Toronto books 'Passage' for Discovery


TORONTO -- Mark Heller's Moroccan thriller "The Passage" and David Ross' "The Babysitters" are to unspool next month at the Toronto International Film Festival as part of its Discovery program, organizers said Thursday.

The low-budget "Passage" features Stephen Dorff as an American experiencing a near-fatal forbidden romance in Morocco with a local woman played by Sarai Givaty.

David Ross is making his directorial debut with "The Babysitters," a drama he wrote about a 16-year-old girl (Katherine Waterston) who turns her babysitting service into a call-girl ring for married men after starting an affair with a customer. John Leguizamo, Cynthia Nixon, Denis O'Hare and Andy Comeau round out the cast.

Festival co-director Noah Cowan said both "Passage" and "Babysitters" are certain to strike a chord with buyers in Toronto as will "The World Unseen," a British-South African co-production from Shamim Sarif that stars Lisa Ray ("Water") and is set in 1950's South Africa.

"Among the Discovery films this year, there are films that will introduce the world to some of the most significant talent in cinema over the next 10 years," Cowan said, adding that the sidebar will have art house and commercially minded films for distributors.

In all, the Discovery program added 13 titles Thursday, including Dutch director Tamar van den Dop's "Blind" and two movies from Australia: Ben Hackworth's "Corroboree" and Peter Carstairs' coming-of-age drama "September."

Also joining the Discovery party is "Frozen," from Indian director Shivajee Chandrabhushan; Teona Strugar Mitevska's Macedonian social drama "I Am From Titov Veles"; Spanish director Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego's "King of the Hill"; and Rodrigo Pla's "La Zona," a Spain-Mexico co-production about a botched robbery in an exclusive Mexico City neighbourhood.

Other Discovery bookings include "Cochochi," by Israel Cardenas and Laura Amelia Guzman; Danish actress-turned-director Paprika Steen's "With Your Permission"; and "Roming," from Czech filmmaker Jiri Vejdelek.

The Toronto International Film Festival is set to run Sept. 6-15.