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TIFF 2011: 54 films announced, including the opening night selection

July 26, 2011

By John C.

This morning, the first press conference of the upcoming 36th Toronto International Film Festival was held down the street from TIFF Bell Lightbox at the Hyatt Regency hotel.  An impressive total of 10 galas and 43 special presentations were announced, as well as the opening night selection for the festival.   The rest of the numerous films being screened are set to be announced every Tuesday morning, until August 23rd.  Please see the complete list of 54 films and purchase advanced tickets here.

As the beautiful TIFF Bell Lightbox opened a few days into the festival last September 12th, this will be the first year with a number of industry events as well as numerous public screenings taking place at the new building.  With comfortable seating, crystal clear projection and pitch perfect sound, the complex is sure to prove the best place to see movies during the festival.  The Princess of Wales theatre has also been announced as one of the ten main venues, which is quite convenient seeing as how it is only a short walk from TIFF Bell Lightbox.

But enough about the venues and onto the films.  For the first time in the 36 year history of the fest, TIFF will be opening with a documentary.  Director Davis Guggenheim’s doc following the Irish rock band U2, From the Sky Down, will open the festival to the public on September 8th.  I’m a big fan of U2 and look forward to seeing the film, but not quite sure why a documentary on them would be chosen to open the festival.  Doesn’t that spot usually go to a Canadian film?  This isn’t the only music documentary set to play, as Cameron Crowe’s Pearl Jam Twenty has also been selected to play during the festival.  Aside from these high profile music documentaries, there are already a bountiful amount of upcoming awards season contenders scheduled over the course of the 11 days, including hugely anticipated favourites from festivals like Sundance and Cannes.

Most interesting for me is four of the actors who have two films playing at the festival, as well as the common thread that can be found between them.  George Clooney stars in The Descendants and will also be premiering his directorial effort The Ides of March, co-starring Ryan Gosling.  Gosling will also be here for the action-thriller Drive, where he stars alongside Carey Mulligan.  Mulligan, one of my favourite young actresses to have emerged over the last two years at TIFF, will also be here for Shame, where she stars alongside Michael Fassbender.  Fassbender also headlines Canadian direcor David Cronenberg’s psychological drama, A Dangerous Method.  Here’s hoping all of these stars and many more are able to make it to Toronto.

Along with all of these highly anticipated titles and the opening night selection, five other films at the top of my list to see come September are the cancer dramedy 50/50, the Duplass Brothers’ Jeff, Who Lives at Home, Brad Pitt’s Moneyball, Michael Shannon’s Take Shelter as well as the silent film The Artist.  And the list could just keep going.  On pretty much every level, this is already shaping up to be another impressive and appropriately star-studded Toronto International Film Festival.

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