TORONTO – British director Paul Andrew Williams’ Song for Marion will close the 37th Toronto International Film Festival at Roy Thomson Hall, where Peter Webber’s Emperor and What Maisie Knew, by Scott McGhee and David Siegel, will also receive gala treatment next month.
Besides those three world premieres, Toronto booked another five world bows for the latest films by Nick Cassavates, Dante Ariola, Yvan Attal, Dan Algrant and Bahman Ghobadi as it unveiled 18 films for its Special Presentations sidebar, and a slew of titles for the Contemporary World Cinema program.
Song for Marion, about a grumpy and lonely 72-year-old man who joins an unconventional choir to learn about life, stars Terence Stamp, Vanessa Redgrave and Gemma Arterton.
The Weinstein Company already snapped up the U.S. rights to Williams’ comedic drama as it bets the Toronto launch will lift the film to Oscar hopeful heights reached by previous British fare like The Full Monty and Shakespeare in Love.
Toronto earlier announced that U.S. director Rian Johnson‘s futuristic thriller Looper will open the festival on September 6.
Also getting gala treatment is Webber’s post-Second World War epic Emperor, which features Tommy Lee Jones as General Douglas MacArthur, and What Maisie Knew, an adaptation of the Henry James novella that stars Julianne Moore, Joanna Vanderham and Onata Aprile.
Elsewhere, 18 Special Presentations titles were unveiled Tuesday, including Dante Ariola’s golf comedy Arthur Newman, which stars Colin Firth, Anne Heche and Emily Blunt; French director Yvan Attal’s Do Not Disturb, toplined by Francois Cluzet and Charlotte Gainsbourg; and Dan Algrant’s Greetings from Tim Buckley, starring Imogen Poots and Penn Badgley.
And there’s world bows for Bahman Ghobadi’s Monica Bellucci-starrer Rhino Season, and Nick Cassavetes’ dark comedy Yellow, featuring Sienna Miller, Gena Rowlands, Melanie Griffith and Ray Liotta.
The list of North American premieres in the Special Presentations sidebar to first bow on the Venice Lido includes Spike Lee’s Michael Jackson documentary Bad 25, Henry Alex Rubin’s Disconnect, Susanne Bier’s Love is All You Need, Valeria Sarmiento’s Lines of Wellington and Brian De Palma’s thriller Passion.
Also set to cross from Venice to Toronto for the Special Presentations sidebar is Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers, starring Selena Gomez and James Franco, to screen in competition, and Daniele Cipri’s drama The Son Did It.
And there are also North America bows for Walter Salles’ On the Road, based on the Jack Kerouac novel; Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master; Lee Daniels’ The Paperboy, which stars Matthew McConaughey and Nicole Kidman; and international premieres for Patrice Leconte’s The Suicide Shop and Claude Miller’s Therese Desqueyroux, starring Audrey Tautou.
And global titles to feature as part of the Contemporary World Cinema sidebar include world premieres for the latest films by Sara Johnsen, Kasia Roslaniec, Edward Burns, Sion Sono, Robert Connolly and Licinio Azevedo.
There’s world debuts for Johnsen’s Norwegian drama All That Matters is Past; Roslaniec’s Baby Blues, from Poland; Burns’ The Fitzgerald Family Christmas, starring Ed Lauter; Sono’s The Land of Hope, from Japan; Connolly’s Underground, starring Anthony LaPaglia and Rachel Griffiths; and Azevedo’s Mozambique drama Virgin Margarida.
Other world bows for international titles include, from Korea, Jo Sung-hee’s A Werewolf Boy and Yikwan Kang’s Juvenile Offender; Yuki Tanada’s The Cowards Who Looked to the Sky; Chinese director Peng Tao’s The Cremator; the Israeli film Eagles, by Dror Sabo; Spanish director Jorge Torregrossa’s The End; and the 18th-century period drama God Loves Caviar, by Greek director Iannis Smaragdis.
There are more world premieres in Toronto for Carlos Sorin’s Gone Fishing, which is going on to compete in San Sebastian; Zeze Gamboa’s The Great Kilapy, an Angolan independence drama; Czech director Jan Hrebejk’s The Holy Quarternith; Andrzej Jakimowski’s Imagine; Vietnamese director Luu Huynh’s In The Name of Love; Marcelo Gomes’ Once Upon a Time Was I, Veronica; and British director John Akomfrah’s Perepeteia.
The Contemporary World Cinema sidebar is also giving an international premiere to Mika Kaurismaki’s Road North; Ava DuVernay’s Middle of Nowhere, which won the best director trophy at Sundance; Jun Robles Lana’s Bwakaw, from the Philippines; Javier Ruiz Caldera’s Ghost Graduation; Kieron Walsh’s Jump; Antoinette Beumer’s Jackie; and Australian director Tony Krawitz’s Dead Europe.
And Toronto booked North American premieres following Venice for director Tobias Lindholm’s A Hijacking; Chinese director Li Ruijun’s Fly With the Crane; the 270-minute epic Penance, from Japan’s Kiyoshi Kurosawa; and Thy Womb, by the Filipino director Brillante Mendoza.
Other North American bows include those for Pablo Stoll Ward’s 3; Christian Petzold’s Barbara; Julio Hernandez Cordon’s Dust; Him, Here, After, by Asoka Handagama from Sri Lanka; and Bence Fliegauf’s Just The Wind.
The Toronto International Film Festival, which is set to run September 6-16, will make additional lineup announcements in the coming weeks.