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TIFF Talks: Rock, Caine, Levinson and Egoyan Lead Fest’s Announced Events

TIFF Talks: Rock, Caine, Levinson and Egoyan Lead Fest's Announced Events

Chris Rock, Michael Caine, Neil Jordan, Frederick Wiseman, Barry Levinson, Joe Dante, Peter Berg, and Atom Egoyan are among those set for the 34th Toronto International Film Festival’s extensive discussions, panels and master classes. Announced today, those names are divided up into both the Mavericks and Dialogues: Talking With Pictures programmes, as well as a variety of industry events including a Master Class with Canadian director Egoyan (who is world premiering his latest film, “Chloe,” at the festival).

The Mavericks programme – which puts “audiences in the same room as headline-making leaders from the world of film, and beyond, for unforgettable conversations on their latest projects” – will this year place spotlight on the world of performing arts, sports and African American hairstyles, and those in attendance will include director Peter Berg, actor Sir Michael Caine, director Barry Levinson, comedian Chris Rock and documentarian Frederick Wiseman. While Dialogues: Talking with Pictures – a film series curated by directors or film artists – will find Ted Kotcheff, Neil Jordan, Joe Dante and Sook-Yin Lee each presenting films that “have inspired them or have marked a significant period in their careers.”

Additionally, the festival has introduced new programmes this year, including the aforementioend Master Class with Atom Egoyan, and Short Cuts Canada Roundtables, “an informal networking opportunity for filmmakers and producers with films in this year’s Short Cuts Canada programme.” Returning industry programs include Telefilm Canada’s “Pitch This!,” a live pitch competition with a $10,000 CAD prize to assist with project development, and “Talent Lab,” which welcomes 25 emerging filmmakers to build networks in a creative environment with “some of the most esteemed filmmakers and artists in the world.” Filmmakers and producers will also be able to network at “Match Club,” the hub for all Sales & Industry and Guest Relations Office delegates.

A complete list of aforementioned events for the festival – which runs September 10-19, 2009 – is below (with descriptions provided by the festival).


Barry Levinson Presents The Band That Wouldn’t Die
Barry Levinson has covered a lot of ground in his film career – from Southeast Asia in Good Morning, Vietnam to Las Vegas in Rain Man – but he always comes back to Baltimore. In this session, Levinson will present the world premiere of his latest work set in Baltimore, The Band That Wouldn’t Die, an hour-long documentary produced for ESPN Film’s 30 for 30 project, about a marching band that kept hope alive for the city’s football fans.

An Afternoon with Chris Rock
Chris Rock brings his comic insights to this Mavericks conversation, sitting down for an interview to highlight his new documentary, Good Hair (part of this year’s Festival), and branching out in spontaneous directions. Rock is never short on opinions. In Good Hair he focuses on the commerce and creativity behind African American hairstyles, unpacking a lot of cultural baggage that all of us carry, whether our hair is straight or curly.

La Danse – Le Ballet de l’Opera de Paris
In this veritable feast of a Mavericks session, documentary master Frederick Wiseman (Public Housing, Ballet, Titicut Follies) will present the North American premiere of his 160-minute film La Danse, followed by an extended conversation about this new work and his career. In La Danse, Wiseman allows us to observe multiple corners of the Paris Opera Ballet, from rehearsal studios to costume rooms to administrative offices. We get extensive access to choreographers as they work with dancers in both classical and modern styles. You needn’t be a dance aficionado to marvel at the beauty and athleticism on display.

Peter Berg Presents Kings Ransom
Peter Berg presents the world premiere of Kings Ransom, produced for ESPN Film’s 30 for 30 project. The hour-long documentary explores how Wayne Gretzky’s move from Canada to Los Angeles changed the game of hockey. For fans, it’s a must-see. But even those unfamiliar with the sport can connect to the universal themes and will be dazzled by the archival clips of Gretzky’s mastery on ice. The resulting work tells a powerful story of family, money, national pride and opportunities lost and gained. Afterwards, Berg will sit down for an extended discussion of the film and his friendship with Gretzky.

In Conversation with… Michael Caine
Sir Michael Caine has described himself as an Everyman. But not every man can match his achievements. In this Mavericks conversation, we’ll get a generous helping of the raconteur’s talents. The discussion will range freely around his distinguished career, including his latest film, Harry Brown, which premieres at this year’s Festival.

-For Dialogues and Industry Events, please continue to page 2-

Dialogues: Talking With Pictures

Ted Kotcheff
Ted Kotcheff’s Wake in Fright (a.k.a. Outback) developed a reputation as Australia’s lost masterpiece. After an extensive search that lasted years, the original film materials were finally located in a Pittsburgh vault in 2002, one week before their incineration. Following its screening in the retrospective programme at the Cannes Film Festival this past May, the North American premiere of the fully digitally restored film will be presented at the Festival by Ted Kotcheff. Brutal, uncompromising and stunning, Wake in Fright tells the story of John Grant, a young teacher whose overnight stay in a rough outback mining town extends to a five-day nightmarish odyssey of drinking, gambling, hunting and more drinking, plunging him toward his own destruction. Nominated for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1971, the film remains as fresh and relevant today as it was nearly forty years ago. “I loved the outback, with its unearthly colours and shapes, and this new digital print reveals colours and patterns I never saw in the original photochemical print of 1971. You will see the outback now as it actually is,” said Ted Kotcheff.

