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TORONTO 2001 BUZZ: Piers Prepares for 2001; Zeigeist Gets Weber’s Latest; and Stalking the Stars

TORONTO 2001 BUZZ: Piers Prepares for 2001; Zeigeist Gets Weber's Latest; and Stalking the Stars

TORONTO 2001 BUZZ: Piers Prepares for 2001; Zeigeist Gets Weber's Latest; and Stalking the Stars

by Eugene Hernandez and Anthony Kaufman/indieWIRE

>> Piers Handling: Cinephile and Coordinator

(indieWIRE/09.06.01) — “It’s a little bit of a challenge,” Toronto Film
Director Piers Handling told indieWIRE, regarding the ability to
stay true to his mission of bringing art films to Canada’s masses amidst all
the organizing that takes place at such an immense, international event.
“But at the end of the day, I’m a cinephile and I bring that to bare in the
three-month selection process [June to August].” “And the rest of the year,”
he added, “I get to indulge the cinephile in me.”

Handling, along with Managing Director Michele Maheux and the rest of the
Toronto team (“they’re a great staff,” says Handling, “they’re working their
asses off”), are in the final throes of preparing this year’s festival. On
Wednesday, during early arrivals, Handling was doing everything from
interviews with press, confirming dinners and checking hotel reservations
for festival guests, to working on his opening remarks for the event. He is
giving a special cineaste’s attention to the making of F. W. Murnau‘s 1922
horror classic “Nosferatu,” which will screen at this year’s fest with live
orchestral accompaniment. He also found time to go to the gym, and arranged
for perhaps the secret of Handling’s seemingly laid-back demeanor during the
fest: a daily massage.

“At this point, there’s another set of concerns that comes into play; the
showbiz aspect of the festival takes over,” Handling said about the
transition from programmer to master of ceremonies. “But I’m the host of all
the filmmakers, not just the Galas.”

Responding to the claim that this year’s Galas are somewhat low in
star-wattage, Handling says, “It’s a fair assessment of the festival. You’re
dealt a hand you have to go with,” he added, “but we’re certainly conscious
of not making a strictly Anglophone program.” Refuting the glamourless
claim, however, Handling noted the “immense number of high profile guests”
(see the list below). He also acknowledges the fact that there are only
about five Hollywood films in this year’s lineup, favoring a stronger
American independent section. Citing Indiewood distribs like Lions Gate,
Sony Pictures Classics and Miramax, Handling noted, “They’re all here with
pretty significant films.”

Handling’s personal taste is more esoteric. One can’t have a conversation
with the 19-year festival veteran without some mention of Iranian cinema.
“I’m continually staggered by the quality of work that comes out of Iran,”
he told indieWIRE. “The films are very personal, very intimate, and there’s
a simplicity and grace and wisdom. I really respond to the unhurried rhythm
and quietness of the films.” Handling’s appreciation for Iranian cinema is
hardly surprising: the next 10 days for he and his staff will be anything
but unhurried and quiet. [Anthony Kaufman]

>> Zeitgeist to Serve Up Chop Suey

(indieWIRE/09.06.01) — Venerable indie film distributor Zeitgeist, has
announced its plans for the theatrical release of Bruce Weber‘s Real to Reel
section doc, “Chop Suey.” Company Co-Presidents Nancy Gerstman and Emily Russo caught the movie earlier this year at the Berlin Film Festival where it had its world premire.

In a conversation with indieWIRE yesterday, Gerstman recalled Zeitgeist’s
long-standing relationship with famed photographer Bruce Weber. His first
film, “Broken Noses,” was the distributor’s first release, back in 1988.

