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Toronto Film Festival Dailies


The  44th  Toronto  International  Film  Festival  runs  September  5–15,  2019 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.

Past Coverage 2014 2015 - Coverage 2016 in French   English


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Canadian Epic To Open Toronto Film Festival

 by Sandy Mandelberger, Toronto FF Dailies Editor Monday, August 18-----With summer in its final sizzle, the Fall film festival season is just moments away. The troika of Montreal, Venice and Toronto begins in the Quebec capital later this week. While other industries still relish the slow period known as the "dog days of August", the film industry is already in high gear mode, looking to these Festivals to unveil the films that everyone will be talking about this awards season.Of th...

It's A Wrap: Parting Thoughts

Sunday, September 16----------The Toronto International Film Festival marathon (365 films in 10 days......pant, pant) is over and whichever way the pundits will lean, it is clear that this is an adventurous, rigorous and exciting event for film buffs and film lovers. While the overall analysis was that the sales/acquisition activity was a little underwhelming, the fact is that the story is not completely written on that aspect of the Festival. Perhaps, considering the chances taken by so many of...

Toronto Film Festival Winners

 Sunday, September 16---------The Toronto International Film Festival marathon came to a close last evening with the announcement of the film awards at the historic Fairmont Royal York Hotel. While the Festival is mainly a non-competitive affair, the Canadian entries are up for a number of awards, which only helps to strengthen their international profile. Toronto International Film Festival Award WinnersAWARD FOR BEST CANADIAN SHORT FILMThe award for Best Canadian Short Film goes to Chris Cho...

Film In Focus: A JIHAD FOR LOVE

 Saturday, September 15---------There are very few words in our contemporary culture that are as charged as the word "jihad". It has been used as a kind of talisman for conjuring up the fears of Western society for the resurgence of political, economic and ideological influence of the Muslim world. Indian-born Muslim director Parvez Sharma uses the word in the title of his debut documentary film in its more literal Arabic meaning. Rather than simply being equated with "holy war...

Fathers And Sons As A Potent Theme

 Saturday, September 15------The complex, competitive and ultimately loving relationship between fathers and their sons has been the potent theme of a number of films at this year's Toronto International Film Festival. Perhaps it is only my own personal taste (after all, in a sea of over 350 films, one chooses to take the journeys that most resonate with one's own sensibilities), but the theme came up again and again in a group of very different films.The struggle for reconciliation between a ...

Biz Buzz: Warner Independent Has A Ball

 Friday, September 14------One of the most controversial films of the Festival, Alan Ball's feature directorial debut, NOTHING IS PRIVATE has been acquired for $1.25 million by Warner Independent and Netflix offshoot Red Envelope. This is the first directorial effort of Alan Ball, the Oscar-winning writer of AMERICAN BEAUTY and the creator of the HBO series SIX FEET UNDER. The film has been considered a hot potato due to its unflinching portrayal of the often painful sexual awakening of a young...

Final Galas Premiere In Toronto

 Friday, September 14----------As the Toronto International Film Festival enters its final weekend, it has saved some of its choicest Gala Films for last. The Red Carpet arrivals continue tonight and tomorrow evening, with such luminaries as Shirley MacLaine, Max Von Sydow, Susan Sarandon, Christopher Plummer, Brenda Fricker and Sir Richard Attenborough expected the walk the walk. Set against wars both between nations and within hearts, CLOSING THE RING is an intimate epic, the latest work of ...

Biz Buzz: More Deals Announced

 Thursday, September 13---------As the Toronto International Film Festival moves into its final weekend, more distribution deals were announced. While the film trades have dubbed this session a little underwhelming in terms of acquisitions, expect news to trickle out in the coming weeks. As one film buyer I talked to said: "With the marketplace so difficult for international films and documentaries doing less than last year, it is difficult to fall under the pressure to pick up something a...

European Film Masters Reveal Their Latest Masterworks

 Thursday, September 13---------In a Toronto Film Festival, at over 350 films, a tale of hit or miss (how could it be anything else?), some of the most satisfying and resonant films come not from the new young turks, but from the old masters. Several of Europe's finest filmmakers have shown their latest masterworks here in the past week. It is interesting to consider that most of these films may not make a big splash in the theatrical distribution market (a far cry from some of these masters' e...

Gael Garcia Bernal Makes Directorial Debut

 Wednesday, September 13---------Mexican hearthrob Gael Garcia Bernal (AMORES PORRES, Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN, THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES) has made his directorial debut, which is getting it s North American premeire here at the Toronto International Film Festival (after bowing at the Cannes Film Festival). DEFICIT is a low-budget drama that focuses on class differences in Mexico. The story is an adaptation of an episode of "Ruta 32," a series that his production company Canana Films has be...

Iraq Veteran Documentary Bows On September 11th

 Tuesday, September 11----------The sixth anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon provided an auspicious landscape for the debut of the new Iraq documentary BODY OF WAR here at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film tells the stirring tale of Tomas Young, a wounded Iraq war veteran who has become a powerfully effective anti-war activist. The film is co-directed by Ellen Spiro (GREETINGS FROM OUT HERE) and former talk show personality Phil Donahue., wi...