Neil Jordan
Neil Jordan’s first two films, Angel and The Company of Wolves, made a stunning impact and carved his way to become one of Ireland’s most celebrated directors. The Academy Award®-winning filmmaker and novelist returns to the Festival with the world premiere of his latest film, Ondine, and to present The White Sheik, Federico Fellini’s solo directorial debut. Featuring a wonderful score by Nino Rota, this charming and farcical romantic comedy by Fellini offers an affectionate and satirical look at romantic illusions as it follows newlyweds Ivan and Wanda on the least romantic honeymoon in history. Discussing this film in relation to Fellini’s subsequent work, Neil Jordan said: “You can see the hints of what would come later bursting through like an eruption from another film entirely. Another universe, almost. Which is why, the first time I saw The White Sheik, I kind of fell in love with it.”

Joe Dante
Veteran American director Joe Dante gained acclaim with Piranha (1978), whose executive producer was the legendary Roger Corman, and with The Howling (1981). Both films were scripted by John Sayles. Later on, Dante’s Gremlins (1984), a dark comedic horror film produced by Steven Spielberg, delighted and thrilled audiences of all ages. Dante’s in-joke movie references pervade his extensive film career, which includes Innerspace, Matinee, Small Soldiers and his latest film, in 3-D, The Hole, which makes its North American premiere at the Festival this year. As part of Dialogues, Dante will present a screening of Norman McLeod’s It’s a Gift, considered by critics and fans to be one of W.C. Fields’s finest films. The film showcases Fields’s adroitness as a physical comedian in this laugh-out-loud story of a henpecked New Jersey grocer with plans to use an inheritance to buy an orange grove in California. “When I was in college, the great W.C. Fields was venerated as a comedian equal to the Marx Brothers and Laurel and Hardy. His puncturing of pomposity and love of intoxicants endeared him to the anti-establishment youth culture,” said Joe Dante.

Sook-Yin Lee
Gifted Canadian musician, actress, filmmaker, television host and producer, Sook-Yin Lee has the world premiere of her debut feature, Year of the Carnivore, at this year’s Festival. For Dialogues, Lee will present a screening of Jane Campion’s first theatrical feature, Sweetie, a strikingly original and darkly comic work that centres on a dysfunctional pair of contrasting sisters. Using unusual colour, framing, angles and perspectives, Campion crafts an engaging and visually intriguing film that refuses to romanticize or sanitize mental illness. “What I so appreciate about Sweetie is Jane Campion’s singular and authentic voice, her determination to bring all of her characters to life with humanity,” said Sook-Yin Lee.

Industry Programmes

Master Class With Atom Egoyan
This Master Class is an intimate discussion with one of the industry’s most widely respected filmmakers. Auteur Atom Egoyan occupies a distinct position within Canadian filmmaking – his unequivocal authorial vision and inimitable style are sustained throughout a body of work that includes Next of Kin (1984), Family Viewing (1987), Speaking Parts (1989), The Adjuster (1991), Calendar (1993), Exotica (1994), The Sweet Hereafter (1997), Felicia’s Journey (1999), Krapp’s Last Tape (2000), Ararat (2002), Where the Truth Lies (2005), Adoration (2008) and Chloe (2009). Egoyan’s films appeal to national and international audiences alike and have met with wide critical acclaim and commercial success.

Tom McSorley, Executive Director of the Canadian Film Institute in Ottawa, will interview Egoyan live on stage. McSorley teaches film at Carleton University and is the film critic for the Ottawa Morning show on CBC Radio One. He is the editor of Rivers of Time: The Films of Philip Hoffman (2008) and is co-editor of Self Portraits: The Cinemas of Canada since Telefilm (2006) and Life Without Death: The Cinema of Frank Cole (2009). McSorley’s latest book, Atom Egoyan’s The Adjuster, will be released this fall through University of Toronto Press and available for purchase at select Festival box office locations. Master Class with Atom Egoyan will take place Tuesday, September 15, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Varsity Cinemas. A cocktail will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., location TBA.

Short Cuts Canada Roundtables
Short Cuts Canada Roundtables is an informal networking opportunity for directors and producers with a film in the 2009 Short Cuts Canada programme. The event celebrates these filmmakers and introduces them to key industry delegates including short film distributors, broadcasters, festival programmers and funders, via rotating roundtable discussions. Short Cuts Canada Roundtables will take place Thursday, September 17 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Match Club (5th Elementt restaurant). By invitation only.

