Toronto fest’s Sessions biz confab expands

Panel includes helmers Schumacher, Kopple, Gitai

MONTREAL — Sessions 2000, the Toronto Intl. Film Festival’s biz confab, has expanded its run from two days to six and will have more of an international focus this year, said Kelley Alexander, who runs the festival’s Rogers Industry Center.

Running Sept. 9-14, Sessions 2000 (formerly known as Symposium) includes panels with British producer Jeremy Thomas (“Crash”), Hollywood helmer Joel Schumacher (“Tigerland”), docu helmer Barbara Kopple (“My Generation”) and Israeli director Amos Gitai (“Kippur”).

Move to a six-day conference was made to allow more visiting filmmakers and producers to participate.

The confab is designed to allow helmers, producers and writers to exchange ideas and help cement future partnerships.

“Our goal is to help educate the industry, to increase partnerships between different sectors and give inspiration to filmmakers, because it’s more and more difficult to make films and get them distributed,” said Alexander.

Sessions 2000 will include the second edition of the Mavericks: Film-maker Sessions, a series of industry-only get-togethers with helmers, including Schumacher, Gitai, Kopple, Canuck helmer Guy Maddin and French veteran Agnes Varda.

Global exhib panel

Panels include an examination of global exhibition with Sydney Levine of Film Finders, the Sundance Film Center’s Tom Brueggemann, Tony Cianciotta from Cineplex Odeon, Fine Line Features’ Steven Friedlander and Joseph Peixota of United Cinemas Intl.

Robert Daudelin from La Cinematheque Quebecoise, Sam Kula of the Assn. of Moving Image Archivists and helmer Patricia Rozema (“Mansfield Park”) will be discussing the state of film preservation in another panel.

Other topics on the schedule include European cinema today, aboriginal pics, online filmmaking and Internet film criticism; an additional panel will take a look at the release of two very different pics, Eric Rohmer’s “Autumn Tale” and Jeremy Podeswa’s “The Five Senses.”

Industry players on tap

For the sixth year, the Telefilm Canada Micro-Meetings will enable delegates to interact with key industry players in an intimate setting, including Jason Blum and Amy Israel from Blum Israel Prods.; Norm Bolen, senior veepee of programming at Showcase and History Television; and Naoko Tsukeda, deputy general manager of Japanese production company Pony Canyon.

The keynote address will be delivered by producer Thomas, who will be interviewed by Canadian helmer David Cronenberg. The two filmmakers worked together on “Crash” and “Naked Lunch.”

Alexander said international participation is up this year in terms of registration at the Industry Center, with 700 buyers and sellers expected for the event.

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