In Toronto, Assayas Set as Fest Also Unveils Canadian Lineup
by Sandra Ogle
The 29th annual Toronto International Film Festival has announced several additions to its lineup in September. Two new programs -- "Canada First!" and "Short Cuts Canada" -- will be introduced and Olivier Assayas's "Clean," starring Maggie Cheung and Nick Nolte, will have its North American premiere as a Gala presentation at Roy Thomson Hall. The film centers on a mother struggling to regain control of her life and custody of her son after spending six months in prison.
Another newly added special presentation at the festival will be Don McKellar's "Childstar," in which McKellar stars as an indie filmmaker hired as a driver to chauffeur around a famous child actor, played by 15-year-old Mark Rendall. The film, which will have its world premiere at the festival, also stars Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kristin Adams, Eric Stoltz, and Dave Foley, and has brief cameo by Alan Thicke. McKellar's first feature, "Last Night," won a Citytv Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film at the 1998 TIFF festival. In addition to starring in "Childstar," McKellar also has a small role in the Assayas's aforementioned feature film "Clean" as well.
"Canada First!", the new program that will feature 10 films from emerging Canadian talent, will kick off with Michael McGowan's "Saint Ralph." The film, about a ninth grader's grandiose attempt to win the 1954 Boston Marathon, stars Campbell Scott, Jennifer Tilly, and Adam Butcher. Also, Chris Abraham's "I, Claudia," based on Kristen Thomson's acclaimed play based in Toronto, will have its world premiere during the festival as part of the new program, along with Mark A. Lewis's feature film "Ill Fated."
The other new program, "Short Cuts Canada," will feature 38 shorts, each under 50 minutes, from established and up-and-coming Canadian directors. Films include Guy Maddin's "Sissy Boy Slap Party," David Hyde's "Choke," Deborah Chow's "The Hill," and Katrin Bowen's "Almost Forgot My Bones."
[ For more information, please visit: http://www.bell.ca/filmfest. ]