Two traditional parties typically mark the first two nights of the Toronto International Film Festival…this year I broke with the past and skipped both the opening night bash and Friday night’s always fun “Schmooze” at the CityTV studio lot in favor of spending two nights at the elegant Elgin Theater. On opening night, organizers showcased Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck‘s “The Lives of Others,” the new German film that has had insiders buzzing since last weekend in Telluride. I’ll be writing about this one further in my next fest dispatch, but it received a significant standing ovation Thursday night and is clearly one of the breakthroughs of the fall fest circuit so far.
And on Friday night, I enjoyed the festival’s Maverick session with Michael Moore (covered yesterday in indieWIRE), including a trio of clips from his new film, “Sicko.” The segments were terrific and terrifying. The program was marred by a second night of severe fest technical problems, forcing Moore to cancel extended clips from his other film, “The Great 2004 Slacker Uprising.” A rep in Moore’s office told me yesterday that the film will be released on DVD in late ’07, after “Sicko,” but before the 2008 U.S. presidential election.