New films from David Hare, Joel Schumacher, Lynn Shelton and Juan Carlos Fresnadillo are among the final batch of titles set to premiere at the Toronto Film Festival next month, with Nicole Kidman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jennifer Hudson, Jason Statham and Clive Owen among the onscreen talent.
As buyers and cinephiles await the unveiling of the Telluride program on Sept. 1, Toronto’s final program announcement points up the increased push throughout the indie business for commercially minded titles.
Toronto Gala titles like Marc Forster’s Gerard Butler starrer “Machine Gun Preacher,” picked up by Relativity, and Gary McKendry’s special-ops actioner “Killer Elite,” snapped up by fledgling distrib Open Road in Cannes for the U.S., are prime examples of the kind of mid-budget films that are in demand.
Bizzers heading to Toronto are looking to finance and acquire commercial titles to fill in the gaps left by the studio focus on tentpoles and a riskier arthouse market, said several execs.
Marquee talent is key: Schumacher’s “Trespass,” a home-invasion chiller with Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman; Nick Murphy’s psychological horror thriller “The Awakening,” with Dominic West; and previously announced Toronto screener “Drive,” with Ryan Gosling, feature prominently on the fest’s roster.
(Venice’s lineup reflects a similar drive, with William Friedkin’s “Killer Joe,” starring Matthew McConaughey as a cop turned hitman, and serial-killer thriller “Texas Killing Fields,” helmed by Ami Canaan Mann, offering plenty of action.)
Toronto will close with a title made for British TV: writer-helmer Hare’s modern spy thriller “Page Eight,” starring Bill Nighy, Rachel Weisz and Ralph Fiennes.
Other Toronto Gala titles announced Tuesday include the world preem of “Hysteria,” Tanya Wexler’s comedy about the invention of the vibrator, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Hugh Dancy; Darrell J. Roodt’s “Winnie,” starring Jennifer Hudson as Winnie Mandela; and Christophe Honore’s “Beloved,” receiving its international preem.
The Special Presentations section has added eight world preems, including Anne Fontaine’s “My Worst Nightmare,” Ian Fitzgibbon’s “Death of a Superhero,” Gianni Amelio’s “The First Man,” Agnieszka Holland’s “In Darkness,” Fresnadillo’s “Intruders,” Pankaj Kapur’s “Seasons of Love,” Mathieu Kassovitz’s “Rebellion” and Geoffrey Fletcher’s “Violet and Daisy.”
U.S. titles world preeming in Contemporary World Cinema include “Your Sister’s Sister,” from “Humpday” director Shelton; Mira Sorvino starrer “Union Square,” the first film in several years from “True Love” helmer Nancy Savoca; and Bryan Wizemann’s “Think of Me.”
The global cinema program also world preems Ridha Behi’s “Always Brando,” Joao Canijo’s “Blood of My Blood,” Maggie Peren’s “Color of the Ocean,” Faouzi Bensaidi’s “Death for Sale,” Nacho Vigalondo’s “Extraterrestrial,” Ozcan Alper’s “Future Lasts Forever,” Jose Henrique Fonseca’s “Heleno,” Stefano Chiantini’s “Islands,” Alejandro Brugues’ “Juan of the Dead,” Christophe Van Rompaey’s “Lena,” Avie Luthra’s “Lucky,” Akin Omotoso’s “Man on the Ground,” Ribhu Dasgupta’s “Michael,” Mohamed Asli’s “Rough Hands” and Xiaolu Guo’s “UFO in her Eyes.”
Visions’ 18 boundary-pushing titles include the world preems of Matias Meyer’s “The Last Christeros,” Toshiako Toyoda’s “Monsters Club” and Joaquim Sapinho’s “This Side of Resurrection.”
The fest’s Wavelengths present five programs of experimental film and video work, such as Tacita Dean’s portrait of the late Cy Twombly, “Edwin Parker”; “Empire,” a new work from Palme d’Or winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul; Ben Rivers’ Balouis Art Prize winner “Sack Barrow”; James Benning’s “Twenty Cigarettes”; and Mark Lewis’ “Black Mirror at the National Gallery.”
Future Projections, the fest’s city-wide program of moving-image art, will unleash the world preems of James Franco and Gus Van Sant’s collaborative “Memories of Idaho (1991, 2010 and 2011)”; multiple projects by Mr. Brainwash (aka Thierry Guetta), the self-styled artist from “Exit Through the Gift Shop”; Peter Lynch’s “Buffalo Days”; Nicholas and Sheila Pye’s “Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board”; and David Rokeby’s “Plot Against Time”; and Elle Flanders and Tamira Sawatsky’s “Road Movie.”
The Toronto Film Festival runs Sept. 8-18.
(Dave McNary contributed to this report.)