Café De Flore
There was a slightly redundant quality to the Toronto International Film Festival's 2011 Canadian press conference Tuesday afternoon at the Fairmont Royal York.
Perhaps it was the thick, humid atmosphere outside the hotel; perhaps it was the fact that the afternoon event took place four hours after TIFF released the full slate of Canadian features, documentaries and shorts to the media over e-mail.
That didn't stop TIFF co-directors Piers Handling and Cameron Bailey from gathering a stageful of filmmakers before a roomful of entertainment journalists; nor should it have. (A live press conference always looks better on television than a bunch of film clips.)
Handling and Bailey announced a number of returning filmmakers. Guy Maddin, who appeared at the presser sporting a beard worthy of Jack from Lost, will be back with Keyhole, which he described as an attempt to fuse film noir with ghost stories. Michael Dowse, the director of the FUBAR films and It's All Gone Pete Tong, will take on hockey with Goon, starring Seann William Scott, Jay Baruchel, Live Schreiber and Eugene Levy.
Jean-Marc Vallée, director of C.R.A.Z.Y. and The Young Victoria, returns with Café De Flore, a supernaturally tinged love story starring Vanessa Paradis. Léa Pool, best known for her dramatic features La Demoiselle Sauvage and Lost And Delirious, delivers Pink Ribbons, a documentary about breast-cancer charities and the industry behind them.
Leonard Farlinger, the director of All Hat, brings I'm Yours, a road-trip movie starring Rossif Sutherland and Karine Vanasse. Mary Harron, maker of I Shot Andy Warhol and The Notorious Bette Page, offers The Moth Diaries, a psychological drama starring Lily Cole, Sarah Bolger and Scott Speedman. (Speedman also stars in Edwin Boyd, based on the true story of an actor turned bank robber.)
Real Time's Randall Cole is back with the Mia Kirshner-Nick Stahl surveillance thriller 388 Arletta Avenue. (Stahl also plays the lead in Afghan Luke, a war movie from Trailer Park Boys director Mike Clattenburg.) Ingrid Veninger, whose MODRA was a highlight among the Canadian titles in TIFF 2010, will be back with i am a good person / i am a bad person, in which she stars opposite her daughter Hallie Switzer; Carl Bessai, a TIFF regular last seen here with 2010's Repeaters, will screen the semi-improvised comedy Sisters & Brothers.
Bruce McDonald's Hard Core Logo 2 will screen in the Masters program; the original Hard Core Logo will be presented as this year's Canadian Open Vault selection, in conjunction with a new monograph co-published by the festival and the University Of Toronto Press.
Joining the previously announced A Dangerous Method and Take This Waltz on this year's Gala slate was Quebec writer-director Ken Scott's Starbuck, featuring Patrick Huard as a 42-year-old man who discovers he's the biological father of 533 children. It is apparently a comedy.
The Canada First! program announced its full slate of first-time feature films, including this year's opening night title, Guy Édoin's Wetlands, a drama about a family on an isolated dairy farm. Other debuts include Sheldon Larry's Leave It On The Floor, a musical about drag balls; Yonah Lewis and Calvin Thomas's Amy George, about a 13-year-old Toronto boy (Gabriel del Castillo Mullaly) who wants to become an artist, and The Odds, B.C. director Simon Davidson's thriller set in the world of illegal underage gambling.
The festival also announced its Short Cuts Canada programs - 43 titles in all, including Hope, the new short from Pedro Pires, whose Danse Macabre was named Best Canadian Short Film at TIFF 2009.
The Toronto International Film Festival runs from Sept. 8 to 18, 2011.