Telefilm Canada Pitch This! Winners

 Tuesday, September 11--------The winners of the Telefilm Canada Pitch This! competition have been announced. Producers Jim Goodall and Paul Lenart have been selected as the winners, with a cash award of $10,000 to go toward the development of their project., GIANTLAND, a unique animated feature, using puppetry and CGI, about two kids who fall into a sink and enter a fantasy land of giants. Telefilm Canada Pitch This! took place earlier today at the Sutton Place Hotel , where six final appl...

More Stars Then There Are In Heaven

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Tuesday, September 11----------The stars are shining brightly in Toronto, and I don't mean up in the stratosphere. These celestial bodies are closer to the ground, and emanate the same kind of light. As they used to say in Hollywood, more stars then there are in heaven.............

Toronto Party Central

 Monday, September 10---------Toronto, like any major film festival on the circuit, is as much about the parties as it is the films. Parties are, after all, the place to meet up and schmooze, seen and be seen, and, one might argue, are the perks after a day of slogging between screening rooms. While it is physically impossible to attend every event  (or even get an invitation to them all), I try and do my share.    The US distributors give some of this town's most stellar soirees, with outs...

John Sayles Film To Open Independent Film Week in New York

Monday, September 10----------HONEYDRIPPER, the latest film from indie icon John Sayles that is having its world premiere this evening in Toronto, will be the Opening Night Film of Independent Film Week, the annual celebration of American Independent Cinema sponsored by the Independent Feature Project (IFP). The jam-packed event includes the public FILMMAKER CONFERENCE, featuring a host of fun and informative panels and screenings; the prestigious 29th IFP MARKET for industry professionals; ...

One Hundred Years of Chinese Hollywood

 Monday, September 10--------In the delightfully entertaining and historically significant new documentary HOLLYWOOD CHINESE, documentarian Arthur Dong has filled in an essential gap in the history of Hollywood.....charting  the influence of Chinese and Chinese-American actors and technicians to the magic of the dream factory. The film is a quite ambitious history lesson that mixes both artistic contributions by well-known and unsung heros and heroines, while attempting to understand the bas...

Biz Buzz: Distribution Deals Heat Up

Sunday, September 9-----Sales of Toronto International Film Festival titles are heating up, generating much excitement and hopes for other announcements in the days to come. BEFORE I FORGET (Avant Que J'Oublie), the newest film from French director Jacques Nolot, has been acquired by Strand Releasing, the specialty arthouse distributor. The film is screening in the Contemporary World Cinema section here, after world premiering at the Cannes Film Festival at the Directors Fortnight. In the film, ...

Venice Film Festival Winners Are Here In Toronto

 Sunday, September 9---------If one missed them at the Venice Film Festival, the major winners of that Festival on the Lido (announced last evening) are playing here in Toronto. As part of the roundelay that has become the Fall Festival circuit, buyers, programmers and the press can pick up on films they have missed by simply waiting for another turn of the merry-go-round. If not Venice, then Toronto. If not Toronto, then New York. If not New York, then San Sebastian.. So for those who have st...

Biz Buzz: First Distributor Pick Ups of the Festival

 Saturday, September 8----------The first two distribution pick ups have been revealed here at the Toronto International Film Festival, as the town has become overrun by film buyers and sellers from all over the globe.  IFC Entertainment confirmed a deal for the Icelandic thriller JAR CITY by edgy director Baltasar Kormakur. The graphic film follows an aging police detective as he becomes embroiled in a messy murder and the secrets and lies that go back over three decades. JAR CITY, which has ...

The Fog Of The Iraq War

 Friday, September 7--------September is a month of decision for the US policy in Iraq. Next week, General Petraeus, the head army honcho supervising the "surge" of additional troops on the ground in Iraq, will make his long awaited report to the US Congress about the state of the War. As has been noted in newspapers and on television programs both in the US and around the world, the patience of the American people is at its breaking point, and politicians from both the opposition and...

Film In Focus: FUGITIVE PIECES

 Friday, September 7--------FUGITIVE PIECES, the latest film from Toronto-based filmmaker Jeremy Podeswa, had its world premiere last evening at two back-to-back gala screenings as the Opening Night attraction of the Toronto International Film Festival. Clearly a labor of love, the film is based on the award-winning international bestseller by Canadian author Anne Michaels (with the script adapted by Podeswa). The film is one of the high profile films of newly formed Maximum Films, the new dist...

Toronto FF Opens Tonight With Local Talent

 Thursday, September 6-----------The build up is finally over.....the 31st edition of the Toronto International Film Festival officially opens this evening, with the world premiere screening of FUGITIVE PIECES, the latest film from local boy Jeremy Podeswa. Based on the international best-seller by Canadian author Anne Michaels, the film will make its bow at the beautifully restored historic  Elgin Theater in downtown Toronto's theater district. Expect the cultural, political and business mukk...

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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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