The North American premiere of Louise Archambault's "Familia" will kick off the Toronto International Film Festival's Canada First! section this year, organizers announced Tuesday. Planners also revealed a number of notable Canadian films in various fest sections. Among the high profile Canadian titles are Gala presentations of Deepa Mehta's opening fest night film "Water," and two from the 2005 Cannes competition, David Cronenberg's "A History of Violence" and Atom Egoyan's "Where The Truth Lies." Joining the lineup are such notable films as Stula Gunnarsson's "Beowulf & Grendel" and Thom Fitzgerald's "Three Needles," according to organizers.
Described by the festival as "taut and visually inventive," "Familia" is Archambault's feature debut, exploring mother-daughter relationships and starring Sylvie Moreau, Macha Grenon, Juliette Gosselin, Mylene St. Sauveur, Vincent Graton, Micheline Lanctot, and Emily Holmes. It is further described as tackling "the complexities that arise from familial bonds with humour, sympathy, and a pervasive air of bittersweet desperation." The film is a Microscope inc. production in association with Telefilm Canada. It was produced by Luc Dery and is distributed by Christal Films Distribution Inc.
Thom Fitzgerald's latest, "Three Needles," in the Special Presentations section, is set in China, South Africa, and Canada and stars Lucy Liu, Chloe Sevigny, and Stockard Channing.
World premieres set for the Canada First! section include Dylan Akio Smith's "The Cabin Movie," Julia Kwan's "Eve & The Firehouse," David Ray's "Fetching Cody," Robin Aubert's "Saint-Martyrs-Des-Damnes," Aubrey Nealon's "A Simple Curve," David Christensen's "Six Figures," and John Hazlett's "These Girls."
Other films on tap include Clement Virgo's "Lie With Me," a film based on the explicit novel by Virgo's wife Tamara Faith Berger, screening in the Visions section.
Three Contemporary World Cinema world premieres from Canada include Sean Garrity's "Lucid," Ann Marie Fleming's "The French Guy," and Amnon Buchbunder's "Whole New Thing."
Feature Canadian documentaries, all of which are world premieres include Allan King's "Memory For Max, Claire, Ida and Company" in the festival's Masters section, Sam Dunn, Scot McFayden and Jessica Joy-Wise's "Metal: A Headbanger's Journey." In the Reel to Reel section are Robin Neinstein's "Souvenir of Canada" based on Douglas Coupland, as well as Astra Taylor's "ZIZEK!" about the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek.
Forty-four shorts will screen in the Short Cuts Canada section, while director and screenwriter Don Owen featured as part of this year's Canadian Retrospective. Author Michael Ondaatje and producer Peter Jensen will participate as mentors for the second annual Talent Lab, joining filmmakers Gurinder Chadha and Kim Longinotto and producer Jeremy Thomas.