Lineup to include 'Passage,' 'Babysitters'

The Toronto Film Festival’s Discovery program, dedicated to first-time and up-and-coming helmers, will include David Ross’ “The Babysitters” and Mark Heller’s “The Passage” in what fest co-director Noah Cowan described as a fertile year for independent U.S. film.

“The American cinema hasn’t been this intense, political or artistically meaty since the 1970s,” Cowan said Thursday.

“The Babysitters,” the directorial debut from writer Ross (“The Woods”), is the story of a 16-year-old (Katherine Waterston) who transforms her babysitting service into a prostitution ring after she starts an affair with a customer. John Leguizamo and Cynthia Nixon also star.

“The Passage” is the story of a man (Stephen Dorff) who falls in love with a local woman (Sarai Givaty) during a trip to Morocco.

Also premiering are love story “Blind,” a Dutch/Belgian/Bulgarian co-production by Tamar van den Dop; Israel Cardenas and Laura Amelia Guzman’s Mexican/British/Canadian co-production “Cochochi”; Shivajee Chandrabhushan’s “Frozen”; Australian Ben Hackworh’s “Corroboree”; Macedonian Teona Strugar Mitevska’s social drama “I Am From Titov Veles”; Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego’s “King of the Hill”; and break-in drama “La Zona.”

Other pics in the section include Czech helmer Jiri Vejdelek’s “Roming”; Australian Peter Carstairs’ coming-of-age pic “September”; Paprika Steen’s Danish/Swedish dark comedy “With Your Permission”; and British/South African “The World Unseen,” from Shamim Sarif.

Though Discovery features off-the-beaten-track fare from largely unknown directors, Cowan said audience and industry interest remains high for the sidebar.

“For the international industry, it’s important to take note of these movies because these are the filmmakers they’re going to work with down the road,” Cowan said. “If you were at that screening in Toronto and you were the first producer to come and talk to them about making their next movie, that’s a big deal.”

Fest will also introduce Future Projections, a new program of installations and interactive film projects to take place throughout Toronto during the festival, which runs Sept. 6-15.

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