Match Club
Match Club is a meeting space and lounge, the hub for all Sales & Industry and Guest Relations Office delegates, and the nexus for the international and Canadian film industries. International consultants are available on-site to help set up meetings and offer assistance as required. Held within Match Club are daily Meet With… events that provide the opportunity to attend an intimate and informal session on the hottest topics in today’s film industry. Please note that seating is limited and reservations are not accepted. Match Club is open 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Thursday, September 10, to Thursday, September 17, at 5th Elementt restaurant (1033 Bay Street), located just north of the Sutton Place Hotel. Match Club is open to all Sales & Industry pass holders as well as all Guest pass holders. For more information, please contact iio@tiff.net.

Meet With…
Meet With… is a series of informal and intimate information sessions on the hottest topics in today’s film industry. The sessions provide attendees with a unique opportunity to gain insight into the fundamentals of the business and craft of filmmaking from seasoned industry professionals. Meet With… is open to all Sales & Industry and Guest Relations Pass holders and runs from Friday, September 11 through to Thursday, September 17, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Match Club (5th Elementt Restaurant, 1033 Bay Street).

Meet With…topics will include feature comedy writing; digital distribution; DIY Web 2.0; what filmmakers and producers should know about the convergence of the film and videogame industries; an interview with a special selection of Variety’s Top 10 Producers to Watch; and the state of international film festivals. Meet With… guest speakers include Christine Aylward, Co-founder & CEO, MakingOf, Inc.; John Cooper, Director, Sundance Film Festival; Matt Dentler, Head of Programming and Marketing, Cinetic Media; John Galway, President, Astral Media The Harold Greenberg Fund; Paul Gertz, Executive Producer, Network Entertainment; Nathon Gunn, CEO, Social Game Universe; Sydney Levine, Strategic Planner, sydneysbuzz.blogspot.com; Jared Moshe, President, Sidetrack Films; Michael Regina, Founder, TheOneRing.net; Kevin Shortt, Lead Scriptwriter – Story Design, Avatar; Ubisoft; Matt Toner, President, Zeros 2 Heroes Media; and Ryan Werner, VP Marketing, IFC Films.

Telefilm Canada Pitch This!
Telefilm Canada PITCH THIS! celebrates its tenth anniversary at the Festival, offering aspiring filmmakers a start to their feature-film careers. In a live pitch environment, six participant teams have six minutes to pitch their feature-film idea to an audience of over 250 industry professionals. The winner will be selected by a jury of international industry experts. The prize is $10,000CAD to assist with costs related to project development. It will be hosted by Ennis Esmer, who starred in Young People Fucking (TIFF 2007) and plays Oz on CTV’s hit drama The Listener.

This year’s Telefilm Canada PITCH THIS! finalists are The Banquet, Gloria Ui Young Kim; Cry, Havoc, Sami Khan and Christian Magalhaes; Fit To Print, Daniel Perlmutter; The Livingstons, Andrew Malabre, Stuart McIntyre and Paul Matthews, Manitouwabi, Jeff Kopas; and Super Zeroes, Shane Belcourt and Duane Murray. Telefilm Canada PITCH THIS! will take place on Tuesday, September 15, 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Sutton Place Hotel, Stop 33 (955 Bay Street). Open to Sales & Industry and Guest pass holders.

Talent Lab
Talent Lab is a four-day intensive programme that offers artistic-development opportunities to emerging filmmakers. The programme provides participant filmmakers the opportunity to build networks in a creative environment and to learn from some of the most esteemed filmmakers and artists in the world.

Don McKellar (Last Night, Childstar, Blindness), one of the most prominent figures on the Canadian film scene, returns as one of four Talent Lab governors who mentor the participants, guiding them through sessions with guest speakers. Confirmed 2009 Talent Lab guests include: actor Tilda Swinton (I Am Love, The Limits of Control, Michael Clayton), cinematographer Christopher Doyle (Ondine, The Limits of Control, Paranoid Park), director Niki Caro (The Vintner’s Luck, North Country, Whale Rider), director Atom Egoyan (Chloe, Adoration, The Sweet Hereafter), director/producer Ivan Reitman (Chloe, Trailer Park Boys: The Movie, Ghostbusters), and producer Christine Vachon (Cracks, I’m Not There, Boys Don’t Cry).

The 2009 Talent Lab Participants: Trevor Anderson, Denise Blinn, Annie Bradley, Britt Crowley, Jamie M. Dagg, Sonya Di Rienzo, Stephen Dunn, Walter Forsyth, Sarah Galea-Davis, Gloria Ui Young Kim, Michelle Latimer, Elizabeth Lazebnik, Ayelen Liberona, Paul Matthews, Daniel Montgomery, Kazik Radwanski, Svet Rouskov, Daniel Schachter, Tamara Scherbak, Martin Smith, Katarina Soukup, Greg Spottiswood, Jane Tattersall, Ana Valine, David Widdicombe.

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