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Festival Dispatch

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    TORONTO '06 CRITICS NOTEBOOK: Immigrant Stories and Haitian Violence

    On Monday, September 11, the whole world was memorializing the 5th anniversary of the terrorist attacks against the United States. But here in Toronto, specifically at the film festival, discussions centered on other topics: Is Tarsem's "The Fall" a masterpiece or a disaster? What's the deal with th...

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    TORONTO '06 DAILY DISPATCH: Fest Launch Pad Boosts Fall Films -- "Last King," "Shortbus," "Volver"

    Toronto International Film Festival observers wondering what the hot films are this year need look no further than the cover of local weekly NOW, which last week sported "Shortbus" co-star Sook-Yin Lee on the cover and this week's boasts "Volver" star Penelope Cruz. While buyers bemoan the lack of hot new festival titles -- only a few films seems to be stirring biz buzz so far at the fest -- a number of films are using the event as a lauching pad into North American distribution. Among the hottest of those are a few Cannes films, along with a couple of premieres stirring awards buzz. Kevin Macdonald's "The Last King of Scotland" has garnered ...

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    TORONTO '06 DAILY DISPATCH: Weinsteins Wild Over "Vaughn" & "Lane"; Audience Digs "The Lives of Othe

    After the first weekend of movie-going at the Toronto International Film Festival buyers and moviegoers alike were buzzing about fest films. While audiences raved about Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's "The Lives of Others," which was nabbed by Sony Classics back in the Spring, The Weinstein Company nabbed the comedic doc, "Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days & 30 Nights - Hollywood To The Heartland" after its Friday screening here in Canada and its Dimension Films division quickly grabbbed "All The Boys Love Mandy Lane. Meanwhile, MGM nabbed North American rights to Werner Herzog's "Rescue Dawn," which also debuted here this week...

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    TORONTO '06 CRITICS NOTEBOOK: "Half Moon," "Venus," "Art of Crying" Focus on Death; "Escape" and "Fi

    With many of Hollywood's biggest offerings bombing here in Toronto (stay away from "A Good Year" and "All the King's Men"), critics have sought solace in half a dozen already proven Cannes favorites ("Volver," "Climates," "Babel") and a number of smaller, newer foreign discoveries and documentaries.

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    TORONTO '06 DAILY DISPATCH: Michael Moore Sneaks "Sicko" Clips; Cillian on Loach's "Barley"

    For nearly twenty years now, Michael Moore has used filmmaking as a means to directly tackle hot button issues and notable figures. Before that, he spent years working as a journalist and at a younger age even wrote a couple of plays. In "Fahrenheit 9/11," and at subsequent political rallies leading...

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    TORONTO '06 DAILY DISPATCH: Eyeing a Prize, ThinkFilm Toasts Five Years; And Kunuk Tries to Preserve

    Not long after Lions Gate Films shut down its New York office back in 2001, a group of company executives joined forces to launch the Toronto/NYC based ThinkFilm and Friday morning, at what has become a signature event, the start-up celebrated its 5th anniversary with its annual breakfast bash. Acknowledging that 80% of new companies fail within the first five years, CEO Jeff Sackman smiled as he welcomed a large crowd to Toronto's Windsor Arms Hotel and boasted, "I think its safe to say that no other company [in the past 5 years] has emerged from the pack as we have." Started with a group of just 10, ThinkFilm has expanded to a 35 person st...

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    TORONTO '06 DAILY DISPATCH: Politics As Usual? IFC Gets Election Doc, Fest Buzzes About D.O.A.P., an

    Politics may end up being one of the hot topics at this year's Toronto International Film Festival. While muckraker Michael Moore will be talking in the spotlight Friday night at the festival, with clips from two new films, IFC Entertainment has announced a deal for James D. Stern and Adam Del Deo's...

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    TORONTO '06 DAILY DISPATCH: Oh, Canada! Toronto Fest Looks North to Launch 31st Fest

    Launched in 1976 as the "festival of festivals," the Toronto International Film Festival has grown into the greatest film event in North America, rivaled only by Cannes as a leading showcase, market, and discovery zone for international cinema. Of the 352 films screening at this year's event, which opens Thursday inight, 91% are having their official world, international or North American premiere at this year's festival and many will be courting buyers from around the world. The massive festival will unspool on some 23 screens around the city, with most press and industry showings concentrated in the Yorkville neighborhood. Zacharias Kunuk a...

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    DISPATCH FROM TELLURIDE: Imagined Reality on Display at Weekend Telluride Fest; Pences Say Goodbye

    The 33rd edition of the Telluride Film Festival (see indieWIRE's recent lineup story), which took place over the past few days in the small Colorado mountain town, will not only be known for launching such films as "The Last King of Scotland," "Fur", and "Little Children" or honoring Penelope Cruz and Walter Murch, it will also be remembered as the final festival for event co-founders Bill Pence and Stella Pence. On Sunday, the Pences surprised attendees by revealing that the will retire from the event that they created in 1974 with James Card and Tom Luddy. Gary Meyer has been named to take over alongside Luddy immediately, while the new lea...

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    LA FILM FEST '06: "Ira," "Abby," and "Mario" Win in Audience Prizes; Fest Salutes "Sunshine" and "Qu

    Boasting an attendance of more than 80,000 this year, Film Independent's Los Angeles Film Festival came to a close Sunday night at the Wadsworth Theater in West Los Angeles. On its final night, celeb presenter Christina Applegate announced two feature audience awards -- the fest-goers chose "Ira & Abby," written by (and co-starring) Jennifer Westfeldt and directed by Robert Cary, as the winner of the narrative audience award. The film, a true crowd-pleaser here in L.A. this year, marks Westfeldt's return to the festival following the successful launch of her first feature "Kissing Jessica Stein" here five years ago. The feature about modern r...

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