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Toronto Intl. Film Festival Unveils First Batch of Films

Fest kicks off Sept. 5

Bill Condon’s biopic thriller “The Fifth Estate,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, will open the Toronto Intl. Film Festival on Sept. 5.

“Information is the most potent currency of out time and we’ve found a film that charts just how volatile it can be,” said festival artistic director Cameron Bailey about the world-preeming DreamWorks pic, which co-stars Daniel Bruhl, David Thewlis, Stanley Tucci and Laura Linney.

Daniel Schechter’s Detroit-set kidnap thriller “Life of Crime,” starring John Hawkes, Mos Def, Tim Robbins and Jennifer Aniston, will world-preem in the closing-night slot.

The festival unveiled its first batch of 73 titles — a mix of awards-season contenders, international and arthouse fare, festival faves and several thesp-helmed pics — screening in its Gala and Special Presentations programs this September.

World-preeming Gala titles announced July 23 include John Wells’ star-studded adaptation of Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play “August: Osage County” (TWC), starring Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep and Benedict Cumberbatch; Jonathan Teplitzky’s “The Railway Man,” starring Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman and Stellan Skarsgard, about a Brit soldier tortured in a Japanese POW camp during WWII, who travels to find his captor years later; Joel Hopkins’ “The Love Punch,” about a divorced couple (Pierce Brosnan, Emma Thompson) plotting to recover their stolen retirement money; and Justin Chadwick’s “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” (TWC), based on the South African leader’s autobiography, starring Idris Elba and Naomie Harris.

SEE ALSO: Gibney Details Assange and Manning’s Transformations in Wikileaks Doc

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Canuck pics world-preeming on the Gala screen include Jonathan Sobol’s crime caper “The Art of the Steal,” starring Jay Baruchel, Kurt Russell and Matt Dillon; Don McKellar’s “The Grand Seduction” (the English-language remake of Quebec comedy “Seducing Doctor Lewis”); and Jeremiah Chechik’s comedy “The Right Kind of Wrong,” starring Ryan Kwanten (“True Blood”) as a dishwasher who falls in love with a woman on her wedding day.

And Toronto-raised Mike Myers makes his docu-helming bow with the Gala world preem of “Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon,” about the ground-breaking talent manager whom Myers recently described as “a perfect combination of Brian Epstein, Marshall McLuhan and Mr. Magoo.”

Other Gala pics announced July 23 include Ron Howard’s “Rush” (Universal), John Krokidas’ “Kill Your Darlings” (SPC), Ritesh Batra’s “The Lunchbox” (SPC), Cho Ui-seok and Kim Byung-seo’s Korean box office hit “Cold Eyes,” Maneesh Sharma’s “Shuddh Desi Romance,” Peter Landesman’s “Parkland,” and Peter Ho-Sun Chan’s “American Dreams in China.”

SEE ALSO: ‘Visitors’ to Premiere at Toronto Film Festival

Three reality-based U.S. films world-preem in Special Presentations: Jean-Marc Vallee’s “Dallas Buyers Club” (Focus) starring Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner, about an HIV-positive Texas electrician’s battle with pharmaceutical companies in the late 1980s; Atom Egoyan’s biographical drama “Devil’s Knot,” based on the book of the same name about the West Memphis Three, and starring Reese Witherspoon, Colin Firth and Kevin Durand; and “One Chance” (TWC), David Frankel’s biographical comedy starring James Corden as Brit reality-TV singing star Paul Potts.

Other U.S. pics world-preeming in the program include: Jason Reitman’s “Labor Day” (Paramount), in which a depressed single mom (Kate Winslet) and her son offer a mysterious wounded man (Josh Brolin) a ride in their car; Jason Bateman’s helming bow “Bad Words,” a comedy about a sore loser who uses a loophole to enter a national spelling for kids; “Mad Men” multihyphenate Matthew Weiner’s comedy “You Are Here” about a road trip home to snag inheritance money, co-starring Owen Wilson and Zach Galifianakis; and Canadian helmer Denis Villeneuve’s “Prisoners,” a kidnapping drama starring Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano and Melissa Leo.

