Tonight, the Toronto International Film Festival opens. If you’re going to Toronto, we want you to know what to expect; if you’re not, we want you to feel like you’re there. For those attending, indieWIRE‘s resident Canadian Peter Knegt, has a festival goer’s travel guide, featuring food, drink, and shopping recommendations for people on any budget. Peter’s also compiled a list of all the film’s in the program, with their official short synopses. The festival’s Discovery section spotlights films by new directors, and many of the Discovery filmmakers have been profiled on indieWIRE in a series of interviews that can be found here.
A profile with TIFF Co-Director Cameron Bailey, will give you an idea of how the festival will be different this year. You can also read a little bit about the trends in this year’s programming. For instance, Bailey says, “On the programming side, Bailey said the festival has definitely seen a reflection of the economic downturn in some of the films. “I think once people start watching films like ‘Capitalism: A Love Story’ – the new Michael Moore film, ‘Up In The Air’ – Jason Reitman’s new movie, and ‘The Joneses’… they’ll really see filmmakers responding to this new situation in interesting ways. There are a lot of filmmakers really taking a good, hard look at the place of money in human interaction, and what it does to the human heart and the human soul.'”
This year’s opener, “Creation,” can be previewed on indieWIRE. In his interview with Brian Brooks, “Creation” director Jon Amiel talks about how much he’s always looked up to the film’s subject, Charles Darwin. The film profiles Darwin as he develops his theory of natural selection, eventually publishing it in his book “On the Origin of Species.” “Creation” is unique in that it is a non-Canadian opening night film — a trend that TIFF has developed over the years. On the film’s selection, Cameron Bailey says, “it’s about big ideas but it’s expressing those ideas in a very approachable and intimate way. It has the scale and the sweep you want for an opening night film and we think it’s a film our audience is really going to embrace. And it will get people talking right at the beginning of the festival about some serious subjects that they will have been able to watch in a very accessible way.”
We’ve also got the schedule of performers, including Neil Young and Joan Baez, at this year’s special events. A description of the special educational events, including panels and talks, can be found here. On a serious note, many filmmakers, industry people, and other activists are organizing a protest of the festival due to its spotlight on Tel Aviv. Canadian filmmaker John Greyson (“Fig Trees,” “Lilies”), who disagrees ideologically with the Israeli government, began the protest after he noticed Israel’s Brand Israel marketing campaign proclaimed that the festival spotlight was a part of Brand Israel.
Toronto is also home to many films that have just premiered at Venice. Andy Lauer’s September 4 piece detailed the response to “The Road” and “Life During Wartime.” My own piece from Tuesday details the response to Hong Kong director ‘s “Accident,” Austria’s “Lourdes,” and Michael Moore’s “Capitalism: A Love Story.”