (1996) and EARTH (1998). Mehta film brought a classic presents to the 30th anniversary of one on the largest film festivals in the world. Mehta’s element series FIRE and EARTH were highlights in past TIFF and the audience was appperciative with the Opening Night film.

Toronto a sprawling large metropolis is truly a city of the world. Multi-cultural, safe and beautiful the Canadian government opens its doors to the movie making industry and film fans from all over the world. With close to 350 films screening and over 200 of them world premieres, the Toronto Film Festival Group has the respect of the film festival circuit. Their dedication and passion has now developed TIFF as one of the best of the best of films, fans, and film industry. The Festival will take place with in the City of Toronto form September 6th to the 17th, 2005.

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.

When 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 was screened at Roy Thomson Hall and was sponsored by Paramount Pictures (Canada) Inc., Showtime Networks Inc., and Viacom. WATER had the right elements to entice the crowd into an appreciative adore of Mehats fluid style. Deepa Mehta complex story of this somewhat tragic but yet hopeful existence shows her delicate and rich sensitivity to her characters. The moving portrayals of the women who are exiled to the seemly non productive life are delivered with humanistic reverence and sensitivity. With a strong cast of women to support this touching plight the film leaves you with a feeling of hope and aspirations for the future.

With the cream of the crop on hand at the Opening Gala the festivities were celebrative and anticipatory with the presentation of films to come. Many of the films to screen are being observed as many international buyers on hand making this a successful North American Market along with the November, AFM American Film Market. Some of the films of the 30th Toronto International Film Festival may be acquired and held for the media extravaganza of Sundance Film Festival set for January 2006.

Other top films set to screen at this years Festival are: 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.

Passes and Coupons may be purchased at the Official website www.bell.ca/filmfest or by calling the Bell Infoline at (416) 968-FILM. Passes and Coupons are on sale to the general public and may be purchased online, by phone or in person at the Toronto International Film Festival Group Box Office.

By Keiko Beatie

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