The documentary, a portrait of wrestler-turned-model Peter Johnson, exposes
Weber’s own fascination with the young pretty-boy and offers a window into
the mind of a photographer legendary for capturing stunning homoerotic

Zeitgeist will open the movie at Film Forum in New York City early next
month and a date in Miami is set for later in October. Gerstman indicated
that the movie has already been booked in a number of cities over the
subsequent six months. [Eugene Hernandez]

>> Star-gazing in Yorkville

(indieWIRE/09.06.01) — Festival fans (and paparazzi photographers) are a
staple in Toronto, swarming galas, parties and Yorkville sidewalks to try
and spot a celebrity and gather an autograph or picture. The following is a
scorecard for the celeb-spotters among us — earlier this week Festival
organizers released a list of all expected actors and actress (subject to
change without notice, of course). Here, in no particlar order is a roster:

Lucy Russell, Sook-Yin Lee, Adam Beach, Don McKellar, Amanda Ooms, Shah Rukh
Khan, Madeline Ivalu, Sylvia Ivalu, Peter-Henry Arnatsiaq, Lucy Tulugarjuk,
Natar Ungalaaq, Jennifer Tilly, Anthony LaPaglia, David Wenham, Ryan
Gosling, Debra Winger, Anna Paquin, Joaquin Phoenix, Julia Stiles, Stockard
Channing, Benedicke Linbeck, Wes Bentley, Greg Fawcett, Chad Lindberg, Brad
Rowe, Jeanne Moreau, Juan Cruz Bordeu, Michel Bouquet, Krystof Hadek, Daphna
Kastner, Jeremy Northam, Koel Purie, Audrey Tautou, William H. Macy, David
Paymer, Meat Loaf Aday, Heather Graham, Simon Yam, Andy Lau, Jackie
Burroughs, Harvey Keitel, David Arquette, Steve Buscemi, Mira Sorvino,
Anthony Hopkins, Hope Davis, Danny DeVito, Salma Hayek, David Schwimmer,
Colm Meany, Sissy Spacek, Nick Stahl, Marisa Tomei, Tom Wilkinson, Jonas
Chernick, Sarah Constible, Micheline Marchildon, Gordon Tanner, Christy
Chung, Frank Whaley, Paul Walker, Steve Zahn, Leelee Sobieski, Djinaba Diop
Gaï, Michael D’Ascenzo, Stine Stengade, Jennifer Westfeldt, Heather
Juergensen, Scott Cohen, Aamir Khan, Geoffrey Rush, Barbara Hershey, David
Hemmings, Bob Hoskins, Helen Mirren, Ray Winstone, Frida Betrani, Vincent
Gale, Molly Parker, Benjamin Ratner, Tom Scholte, Nancy Sivak, Kevin Kline,
Kristin Scott Thomas, Hayden Christensen, Mary Steenburgen, Jena Malone,
Sabrina Grdevich, Colm Feore, Joanna Going, Catherine Keener, Brenda
Blethyn, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Mick Jagger, Andy Garcia, Don Cheadle, Zooey
Deschanel, Eric Quizon, Naseeruddin Shah, Tilotama Shome, Geraldine O’Rawe,
Richard Harris, Dean Andrews, Venn Tracey, Branko Djuric, Rene Bitorajac,
Steve Martin, Helena Bonham Carter, Elias Koteas, Scott Caan, Ingrid
Veninge, Frangiski Moustaki, Vincent Cassel, Monica Bellucci, Marc Dacasos,
Juliette Lewis, Gina Gershon, Kelly Harms, Callum Keith Rennie, Benjamin
Bratt, Jason Biggs, Christina Ricci, Michelle Williams, William Hurt, Andy
Jones, Glenn Close, Dermot Mulroney, Kate Beckinsale, John Cusack, Jeremy
Piven, Eugene Levy, Edward Burns, Rosario Dawson,David Field, Syd Brisbane,
Lola Marceli, Wendy Crewson, Peter Coyote, Joe Cobden, Emmanuelle Devos,
Stellan Skarsgard, Moritz Bleibtreu, Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard,
Matthew McConaughey, Amy Irving, Alan Arkin, Clea DuVall, Kiefer Sutherland,
Denzel Washington, Ben Kingsley, Vincent Gallo, Tricia Vessey, David La
Haye, Isabelle Blais, Tak Sakaguchi, Minoru Matsumoto, Edith Baranyay,
Andrew McIntyre, Christian Slater, Billy Crudup, Julianne Moore, Gael García
Bernal, and Diego Luna. [Eugene Hernandez]

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