TORONTO — The world premiere of Wayne Beach’s action thriller “Slow Burn” joined the slate of the Toronto Film Festival on Tuesday.
Beach’s helming debut stars Ray Liotta, Jolene Blalock, LL Cool J, Taye Diggs, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Mekhi Phifer. Liotta plays a district attorney who has until dawn to solve a murder or be implicated in it himself.
Lee Daniels also returns to the festival with his directorial debut, the world preeming “Shadowboxer,” starring Helen Mirren and Cuba Gooding Jr. as contract killers. Daniels produced “Monster’s Ball” and “The Woodsman.”
“Slow Burn” is a special presentation, and “Shadowboxer” is part of the contemporary world cinema program.
Festival programmers have dropped the decade-old Planet Africa program and will program films relevant to Africa and the African Diaspora elsewhere in the fest.
As with the Asian Horizons program, Latin American Panorama and Perspectives Canada, Planet Africa was set up to give a particular genre of films an extra push, noted international programmer and Planet Africa founder Cameron Bailey. Once the job was done, the programs were wound down.
“We also got some ambivalent response from filmmakers; they wanted out into the mix with the rest of the festival,” he added. “The same thing happened with Perspective Canada, so in the end we decided to fold those films in.”
The number of films showcasing African cinema, about 10, will remain the same.
Other titles unveiled Tuesday were the world preem of the Cameroon/France co-production “Les Saignantes,” an erotic sci-fi thriller from writer-director Jean-Pierre Bekolo (“Quartier Mozart”) that will be part of the Visions lineup; “Conversations on a Sunday Afternoon,” the first feature from South African documaker Khalo Matabane; and also from South Africa, the North American preem of “Tsotsi,” from Gavin Hood. Based on the novel by Athol Fugard and tracing six days in the life of a young gang leader, “Tsotsi” also will screen as part of the contemporary world cinema program.
They join the previously announced “U-Carmen e-Khayelitsha,” the South African film from Mark Dornford-May based on the opera “Carmen” performed in the South African language of Xhosa. Pic recently won the Golden Bear award in Berlin.