Toronto gets Special with Hunt, Auburn helming bows

Sidebar will premiere Sayles' film

The Toronto International Film Festival said Thursday that its Special Presentations sidebar will host the directorial debuts of Helen Hunt and screenwriter David Auburn as well as the world premieres for the latest works by helmers John Sayles and Craig Gillespie.

The Toronto festival is set to run Sept. 6-15.

Auburn's "The Girl in the Park " is a psychological drama that centers on a mother (Sigourney Weaver) who is traumatized by the disappearance of her 3-year-old daughter. The film also stars Alessandro Nivola, David Rasche, Elias Koteas and Keri Russell.

Sayles' contribution is "Honeydripper," an Emerging Pictures release for late 2007 that stars Danny Glover as a down-on-his-luck owner of an Alabama juke joint who enlists a guitar-playing drifter (newcomer Gary Clark Jr.) to help save his club.

Gillespie's offering is "Lars and the Real Girl," a comedy about a shy Midwestern office worker (Ryan Gosling) who meets the girl of his dreams: a made-to-order, life-size doll. The comedy, from writer Nancy Oliver ("Six Feet Under"), also stars Emily Mortimer, Paul Schneider, Kelli Garner and Patricia Clarkson. It is set for a fall release by MGM.

Hunt's directorial debut is "Then She Found Me," a drama about a talk-show host (Bette Midler) who bullies her way into the life of a daughter (Hunt) she gave up for adoption years before. The film, based on Elinor Lipman's first novel, also stars Matthew Broderick and Colin Firth.

Rounding out the additions is the international premiere of "Romulus, My Father," from Australian actor-turned-director Richard Roxburgh. Eric Bana plays the part of Romulus, who along with wife, Christina (Franka Potente), attempts to raise a son in the face of adversity.