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QuickShots | Free Toronto, Morgan Freeman, WGA entries, Stone doc, & Venice Preview

By Brian Brooks | Indiewire September 1, 2009 at 8:26AM

Toronto unveils full outdoor programming: free concerts & screenings
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Toronto unveils full outdoor programming: free concerts & screenings

The 34th Toronto International Film Festival is proud to announce the full lineup of free outdoor events taking place at Yonge-Dundas Square (YDS) and that it will present a free screening of the Cadillac People’s Choice Award-winning film on closing night in the Visa Screening Room at the Elgin Theatre. Additions to the lineup include Canadian soprano Measha Brueggergosman, who will host the Opening Night concert by DJ Champion; rapper Chuck D, who will host and perform at the Closing Night Festival Wrap Party; and the National Ballet of Canada, which will perform a preview presentation of its latest production from Aszure Barton in celebration of the Festival’s screening of "Mao’s Last Dancer." For a full schedule of events beginning the festival's opening night on Thursday, September 10 through closing night on Saturday, September 19, click here.

Zurich to bestow Morgan Freeman with Golden Icon Award

Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman will receive teh Zurich Film Festival's Golden Icon Award, during the event taking place in the Swiss city September 24 - October 4, the fests directors Karl Spoerri and Nadja Schildknecht announced Tuesday. The nod will be presented to Freeman during its Closing Night on Saturday, October 3. The Icon Award stands as the festival’s "most prestigious symbol of recognition" and is awarded in "appreciation of the lifetime achievements of an actor or actress." The Golden Icon Award was presented for the first time at the 2008 festival, when Sylvester Stallone was given the accolade.

Argentine director Lisandro Alonso feted

Northwest Film Forum will be releasing Argentine director Lisandro Alonso's new film, "Liverpool," and bringing the director to Seattle for a retrospective of his work. A fifteen-city tour is planned for "Liverpool," beginning in September, 2009. The organization will also welcome Alonso in November and premiere all four of his previous films. The director will also teach a seminar explaining his unique filmmaking style on November 14. The Film Forum has acquired limited rights to "Liverpool," named "one of the best undistributed films" by both indieWIRE and Film Comment, and "Best Film of 2008" by Cinema Scope. Alonso’s fourth feature has eluded US distribution since its premiere at Cannes Film Festival in 2008. For more information, check out Northwest Film Forum's website.

WGA accepting submissions for Videogame Writing Award

The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) have announced a joint call for submissions for the WGA’s third annual Videogame Writing Award to be presented at the upcoming 2010 Writers Guild Awards on Saturday, February 20, 2010, at simultaneous ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York. Submissions for this year’s Videogame Writing Award may be received from September 2 through December 1. Nominees will be announced in mid-January 2010. For entry forms and eligibility requirements, visit their website.

LAT: Oliver Stone heads "South of the Border" to chat up Chavez and others

In his new documentary "South of the Border," Oliver Stone is shown warmly embracing Hugo Chávez, nibbling coca leaves with Evo Morales and gently teasing Cristina Elizabeth Fernández de Kirchner about how many pairs of shoes she owns. These amiable, off-the-cuff snapshots of the presidents of Venezuela, Bolivia and Argentina, respectively, contrast with the way these left-leaning leaders often are depicted in U.S. political and mass media circles. Reed Johnson reports.

AP: Venice film festival retains allure without deals

If there is one criteria for selection to the Venice Film Festival, it's a film's ability to captivate, the festival's director says. That means no fidgeting in the audience. "I think I never laughed or cried as much as I did for this year's selection," said festival director Marco Mueller, who raises the curtain Wednesday on the 66th Venice Film Festival, his sixth as director. One of those chosen films is Michael Moore's "Capitalism: A Love Story," his first Venice entry after winning the top prize twice in Cannes. By many measures, landing Moore's film is a coup for Venice. "I think Michael has had a terrific time in Cannes. He needed a change. And we needed a different Michael Moore film. This one is incredibly symphonic," said Mueller, who has known Moore for 20 years and premiered 1999's "The Awful Truth," at the Locarno Film Festival when he was director there. Colleen Barry reports.

AFP: "Sarkoland" satire is surprise box office hit

A French comedy that pokes fun at President Nicolas Sarkozy's posh hometown while up-ending cliches about the country's immigrant housing projects has scored a surprise summer hit at the box office. "Neuilly-sa-Mere" tells the story of a 14-year-old Muslim kid from a rough area who is packed off to the plush Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine to stay with his aunt and aristocratic uncle, who owns a pork processing plant. AFP reports.

LAT: The Big Deal: Marvel is Disney's new family brand

But Disney isn't just buying into the Marvel business. It's reinventing its future, which has become increasingly cloudy as family entertainment, especially in the movie end of the business, has been inexorably evolving from old-fashioned squeaky-clean Disney fare to the edgier, more unsettling PG-13 universe populated by Marvel's potent arsenal of comic superheroes. The L.A. Times reports.

Screen: Wild Bunch picks up Makhmalbaf’s "Green Days"

Wild Bunch has picked up Iranian director Hana Makhmalbaf’s latest film "Green Days" ahead of Venice. The docu-fiction title was announced as the “surprise” out of competition screening last week. The film tells the story of a depressed Iranian girl who tries to find hope in the June 2009 elections.

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