More details of the 30th Toronto International Film Festival were announced Thursday. Twenty-one non English-language titles from 14 countries have been added to the line-up for the 30th Toronto International Film Festival, with ten world premieres, three international premieres, and eight North American premieres slated for the event taking place September 8 – 17. Also added is director Hermine Huntgeburth’s world premiere, “The White Masai,” which will be a Gala screening. Based on the best-selling autobiographical book by Corinne Hofmann, the film tells the epic story of a young woman who defies countless cultural obstacles in Africa to be with the love of her life. The film stars Nina Hoss, Jacky Ido, Janek Rieke, and Katja Flint.
Among the non-English titles are Montxo Armendáriz’s “Obaba,” Lee Myung-se’s “Duelist,” Anne Fontaine’s “Entre Ses Mains,” Alain Tasma’s “October 17, 1961,” Hur Jin-ho’s “April Snow,” Andrucha Waddington’s “House of Sand,” Marcelo Piñeyro’s “The Grönholm Method,” Andreas Dresen’s “Summer in Berlin,” Antonio Capuano’s “Mario’s War,” Majid Majidi’s “The Willow Tree,” and Bohdan Sláma’s “Something Like Happiness.”
Montxo Armendáriz’s “Obaba” (Spain) is one of two world premieres added to Masters. Based on Bernardo Atzaga’s book “Obabakoak,” the film tells the story of a young woman who tries to solve the mystery of the fictional Basque village of Obaba. Carlos Saura’s “Iberia” (Spain) was inspired by the work of Spanish composer Isaac Albéniz and unites the discipline and passion of Flamenco, classical music, ballet, and contemporary dance. Takeshi Kitano‘s “Takeshis'” (Japan), a North American premiere in Masters, stars Kitano as a celebrity who crosses paths with his look-a-like.
Two new titles have been added to Visions. Lee Myung-se’s “Duelist” (South Korea), a world premiere, is a martial arts detective story set during Korea’s Choson Kingdom. Patrice Chéreau‘s “Gabrielle” (France/Italy), a North American premiere, is adapted from Joseph Conrad‘s “The Return” and stars Isabelle Huppert in a story of an upper-middle-class couple in a loveless marriage.
Anne Fontaine’s “Entre Ses Mains,” (France), a world premiere, is one of six titles added to Special Presentations. The film tells the story of a married woman who grows closer to a seemingly dangerous man. Hur Jin-ho’s “April Snow” (South Korea), also a world premiere, tells the story of a man and woman who discover their spouses were having an affair. Andrucha Waddington’s “House of Sand” (Brazil), an international premiere, chronicles the experiences of a woman who spends her life in the remote sand dunes of Brazil.
Special Presentations also includes several North American premieres. Laurent Cantet’s “Vers Le Sud” (France/Canada) is a story of three female tourists whose eyes are opened to the poverty-stricken and dangerous world of 1980s Haiti. Based on Wang Anyi’s award-winning novel of the same name, Stanley Kwan‘s “Everlasting Regret” (Hong Kong/China) follows a legendary Shanghai beauty as she struggles to preserve the dignity of her past and survive the constant betrayal of the men in her life. Adapted from Liang Yu-Shen’s classic novel, Tsui Hark‘s “Seven Swords” (Hong Kong) tells the heroic story of seven men who set out to save a village from massacre at the hands of a cruel military general in early 1600s China.
Ten titles have been added to Contemporary World Cinema. Alain Tasma’s “October 17, 1961” (France), a world premiere, reveals the truth about one of the bloodiest moments in France’s history: the brutal arrest of more than 11,000 Algerians. In Marcelo Piñeyro’s “The Grönholm Method” (Spain/Argentina/Italy), a world premiere, seven candidates compete for an executive position at a multinational company. Andreas Dresen’s “Summer in Berlin” (Germany), also a world premiere, centers on two women struggling for love and decent jobs. Antonio Capuano’s “Mario’s War” (Italy), an international premiere, tells the story of a troubled foster child who is taken in by a middle-class couple, resulting in a confrontation between two very different worlds. In Majid Majidi’s “The Willow Tree” (Iran), also an international premiere, a blind university professor is suddenly faced with a fatal disease and must undergo a treatment in France.
In Bohdan Sláma’s “Something Like Happiness” (Czech Republic/Germany), a world premiere, three childhood friends each struggle with desire and loneliness, longing and failure, in their adult lives. Emmanuelle Bercot’s “Backstage” (France), a world premiere, is a portrait of desperate obsession and unconditional love when a teenage girl gains access to the inner circle of her favorite pop idol. Sophie Fillières’s “Gentille” (France), a North American premiere, tells the story of a woman who finds that reality always catches up with her, while in Wisit Sasanatieng’s magical “Citizen Dog” (Thailand), a North American premiere, a migrant worker falls in love with a maid and becomes a celebrity as the only man in Bangkok without a tail. A mother and daughter are both spectators to a world of money and easy pleasures in Anne Villacèque’s “Riviera” (France), also a North American premiere.
The films announced today join a growing list of previously announced international non-English language titles of interest for attending distributors. These prominently include Danis Tanovic‘s “L’Enfer,” initially announced as a Special Presentation and today announced as a Gala Presentation, and Antonin Svoboda’s “You Bet Your Life.”
Also added to the slate are five titles spotlighting Black cinema from around the world, including four world premieres. Wayne Beach’s “Slow Burn” (USA) has been added to this year’s Special Presentations, while two world premieres, “Les Saignantes” (Cameroon/France) and “Conversations on a Sunday Afternoon” (South Africa) have been added to Visions. “Les Saignantes” is an erotic spin on politics, sex, and magic in Cameroon, while “Conversations” is the first feature from acclaimed documentarian Khalo Matabane. “Shadowboxer” (USA), a directorial debut from producer Lee Daniels (“Monster’s Ball”), tells the story of Rose (Helen Mirren), a contract killer who is silently dying from cancer. Gavin Hood’s “Tsotsi” (South Africa), a North American premiere, is based on the novel by Athol Fugard and traces six days in the lonely, violent life of Tsotsi, a ruthless young gang leader.
In other touted TIFF news, the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) Sales Office, the unofficial market of the Toronto International Film Festival, will host over 1,000 sales delegates representing over 530 companies from 47 countries from around the world. The number of buyers attending this year’s Festival marks an increase of 40% over last year’s attendees.
“We are truly overwhelmed this year by the number of films choosing Toronto for their world premieres,” said Noah Cowan, co-director of the Toronto International Film Festival. “Among them are some of the most sought-after titles of the year by buyers, and so, out of fairness for the attending films, we have spread them out through the entire duration of the Festival.”