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TORONTO — The Toronto International Film Festival has long provided a doorstep to the Oscars for Hollywood A-listers. Now TIFF is to groom Canadian actors for box-office stardom and award season glory.
At first glance, turning Canadian film culture into a star-making machine is no easy pivot for an industry that has long carried water for Americans as it helps Hollywood conquer the global entertainment market.
“Filmmaking in Canada has resisted a star system, yet many Canadian actors have gone on to enormous global success,” festival co-director Cameron Bailey said Friday.
Bailey wants to change that by unveiling Rising Stars, which aims to discover Canada’s most promising actors for international acclaim by giving them the professional tools and contacts they need to break out.
Finding Canada’s next break-out Hollywood stars, from Donald Sutherland and Mike Myers to Jim Carrey and Ellen Page, has long started with a tour of the major studios in Los Angeles. Toronto will bring that talent hunt closer to home by creating an assembly line at TIFF for ready-made Canadian celebrities.
Four Canadian actors considered ripe for international break-out success will be anointed each September at TIFF, while being mentored by local industry professionals. “We want to see a film culture where Canadian actors work both at home and abroad,” Karen Bruce, director of Canadian Initiatives at TIFF said.
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