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Toronto Day 6: Minute by Minute

Toronto Day 6: Minute by Minute

Each day at the Toronto International Film Festival (September 9-19), indieWIRE is publishing a frequently updated dispatch from Toronto.

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6:30pm: Magnolia Pictures’ genre label Magnet has picked up worldwide rights to Bobcat Goldthwait’s “God Bless America,” the company said at the Toronto International Film Festival. Starring Joel Murray and Tara Lynn Barr, the film debuted at TIFF in the Midnight Madness section. More here.

3:30pm: Last night heard an eruptive applause at the Princess of Wales Theatre following the North American premiere of Jean-Marc Vallée’s powerful love drama “Café de Flore”. The film played well, basking in a diverse soundtrack featuring Pink Floyd and Doctor Rockit, with unique and startling editing techniques, and a script filled with laughs, love, and life. The producers, principal cast including Vanessa Paradis, and writer/director/editor Vallée were in attendance at the screening. The Q&A sparked questions about political correctness, the place of music in the film, and the depth of the three female leads written by Vallée: “He has a very deep love and understanding of women,” said Paradis. [Oliver Skinner]

2:40pm: Cohen Media Group has acquired Rebecca Hall starrer “The Awakening” for U.S. distribution out of the festival. Dominic West and Imelda Staunton also star in the period supernatural thriller. The film was sold by Studiocanal.

2:30pm: “Progressive families have been fertile ground for American sitcoms like “Will & Grace” and “Modern Family,”” wrote Eric Kohn in his review of “Friends With Kids,” making its world premiere here. “That Jennifer Westfeldt’s “Friends with Kids” successfully translates the appeal into feature-length format doesn’t exactly make it a great movie, but it’s a genuinely entertaining look at young people contemplating the next phases of their lives.” Go here for more.

2:45pm: Cinelan and top documentarians launch short film series. With underwriting from General Electric and the support of the Sundance and Tribeca film festivals, video publisher Cinelan is partnering with a cross-section of top nonfiction filmmakers on a short-film series spotlighting the “human power of ideas and invention.”

1:30pm: Curious as to why the Toronto scene has so far lead to skimpy sales? Check out Eric Kohn’s rundown of why this is the case, and whether things will change before the fest wraps this weekend.

12:20pm: At 29, Kirsten Dunst has more than 25 years’ experience. But nothing can quite compare to shooting “Melancholia” with Lars von Trier, the Danish bad-boy auteur who’s almost as well known for eliciting career-best performances from his actresses as he is for igniting controversy. We caught up with the actress in Toronto, here for the the North American premiere sans von Trier (he doesn’t fly). Go here to read what had to tell indieWIRE’s Nigel M. Smith about working for von Trier.

11:40am: Madonna sat down with Peter Knegt yesterday to talk “W.E.,” which had its North American premiere last night in Toronto. “I know that I did the best that I could do,” she said in defending her work, which some critics in Venice pounced on after its world premiere. “At the end of the day, I made the film to be judged as a film. Not for people to compare it to me.” Go here for full interview and here to listen to the full audio recording.

10:40am: Out of Toronto, Magnet Releasing has taken U.S. rights to Michael Dowse’s hockey comedy “Goon,” starring Seann William Scott, Jay Baruchel, Liev Schreiber and Alison Bill. The film was written by Baruchel with Superbad and Pineapple Express scribe Evan Goldberg. Magnet plans an early 2012 theatrical release as part of Magnolia’s Ultra VOD program. [Nigel M. Smith]

10:30am: ““You’re Next” doesn’t break new ground in the horror genre, but it sticks to rules that work,” wrote Eric Kohn in his review of the horror-comedy. Go here for more.

10:00am: Last night saw actress Isabelle Huppert and director Anne Fontaine premiere “My Worst Nightmare,” at the Winter Garden Theater to a packed house ready to laugh.

Anne Fontaine’s “My Worst Nightmare.” TIFF.

And laugh they did. In the broad Gallic romantic comedy, Huppert plays a fiercely uptight mother and art gallery honcho who butts heads up with the father of her son’s best friend, a brash and foul mouthed type (Benoît Poelvoorde in a raucous turn). Over the course of the film, he loosens her up and wouldn’t you know, the two opposites attract.

Following the screening, Huppert told the audience that she had a total blast shooting the project. For Fontaine, the comedy marked a chance of pace from her last film, the period drama “Coco Before Chanel.”

Huppert, who was fielded the majority of the questions was short in her responses but to the point. When asked what’s been her most challenging role to date, Huppert bluntly stated, “Challenge is not in my vocabulary.” And when asked how she stays energized to tackle as many projects as she does, she said without hesitation, “Because I work.” [Nigel M. Smith]

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