'Pieces' a good fit for Toronto

Holocaust drama will open fest's 32nd outing

The world premiere of "Fugitive Pieces," the latest work from Canadian director Jeremy Podeswa, will launch the Toronto International Film Festival's 32nd edition, organizers said Thursday.

Podeswa's third feature, following "Eclipse" and "The Five Senses," centers on a man haunted by his childhood experiences during the Holocaust who eventually finds solace and love in Toronto.

The drama was shot last year in Greece and Canada at a cost of $9.5 million.

The choice follows the tradition of Toronto selecting a homegrown director to open the festival instead of star-driven Hollywood releases and other high-profile international entries taking center stage.

Last year, Zacharias Kunuk and Norman Cohn's opening-night film, "The Journals of Knud Rasmussen," had a bit of its thunder stolen when projection problems halted the midnight world premiere of Larry Charles' "Borat." Despite the snafu, the Sacha Baron Cohen comedy from 20th Century Fox became the most-hyped movie of Toronto in 2006.

This year, with a host of high-profile Canadian movies available — including Francois Girard's Keira Knightley starrer "Silk" and David Cronenberg's "Eastern Promises," starring Naomi Watts and Viggo Mortensen — it was a bit of a surprise that festival co-directors Noah Cowan and Piers Handling chose a film with no big-name stars for the festival's red-carpet opener.

The cast for the Canada-Greece co-production from Serendipity Point Films includes Stephen Dillane, Nina Dobrev, Rade Sherbedgia, Rosamund Pike, Ayelet Zurer and Robbie Kay.

"From screening his short films, to his first feature 'Eclipse,' to 'The Five Senses,' the festival is proud to have supported Jeremy's career and extraordinary talent over the years," Cowan said, adding that "Fugitive" was a "touching and powerful" film.

"This is a remarkable year for Canadian film, and 'Fugitive Pieces' is a fine example of the strength of our national filmmaking talent," Handling said.

Toronto programmers will make additional lineup announcements in the coming months before the festival's Sept. 6-15 run.