Paul Haggis’ “Third Person,” following the interrelated stories of three couples in three cities, and Nicole Holofcener’s “Enough Said,” starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus as a soon-to-be empty-nester and James Gandolfini as her new love interest, will world preem in Special Presentations.

“True Grit” thesp Hailee Steinfeld stars alongside Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley in John Carney’s “Can a Song Save Your Life?,” and plays a trickster teen in Liza Johnson’s “Hateship Loveship,” starring Kristen Wiig and Guy Pearce; plus Ned Benson’s two-part “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him and Her,” starring James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain.

Four reality-based U.K. films world-preem in Special Presentation: Amma Asante’s period drama “Belle” (Fox Searchlight), based on the true story of Dido Elizabeth Bell (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), the mixed-race daughter of an 18th-century British naval officer; “The Invisible Woman” (SPC), helmed by Ralph Fiennes, who also stars as Charles Dickens in the story of the author’s affair with a young woman (Felicity Jones); John Ridley’s “All Is by My Side,” based on Jimi Hendrix pre-fame years in London and starring Andre Benjamin; and Steven McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave” (Fox Searchlight) about a free black man captured in New York state and sold into slavery in 1841, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender and Cumberbatch.

Other U.K. pics world-preeming in the program include: Richard Shepard’s black crime comedy “Dom Hemingway” (Fox Searchlight) about a notorious safe-cracker (Jude Law) recently sprung from prison; Richard Ayoade’s “The Double,” starring Jesse Eisenberg as a man driven insane after encountering his doppelganger; Roger Michell’s “Le Week-End” (Music Box), about a married couple attempting to rekindle their marriage in Paris, and starring Jim Broadbent, Lindsay Duncan and Jeff Goldblum; and David Mackenzie’s “Starred Up,” about a violent teen transferred to an adult prison where he meets his father.

Also world-preeming is Biyi Bandele’s “Half of a Yellow Sun,” starring Thandie Newton and Ejiofor, is based on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel and tells the story of young people during the Nigerian-Biafran War.

Other international pics world-preeming in Special Presentation include “Attila Marcel,” the live-action bow of “Triplets of Belleville” helmer Sylvain Chomet; Manuel Martin Cuenca’s “Cannibal”; Bertrand Tavernier’s “Quai d’Orsay”; Pawel Pawlikowski’s “Ida”; Jasmila Zbanic’s “For Those Who Can Tell No Tales”; Nicole Garcia’s “Going Away”; Matthew Saville’s “Felony”; Daniele Luchetti’s “Those Happy Years”; and Martin Provost’s “Violette.”

As announced in May, Godfrey Reggio’s “Visitors” will world preem in Toronto with live accompaniment of the Philip Glass score.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s “Don Jon,” Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity,” David Gordon Green’s “Joe,” Kelly Reichardt’s “Night Moves,” Jim Jarmusch’s “Only Lovers Left Alive,” Jonathan Glazer’s “Under the Skin,” and Keanu Reeves’ “Man of Tai Chi” will screen in Special Presentations.

Abdellatif Kechiche’s Palme d’Or-winning “Blue Is the Warmest Color” (Sundance Selects) joins over a dozen international pics receiving their North American bow in Special Pres. Remaining titles include: Stephen Frears’ “Philomena,” Francois Ozon’s “Young and Beautiful,” Agnieszka Holland’s “Burning Bush,” Caroline Link’s “Exit Marrakech,” John Curran’s “Tracks,” Sebastian Lelio’s “Gloria,” Thomas Imbach’s “Mary, Queen of Scots,” Paolo Sorrentino’s “The Great Beauty,” Gianni Amelio’s “L’intrepido,” Ivan Sen’s “Mystery Road,” Hirokazu Kore-Eda’s “Like Father, Like Son,” Hany Abu-Assad’s “Omar,” Asghar Farhadi’s “The Past,” Erik Skjoldbaerg’s “Pioneer,” Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s “Real,” Andrzej Wajda’s “Walesa Man of Hope,” and Lukas Moodysson’s “We Are the Best!”

The Toronto festl runs Sept. 5 to 15.

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