Each day at the Toronto International Film Festival (September 9-19), indieWIRE is publishing a frequently updated dispatch from Toronto.
7:00pm: “Incendies” Acquired by Sony Classics Canadian film “Incendies,” by Quebec filmmaker Denis Villeneuve, is the latest new movie to score a distribution deal at the ongoing Toronto International Film Festival. Sony Pictures Classics acquired U.S. rights to the powerful new film in the wake of a strong reception at the recent Venice and Telluride Film Festivals last week. Get the full story here.
3:00pm: “Beginners” Praise During the Hot Topics discussion both Kohn and Longworth had lots of positive things to say about Mike Mills’ “Beginners,” which stars Christopher Plummer as a man who comes out of the closet late in life. In Kohn’s review, he goes as far to call the film “a small wonder to behold,” and concludes, “”Beginners” stays true to the title and feels like something entirely new.” Also check out Peter Knegt’s interview with Mills here. [Nigel M. Smith]
2:30pm: Emotional Debut For TIFF Bell Lightbox Emotions ran high in Toronto last night as the ten-years-in-the-making TIFF Bell Lightbox finally made its official debut as a screening venue. After a day long block party outside the building, a who’s who of the city’s film community gathered to witness Bruce MacDonald’s “Trigger.” TIFF CEO Piers Handling noted the long list of Canadian cinematic talent associated with the film, from its director Bruce McDonald to its screenwriter Daniel MacIvor, to its cast that includes Molly Parker, Sarah Polley, Don McKellar, and Callum Keith Rennie. But the most notable person involved with “Trigger” is also the reason why last night’s Lightbox debut was such a stirring event for so many people. Tracy Wright, who along with Parker is in nearly every scene of the film, passed away earlier this year after a battle with cancer. She was a remarkable presence in the Canadian film and theatre worlds, and “Trigger” was her very last project. Read more about how many paid tribute to her at last night’s screening here.
1:30pm: Filmmaker’s Lounge For today’s Hot Topics chat at Live at the Lounge with indieWIRE, Anne Thompson, Eugene Hernandez, Eric Kohn and Karina Longworth all stopped by to offer their takes on what they’ve seen so far at the festival, and which films are generating the most buzz (good and bad) within the industry. All agreed on one hit of the fest: Tom Hooper’s “The King’s Speech.” Ann Thompson said there’s no doubt the film will be an Oscar contender. Eric Kohn meanwhile dished on what he thought of James Gunn’s “Super,” which was recently acquired for U.S. distribution by IFC Films.
Yesterday at the lounge, “Conviction” director Tony Goldwyn chatted with Anne Thompson about the long process of getting a true story to the screen. [Nigel M. Smith]
11:00am: “Virginia” Debuts Dustin Lance Black’s directorial debut “What’s Wrong Virginia” premiered over the weekend in Toronto and early reviews are in. Hollywood Reporter was not so fond, writing: “Presumably a glib attack on sanctimonious small-town religious hypocrisy informed by Black’s own strict Mormon upbringing, the film is tonally all over the place, eventually settling in a rut that comes a lot closer to resembling bad camp than edgy satire.” Cinema Blend meanwhile goes on to praise Jennifer Connelly’s performance, but not the film itself: “Wearing bleached blonde hair and a series of billowy dresses, Connelly has rarely looked more fragile or dangerous; like Virginia she’s adrift in a world that doesn’t quite appreciate her, and just as you root for Virginia to pull it together and leave town, you root for Connelly to track down a better movie.” Folks at MovieLine reported on their 9 First Impressions of the film. [Nigel M. Smith]
10:00am: Kinky “Housemaid” Last night’s gala screening of Im Sang-soo’s “The Housemaid” got off to late start at the Roy Thompson Hall in Toronto, but the tardy timing suited the film’s twisted aesthetic just fine. The film’s stars Jeon Do-youn (Cannes winner for “Secret Sunshine”) and Lee Jung-jae were on hand with Sang-soo to introduce the film. Sang-soo got the crowd worked up, by promising the film contained lots of sex and nudity. He wasn’t lying. Do-youn plays the titular housemaid, who takes up work with an upper class family and beds the man of the house, only to have his wife and mother-in-law exact revenge upon her. In a more somber note, Noah Cowan, TIFF Bell Lightbox artistic director, made a moving mention of director Claude Chabrol’s death, and the noticeable influence of Chabrol evident in “The Housemaid.” [Nigel M. Smith]
9:00am: “Dirty Girl” Gets Big Pick Up Anne Thompson reported on the Weinsteins’ acquisition of Abe Sylvia’s 80s period Dirty Girl for $3 million, a deal that was the talk of the jammed CAA party last night. $3 million (for rights in the U.S., France, United Kingdom, Australia/New Zealand and South Africa) is “a big number in today’s contracted indie marketplace.” [Peter Knegt]