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Toronto Film Festival Dailies


The 46th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 9–18, 2021. in Canada's most vibrant and exciting metropolis, it has become one of the most important film events on the festival calendar.

Showcasing more than 300 films and hosting industryites from around the world, Toronto can "make or break" films looking for international distribution and a chance at Oscar gold. From glitzy red carpet premieres to challenging art films to cutting edge new media, the Festival offers something for every taste.

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TIFF Press Conference: RELIGULOUS

Monday, September 8-------Controversial television comedian Bill Maher must be saying hallelujahs for the equally controversial candidacy of Sarah Palin as the Republican Vice Presidential candidate. In one fell swoop, Palin's entry into the race has brought up the subject of religion in a presidential campaign (yet again) and made it a topic of concern and, to some, outrage in the American popular imagination. So, the October release of Religulous, a comedic journey by the acerbic comedian into the heart of Christian, Jewish and Muslim organized religion is both prescient in its timing and, possibly, devastating in its impact.

If one is wondering about the title, it is a made up word combining the words religion and ridiculous. And pretty much sums up the point of view of filmmakers Bill Maher and Larry Charles (the politically incorrect director of Borat). The film, although one sided, is a consistently funny putdown of society's blind devotion to religious faith.  Religulous opens in the US on October 3 after its Toronto premiere and North American distributor Lionsgate is hoping the film will be a cause célèbre in this contentious presidential election year.

At a press conference yesterday at the Sutton Place Hotel, both Maher and Charles talked about the motivation behind the film and their hopes for its wide release. What follows are some highlights:

Bill Maher: "Although I talk about religion a good amount on my television show, I felt that the topic deserves a broader canvas. In many ways, religion is the ultimate taboo and I am anticipating that it will turn off as many people as it will attract. But already Larry (Charles) and I are being referred to as the "Woodward and Bernstein" of religion.

Larry Charles: "I really don't know if organized religion will come down hard on the film. Of course, I've tried to make the film as entertaining as possible so it can attract a larger audience than just those who already hold our opinions on religious dogma. But if religious leaders start preaching against seeing our movie, it could either kill us or help us tremendously with all that free publicity."

Bill Maher: "We travelled around the world to make this film, to all the major religious sites. But ironically it is in America that people have almost the most rigid ideas about religion. I'm not sure why that is, but maybe America is a dumber country than most of the developed Western nations."

Larry Charles: "We screened the movie for audiences while it was still in the process of being formed (first edit scenes were screened at last year's Toronto FF), and I definitely used the feedback we got to give the film a tone and a rhythm."

Bill Maher: "I really don't know what is going to happen when the film comes out. Ideally, it will motivate people to think more about the role that religion plays in their lives."

Sandy Mandelberger, Toronto FF Dailies Editor

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About Toronto Film Festival Dailies


The Dailies from Toronto

Contributing editors: Bruno Chatelin 

Laurie Gordon Animaze International Film Festival Le Miaff!
Leopoldo Soto Huatulco Food and Film Festival Director
Gary Lucas Guitar hero Performing artist live score to classic and horror film
Mike Rabehl Programmer and Buyer Cinequest Film Festival San Jose Tiwtter: @cqmike
Vanessa McMahon  

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