By Brian Brooks | Indiewire July 18, 2006 at 9:05AM
The 31st Toronto International Film Festival has revealed details of its Canada First! line up, with Andrew Currie's zombie film "Fido" opening the section, which will spotlight nine feature films, with eight screening as world premieres, organizers announced Tuesday. Additionally the festival, taking place September 7 - 16, will screen the world premiere of Sarah Polley's feature debut, "Away from Her," starring Gordon Pinsent and Julie Christie as a gala presentation. The film joins the already announced opening film, "The Journals of Knud Rasmussen," also a world debut, by Zacharias Kunuk and Norman Cohn.
Special presentations include the world premiere of Guy Maddin's "Brand Upon the Brain!" a new silent film screened with live musical and foley accompaniment. Also on tap are Philippe Falardeau's Cannes film "Congorama" (North American premiere); Jennifer Baichwal's "Manufactured Landscapes," a collaboration with Canadian Retrospective subject Peter Mettler, and "The Best of Norman McLaren," a program featuring what TIFF describes as the filmmaker's "most provocative and influential work." Also slated is the world premiere of Allan King's latest doc, "EMPz4 Life" in the Masters section.
Filmmaker Peter Mettler will be a spotlight in this year's Canadian Retrospective. The Toronto International Film Festival Group, the parent organization that organizes the annual TIFF and other year-round programs, will publish a book on Mettler entitled Of This Place and Elsewhere: The Films and Photography of Peter Mettler, written by Jerry White. In addition to the official book launch, taking place September 5, the festival will also present three events and exhibits featuring work by or about Mettler.
Also looking back, Peter Pearson's "Paperback Hero" (1973) will be this year's "Canadian Open Vault." The film, starring Keir Dullea, and Elizabeth Ashley, is the story of Rick Dilllon (Dullea), a man determined to live his life according to the mythologies of the Western and who fails to come to terms with his evolving community.
World premieres slated for this year's Canada First! include Carolyn Combs' "Acts of Imagination," Jean Chateauvert's "La Coupure," Maurice Deverereaux's "End of the Line," Paul Fox's "Everything's Gone Green," Mazdak Taebi's "Mercy," Camelia Frieberg's "A Stone's Throw," and Noel Mitrani's "Sur La Trace D'Igor Rizzi." Additionally, Patrice Sauve's "Cheech," will screen as a Toronto debut.
This year's TIFF Canadian contingent include the world premieres of Michael Mabbott's "Citizen Duane," Reginald Harkema's "Monkey Warfare," and Terrence Odette's "Sleeping Dogs," screening in the fest's Contemporary World Cinema. Also in the section is the Canadian debut of Carl Bessai's "Unnatural and Accidental," and the Toronto premiere of Robert Favreau's "Un Dimanche A Kigali."
The world premiere of Catherine Martin's "Dans Les Villes" will screen in TIFF's Visions as a world debut. The film explores, according to the festival, "themes of the human condition and human connection, as four strangers travel through a city. Martin's "L'Esprit Des Lieux" will screen in Real to Reel, along with Jim Brown and Gary Burns' "Radiant City," and Martin Lavut's "Remembering Arthur."
Thirty-eight shorts will screen in this year's Short Cuts Canada. Additionally, the Canadian Music Cafe, providing a forum for Canadian musicians to network with the film industry September 12 - 14.
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