For the first time ever, Toronto International Film Festival along with Telefilm Canada had a pre-Toronto reception for the trade. Held at Soho House on a flawless L.A. day, with
views of West Hollywood and Beverly Hills all the way to the Pacific Ocean, the trade had the happy hours to greet and catch up with each other and to
preview trailers of the films Canada will be showing at the festival. And best of all, TIFF gave everyone a 2 lb. 4 oz. catalog (even more than one to gift
to other colleagues) to take home instead of having to pack them into our suitcases to take back from Toronto.
Maybe it’s the drought here in L.A. that gives me the yearning for rain, but the films on my must-see list include a couple about rain: the TIFF Doc,
“Monsoon” by Surla Gunnarsson and “October Gale” by
Ruba Nadda (“Cairo Time”) starring Patricia Clarkson and Scott Speedman, a Special Presentation being sold by Myriad.
Canada has the most coproduction treaties of any other nation, and Seoul Korea is the chosen city in this year’s City to City program. The coproduction
between Canada and So. Korea, “In Her Place” by
writer-director Albert Shin, showing in the Discovery Section looks very compelling. Elle Driver is selling this drama about a wealthy couple secretly
seeking to adopt the unborn child of an impoverished and troubled rural teenager.
Other trailers we watched included Contemporary World Cinema entries, “Felix and Meira” by Maxime Giroux, being sold by UDI – Urban Distribution
International, “Love in the Time of Civil War” by Rodrigue Jean (ISA: Les Films du 3 Mars) and “Heartbeat” by Andrea Dorfman.
In Midnight Madness, “The Editor” looks pretty good. Park Entertainment is selling it. Xavier Dolan, Bruce Greenwood and Catherine Keener star in “Elephant
Song” by Charles Biname which is a Special Presentation. Another Special Presentation is “Preggoland” by Jacob Tierney (“The Trotsky”).
Trailers from Discovery included “Guidance”, the debut film by Pat Mills, “Big Muddy”, “The Valley Below” by Kyle Thomas, “Wet Bum” by Lindsay Mackay,
(ISA: Traction Media), “Backcountry” by Adam MacDonald, (ISA: Event Film Distribution, US: contact Cinetic), “Bang Bang Baby” a surreal, fever-dream fusion
of small-town musical and 1950s sci-fi debut feature which writer-director Jeffrey St. Jules developed from his own short at the Cannes Film Festival
Peter Goldwyn of The Samuel Goldwyn Company and Matt Dentler of iTunes, talked up the
unprecedented (for a foreign language film) success reaching the top 20 films on iTunes of “ The German Doctor” directed by Lucia Puenzo.
Paul Federbush and I spoke of new horizons of the international labs of Sundance Institute. Sundance Industry’s Rosy Wong introduced me to Lisa Ogdie, Sundance FF’s Shorts Programmer. Strand’s Marcus Hu, who has two films in the festival (Films Distribution’s “Girlhood” and
Pyramide’s “Xenia”) was there, Frank Wuliger looking at the Gersh trailer of “October Gale”, Rebecca (Bec) Smith of UTA as were so many others.
New acquisitions gigs were discussed: Bobby Rock looking for international sales agent,Cinema Management Group ( Dene Anderberg, CMG’s VP of Sales and Operations,
was also there schmoozing) and for Random Media, the new U.S. distribution company founded by Eric Doctorow (formerly
head of Paramount Home Video) in November 2013, which will release films through Cinedigm.
Telefilm and TIFF have held a similar soiree for four years in NewYork. I’m sure Andrew Karpen, former Co-CEO of Focus Features, who is launching the new
distribution company Bleecker Street was there in N.Y.
Rachel Shapiro, also happily working on many projects at once and her friend, producer Melanie Backer, Laurie Woodrow of RightsTrade a global online marketplace for film, television and digital rights licensing whose “Market On Demand”
streamlines film, television, and digital rights sales and acquisitions for content owners, sales agents and distributors who can reach thousands of
industry buyers, and buyers can search, screen, and license rights from sellers of thousands of titles.
