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Toronto International Film Festival

Billie Dee Williams, artist, actor, swash buckling Lando Calrissian chats with The Wine Ladies

Billy Dee Williams the critically acclaimed actor having starred in over 100 films and immediately recognized for his role as the dashingly handsome Lando Calrission in the Star Wars EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and RETURN OF THE JEDI chats with The Wine Ladies. Rediscovering and sharing his passion for the paint brush we spoke with Billy Dee at Liss Gallery  in Toronto, learned of his philosophy of painting and enjoyed a first hand view of his gallery exhibition. Billy’s painting...

The Global Film Village: A New Voice at the RedCat’s New Original Work’s Festival by Marla Lewin

The Toronto International Film Festival has announced that they will be featuring a special section dedicated to multi-media performance this year. The RedCat’s NOW Festival in Los Angeles focused on eight original works, all but one by women, and the results assure us that women have a role as artists in this century. Isadora Duncan would be proud to see the mix of dance, music, image, and all of the seven arts brought together into one presentation fully realized as she envisioned. Go girl...

Big Mike Craft's Saratoga Film Festival

I have decided to innitiate a New Film Festival for New York State. The Saratoga Film Festival is now officially scheduled to screen from August 26th, to August 30th, 2009 , in beautiful Saratoga Springs, New York. The Racing Capital of The World in August. The oldest race track in the United States, brings all the Holloywood, Las Vegas, and New york film stars every year. The Broadway stars flock to the track, and enjoy the night life that is found in a gambling resort town. There are 50 resta...

A Festival of Discoveries

  Sunday, September 14-------For the first time in the past few years, the Toronto International Film Festival will be best remembered for its discoveries, rather than the bigger-budget entries that graced the Galas. Many of those films were critical and industry disappointments (including The Burning Plain, The Third Man, Miracle of St. Anna, The Brothers Bloom, Pride And Glory, The Duchess and several others). Of course, they delivered the necessary stardust that has now become de rigeu...

Toronto Film Festival Closes With Awards Announcements

 Saturday, September 13------The Toronto International Film Festival came to a close today with the announcements of various awards. Although Toronto does not have an official competition section (positioning itself as a "public festival"), positive critical praise, strong industry reaction and awards from the discerning Toronto public are important components for the life of the films that have risen to the top at this important event. With ceremonies held at the Awards Reception at ...

Little Oscar Buzz At Toronto This Year

 Friday, September 12--------This year, Oscar didn't come to Toronto. Since the Academy Awards calendar was shortened in 2003, Toronto loomed large as the place to premiere Oscar contenders for the end-of-year awards season.In the past few years, films such as Atonement, No Country For Old Men and Last King of Scotland began their Oscar trajectories in Toronto.  Many of the Galas here, which have contained some past awards successes, have been poorly received (including The Burning Plain, T...

Che Finds A Home With IFC Films

Friday, September 12-------Che, the 4 1/2 hour epic on the life of revolutionary Che Guevera, has been acquired for all North American rights by IFC Films. The film, directed by Steven Soderbergh, had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, where the film's lead Benicio del Toro won the Best Actor prize. It screened this past week at the Toronto International Film Festival and will be screening next at the New York Film Festival. Che gives IFC Films a strong contender for end-of-the-ye...

A Toronto Memory Of 9-11

Thursday, September 11--------For those of us whose memories of the events of 9-11 coincided with the Toronto International Film Festival, there are moments that forever link those great metropolitan cities. I was indeed in Toronto for my final days of the Festival in 2001.I can remember the exact moment when I first heard about a plane crashing into one of the towers of the World Trade Center. I was in a taxicab with my colleague Malo Girod de l'Ain (whose company M21 Editions hosts both this ...

Remembering September 11, 2001

Thursday, September 11--------For those of us whose memories of the events of 9-11 coincided with the Toronto International Film Festival, there are moments that forever link those great metropolitan cities. I was indeed in Toronto for my final days of the Festival in 2001.I can remember the exact moment when I first heard about a plane crashing into one of the towers of the World Trade Center. I was in a taxicab with my colleague Malo Girod de l'Ain (whose company M21 Editions hosts both this ...

Paris Hilton Mania Hits Toronto

 Wednesday, September 10-------The question lingered.....would Paris Hilton show up or not show up for the red carpet premiere of the film PARIS, NOT FRANCE. Hilton has been vocally critical of the documentary and even tried to shut down public showings of the film. But even Paris Hilton could not resist the celebrity draw of Paris Hilton, so the blond babe (who is famous for being famous, and not for any particular talent) basked in the glow of the attention that the film stirred among the To...

