Guo Xiaolu doc booked for Toronto

'Once Upon a Time Proletarian' will have N. American bow

TORONTO -- A day after his documentary "She, a Chinese" picked up the Golden Leopard award at Locarno, the Toronto International Film Festival booked Guo Xiaolu's "Once Upon a Time Proletarian: 12 Tales of a Country" for a North American premiere.

The Chinese novelist-director's portrait of intersecting lives in post-Marxist contemporary China will unspool as part of Toronto's Real to Reel sidebar.

"She, a Chinese," Guo's English- and Chinese-language drama about a young girl's uneasy transition from a sleepy village to the nearest town, was earlier booked for Toronto.

TIFF on Tuesday also added to its September lineup documentaries on Disney animation's 1990s rebirth, Holocaust rescuer Ruth Gruber and stranded Algerian refugees.

Veteran Disney producer Don Hahn will receive a world premiere for "Waking Sleeping Beauty," an inside look at how Walt Disney animation produced a string of hits from "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" to "Aladdin" and "The Lion King."

The Real to Reel program will also screen Bob Richman's "Ahead of Time," a portrait of 97-year-old adventurer Ruth Gruber, whose efforts to escort 1,000 Jewish Holocaust survivors to the U.S. was portrayed in the 2001 TV movie "Haven," which starred the late Natasha Richardson.

There are also a world premiere for Icelandic director Fridrik Thor Fridriksson's "The Sunshine Boy," which captures a mother's journey to understand her son's autism, and an international premiere for "Stolen," a film from Australian filmmakers Violeta Ayala and Dan Fallshaw about Saharawi refugees in limbo in Algeria that stirred controversy over allegations of modern slavery when first screened at the Sydney Film Festival.

The festival's Mavericks program also unveils plans for informal talks in Toronto by comic Chris Rock, directors Barry Levinson, Frederick Wiseman and Peter Berg and actor Michael Caine -- all of whom are bringing movies to Toronto.

And film directors Ted Kotcheff, Neil Jordan, Joe Dante and Sook-Yin Lee will participate in the "Dialogues: Talking With Pictures" sidebar, where they talk about movies that inspired their own careers.

As part of its industry program, Toronto also unveiled plans for a one-day documentary conference.

The Toronto International Film Festival is set to run Sept. 10-19.