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Thursday night’s ceremonial launch of the 36th Toronto Intl. Film Festival brought a strong sense of history.

With Davis Guggenheim’s U2 documentary “From the Sky Down” as the opening film, TIFF director Cameron Bailey noted that 1976 marked the launch of TIFF and U2.

“We started a film festival, and they started a band,” Bailey told the audience at Roy Thomson Hall.

He also pointed out that “Sky Down” marked the first time that TIFF has opened with a documentary — focused on U2’s struggle in the early 90s to find creative inspiration.

U2 frontman Bono said the band reamins “very protective” of its privacy and the creative process” two decades later.

“Not just because we’re precious — which we are — but just because it’s not that pretty,” he added. ” If you knew what went into sausage you wouldn’t eat it.”

Guggenheim provoked a big laugh in pre-screening remarks when he asked, “Did anyone tell you that it’s a documentary?”