British Films Make A Mark In Toronto

Wednesday, September 10-----After a very quiet Cannes for the British film industry, there are 25 British films (a mix of shorts, documentaries and features) being presented in Toronto this week. The films range from the big-budget (Saul Dibb's The Duchess, starring Keira Knightley and Richard Eyre's tale of l'amour fou The Other Man, starring Liam Neeson, Laura Linney and Antonio Banderas) to the aggressively independent (including Slumdog Millionaire by Danny Boyle, Is There Anybody There? by ...

TIFF Market Watch

Tuesday, September 9-------"It's the quietest Toronto Film Festival that I can remember", one prominent distributor commented to me yesterday. But despite the indie sector being in a cautious mood, a number of Toronto films have announced major distribution deals.Less than 24 hours after it won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, Darren Aronofsky's drama The Wrestler has been picked up for U.S. distribution by Fox Searchlight, the specialty division of 20th Century Fox (the...

Goodbye Solo Wins Venice FIPRESCI Prize

 Monday, September 8--------Goodbye Solo, the latest film from New York writer/director Ramin Bahrani, has won the prestigious FIPRESCI International Critics Prize at the Venice Film Festival, which just concluded this past weekend. The film makes its North American debut this evening at the Toronto International Film Festival.I caught the press screening of the film yesterday, and I will go out on a limb and say that this is one of the best and most emotionally deep films of the Festival. Mixi...

Toronto Party Hopping, Part Deux

 Monday, September 8------I know, I my last piece I stated that a high-minded journalist like myself was more interested in seeing films than going to parties, but on Sunday evening, as I did the evening before, I found myself party hopping yet again. It is difficult to resist.....publicists for the films or the party venues lavish you with invitations, entice you with all the food you can gobble up and all the liquor you can consume. And you say to yourself....well, it's all about ...

Toronto Film Festival Party Hopping

 Sunday, September 7------Let me make this one point perfectly clear.....I come to a film festival to see films, network with professionals, experience the host city and then (and only then) do the party circuit. While I am as much of a fan of passed hors d'oeuvres as any sane person can be, I don't think of festivals as one long party romp. But on the occasional evening I do give into temptation and do a roundelay of party events, to see and be seen, to feed and be fed, to drink and to be drun...

Canadian Film Centre Holds Its Annual Toronto BBQ

 Sunday, September 7-------Although low clouds hover over Toronto this morning, the sun should be out by later this afternoon when the Canadian Film Centre hosts its annual CFC BBQ, a Toronto highlight for local and visiting filmmakers and professionals.Held on the picturesque grounds of Windfields Estate about 20 miles outside of town, the CFC and its founder director Norman Jewison will be welcoming a who's who of Canadian and international filmmaking talent, as CFC celebrates its 20th annive...

Toronto Film Festival Facts And Figures

Saturday, September 6-------The facts and figures of this year's  Toronto International Film Festival go something like this: 312 films from 64 countries, including 249 feature-length films, 76 per cent of which are world, international or North American premieres, and 61 of which are feature directorial debuts. Aside from close to 1500 international members of the press and the film industry, the Festival is also welcoming over 500 international stars and special guests on the red carpet. T...

Producer Award To Canadian Rob Merilees

Friday, September 5------The Canadian Film and Television Production Association announced yesterday that Canadian producer Rob Merilees is the recipient of the third annual CFTPA Producer’s Award. The award includes a cash prize of $10,000 CAD and was presented at the 5th Elementt Restaurant (The Match Club) at the opening of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) .Merilees’ most recent project, Stone of Destiny, is already drawing high praise and was selected to make its North A...

TIFF Market Watch: SERBIS

Friday, September 5--------One of the first announcements of a US distribution deal was made today, on the first day of full out screenings here at the Toronto International Film Festival. Regent Releasing, a leading independent U.S. distributor, announcedthat it has acquired North American distribution rights to Serbis (Service), the new film from acclaimed Filipino filmmaker Brillante Mendoza.  Regent acquired the film from international sales agent Fortissimo Films and will distribute Ser...

Spotlight On Canadian Films

 Thursday, September 4-------Following the lead of the selection of a Canadian film to open the Festival this evening (the World War I epic Passchendale by Paul Gross), the Toronto International Film Festival has laced all of its program strands with some highly anticipated local films. This is not only critical for the Toronto audiences but for the cadre of international film buyers and programmers who have descended on the city to discover, among other things, the next Canadian film gem.Five ...


 Thursday, September 4------With more than 265 films from over 50 countries around the world screening at this year's event, the Toronto International Film Festival could have its pick of whatever film from whatever country it wanted for its opening slot (unless Venice had it first). But the Festival understands the importance of reserving its Opening Night Gala for homegrown talent, and as it has done for the past several years, the Festival opener is an indeed a Canadian film.One of the mos...


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