Toronto: No Festival Pressers for Canadian Films as Local Talent Bypass Global Press Corps

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'The Magnificent Seven' cast

The low-key Canucks are sticking to local press junket interviews, leaving a Bell Lightbox grilling to studio pics like 'The Magnificent Seven' and 'Arrival.'

Conspicuously absent from the list of official press conferences at the Toronto International Film Festival this year are homegrown Canadian films.

The nine moderated and live-streamed press conferences on tap for 2016 include the star-driven cast and directors for The Magnificent Seven, American Pastoral and Arrival, directed by Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve, among other high-profile titles.

That leaves no local movies passing through the Canadian festival's Bell Lightbox venue for a critical grilling by the international media after the creative talent preens in front of clicking paparazzi. Low-key Canadians will instead do press junket interviews at the nearby Intercontinental Hotel on Front Street with TV entertainment magazine shows like eTalk and ET Canada and throw some local print queries into the mix to promote their wares.

Morley Nirenberg, executive producer of eTalk, a weekday TV entertainment magazine show, said covering the Canadians coming through the Intercontinental lounge complements the broadcaster's equal focus on Hollywood A-listers dominating the spotlight in Toronto this week.

"We want to celebrate the Canadians side-by-side with the Americans," he told The Hollywood Reporter. This year's Canadian lineup at TIFF includes three homegrown movies that bowed in Cannes: Xavier Dolan's It's Only the End of the World, starring Marion Cotillard; the Bill Paxton and Colm Feore-starring teen thriller Mean Dreams from director Nathan Morlando; and War Witch director Kim Nguyen's Two Lovers and a Bear, which stars Tatiana Maslany and Dane DeHaan.

Toronto fest organizers had no comment when asked about Canadian filmmakers bypassing Bell Lightbox pressers, as did ACTRA, the country's actors union, which has long called for a homegrown star system to help deal with the Hollywood movie machine at the Toronto fest.

But Sholeh Fabbri, executive producer of ET Canada, welcomed the stream of Canadian directors and cast coming through their lounge at the Intercontinental. "Our show was built on showcasing great Canadian talent, and I think it's important to celebrate their achievements," Fabbri told THR.

The Toronto International Film Festival continues through Sept. 18.

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