Bonnie Voland with her hands full for IM Global and its many lines, reminisced with Carolle Brabant, Executive Director of Telefilm Canada and Brigitte Hubmann of Telefilm about the five (!) regimes of the Toronto International Film Festival she has known…from before Helga Stephenson all the way to Cameron Bailey
who was there talking up the upcoming festival and hearing peoples’ raves or rants.
Also reminiscing with Brigitte about their days at Goethe Institut was Margit Kleinman who is now director of Villa Aurora, the artist-in-residence program for artists in Germany housed in the Pacific Palisades former
home of German émigré, the novelist Lion Furchtwanger. I didn’t have time to ask if they would host the German Academy Award party this year for their
submission for Best Foreign Language film, Dominik Graf’s “Beloved Sister”. Since its premiere at the Berlinale this year, international sales agent Global
Screen has sold the rights to Music Box for U.S. who will release it in December, and to Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Poland and Croatia thus far.
Our dear friend, Ian Birnie, programmer for Mumbai Film Festival and the Louisiana International Film Festival was there with so many others. It was a
wonderful moment to catch up and to forget the pressure we are all under preparing our screenings and meetings for TIFF.
Even though he wasn’t there, I want to mention a brief interchange I had with producer rep Cassian Elwes of Elevated Film Sales, who is repping “Black and
White” with Kevin Costner and co-repping the Paul Bettany movie with Jennifer Connelly, “Shelter”, with UTA at TIFF. “In Venice I have Bogdanovich’s ‘She’s
Funny that Way’ which is in a three way split between me, CAA and UTA and Joe Dante’s movie ‘Burying the Ex’ which I’m doing with CAA.”
Steven Raphael and MJ Pekos were fronting for the reception and also are repping “Voiceover” and “Dark Horse” at TIFF.
There was no need to show trailers to the buzz films like the Gala film “Foxcatcher”, which has Oscar expectations
are already swirling around it and which premiered in Cannes and is being sold by Kimberly Fox’s Panorama Media and Annapurna (already sold to Sony Pictures Classics for U.S. as well as to Canada-Métropole Films Distribution and Mongrel Media Inc., France-Mars Films, Germany-Koch Media Gmbh, Japan-Longride Inc. So. Korea-Green Narae Media, Switzerland-Ascot Elite Entertainment Group, Taiwan-Long Shong International, United Kingdom- Entertainment One Uk. The film has already earned Bennett Miller
the Best Director prize at Cannes.
Another not previewing was Benedict Cumberbatch starring in the much talked about Alan Turing biopic “ The Imitation Game”, and his portrayal
of the legendary British code breaker and mathematician is generating talk of a Best Actor nod at this year’s Academy Awards. FilmNation is repping this
and has already sold it to The Weinstein Company for U.S., Belgium
to Paradiso Filmed Entertainment, Greece to Seven Films, Hong Kong (China) to Edko Films Ltd, Israel to Lev Films (Shani Films), Italy toVidea – Cde S.P.A., Japan toGaga Corporation, So. Korea to Medialog Corp., Sweden to Svensk Filmindustri, Ab, Switzerland to Ascot Elite Entertainment Group, Taiwan to Applause Entertainment Ltd. Taiwan Branch, Thailand to M Pictures Co., Ltd.
Two other hot films are Lone Scherfig’s “The Riot Club” repped by Hanway and already sold to Universal Pictures for No. America, Belgium-Lumière, France-Selective Films, Germany-Prokino Filmverleih Gmbh, Hong Kong (China)-Golden Scene Company Limited, Italy-Notorious Pictures, Benelux-Lumiere, Poland-Kino Swiat, Switzerland-Pathe Films Ag, United Arab Emirates-Front Row Filmed Entertainment and the U.K. Kingdom-Universal Pictures International and Noah Baumbach’s “ While We’re Young”, produced by Scott Rudin and repped by FilmNation (again!), with no
sales on record yet.
See Cameron Bailey on CBC News discussing TIFF:
If you want to know more about sales in Toronto, please check back with www.SydneysBuzz.com/Reports for
the Toronto By Numbers Report and after the festival for the Toronto Rights Roundup.