International Film Festival announced their opening night film Thursday — Quebec filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallee’s 2016 Fox Searchlight release “Demolition,” starring Jake Gyllenhaal — and their high-profile Gala and Special Presentation programs. (Searchlight has debuted a spring release at TIFF before; the most recent example is “Belle,” which opened in May 2014 following TIFF 2013.)
The TIFF 2015 line-up features World Premieres from documentarian Michael Moore (top-secret doc “Where to Invade Next”), Jay Roach (“Trumbo”), Nicolas Hytner (“The Lady in the Van”), Peter Sollett (“Freeheld”), “Eye in the Sky” (Gavin Hood), Julie Delpy (“Lolo”), Rebecca Miller (“Maggie’s Plan”), Jason Bateman (“The Family Fang”), Stephen Frears (“The Program”) and Terence Davies (“Sunset Song”).
Of these, most likely to hit the awards circuit are biopic “Trumbo,” starring Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane, Elle Fanning, Louis C.K., Helen Mirren, and John Goodman (Bleecker Street, November 6) and “Freeheld,” starring Julianne Moore and Ellen Page as a couple fighting for their rights (Lionsgate, October 2). Mirren also stars in Entertainment One’s psychological thriller “Eye in the Sky.”
One notable world premiere is Ridley Scott’s sci-fi epic “The Martian,” based on the bestseller, starring Matt Damon as an astronaut who is left behind on Mars. The movie is building buzz, and Twentieth Century Fox may be testing the waters in Toronto for an awards campaign for the mainstream film, which would not be a likely candidate for Telluride’s highbrow lineup. The Hollywood Foreign Press and North American press corps cover Toronto like a blanket; many studios use the festival for a massive fall press junket –the movie opens October 2.
Also getting a world premiere press boost from Toronto will be Roland Emmerich’s historic “Stonewall” (Roadside Attractions, September 25) starring Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, and Brian Helgeland’s “LEGEND,” starring Tom Hardy as the Kray twins, which is listed as an International Premiere because the Working Title film opens September 9 in the UK before its October 2 Universal release in North America.
Already off the table for Toronto were the New York Film Festival’s opening and closing night films, Bob Zemeckis’s “The Walk” and Don Cheadle’s “Miles Ahead,” as well as the Centerpiece Gala, Danny Boyle’s “Steve Jobs” biopic, and Baltasar Kormakur’s Venice opener “Everest.”
Landing a prime position at a fall festival can make a difference in finding a distributor or launching an awards contender. So which films did Toronto score as World Premieres with attendant bragging rights, and which will turn up in Telluride or Venice? (Telluride will reveal its secret program on opening day, September 4, before the Labor Day weekend.) In the new transparent festival climate, Toronto declares World, Canadian and North American premieres.
As expected, a raft of films that were shown at Sundance, Berlin and Cannes will show in Toronto as Special Presentations: John Crowley’s “Brooklyn,” Adam Salky’s “I Smile Back,” Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Lobster,” Jacques Audiard’s Palme d’Or-winner “Dheepan,” Paolo Sorrentino’s “Youth,” Pablo Larrain’s “The Club,” Denis Villeneuve’s “Sicario,” Sebastian Schipper’s “Victoria,” Joachim Trier’s “Louder than Bombs,” Jia Zhang-ke’s “Mountains May Depart,” and László Nemes’ “Son of Saul.”
Many auteur-driven films that are acquisition titles without distributors will be slotted in the new Platform program
designed to showcase them via a competition.
Canadian premieres indicate movies that will be playing in the U.S. first, at Telluride (New York comes after Toronto). Many North American premieres will be playing in Venice. So let’s parse the line-up, as well as what’s missing from the Gala and Special Presentations line-up so far.
READ MORE: Toronto International Film Festival Reveals First Slate of Titles: New Ridley Scott and Cary Fukunaga Films Top List
Likely showing in Venice:
Already announced is Scott Cooper’s Whitey Bulger biopic “Black Mass,” starring Johnny Depp in heavy makeup and blue contact lenses, as well as Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sienna Miller, and Dakota Johnson. It was shown in rough early form to Cannes but wasn’t finished in time. Given its designation as a Canadian premiere it may show in Telluride as well. (Warner Bros., September 18)
Tom Hooper’s “The Danish Girl” brings out the feminine side of Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne, who costars with rising stars Alicia Vikander and Matthias Schoenaerts. (Working Title, Focus Features, November 27)
Atom Egoyan’s “Remember,” starring Dean Norris and Christopher Plummer. The Canadian filmmaker is seeking redemption for his Cannes bellyflop “The Captive.”
Likely showing in Telluride:
Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson’s indie-financed “Anomalisa,” starring Jennifer Jason Leigh (no distributor).
Cary Fukunaga’s African drama “Beasts of No Nation,” starring Idris Elba (Netflix).
“Room,” from Lenny Abrahamson (“Frank”) and novelist Emma Donoghue, starring Brie Larson as a woman held captive in a room for five years with her five-year-old son; Joan Allen co-stars as her mother (A24).
“Spotlight,” Thomas McCarthy’s drama about Boston Globe journalists who set out to expose Catholic sex abuse, stars Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Brian d’Arcy James, Michael Keaton, Stanley Tucci, Liev Schreiber, Billy Crudup, and John Slattery. (Open Road, November 6)
Notably missing so far, with many more Toronto announcements to come:
Weinstein Co.’s “Carol” and “Macbeth,” which will likely do the now traditional awards-focused dance: follow a Cannes launch by skipping Toronto and going to Telluride or New York.
Andrew Haigh’s Berlin hit “45 Years,” starring Tom Courtney and Charlotte Rampling as a long-married couple in crisis.
Sarah Gravron’s “Suffragette” (Focus Features) which will open the London Film Festival on October 7, but could play other festivals
Also missing from Toronto so far:
Luca Guadagnino’s “A Bigger Splash,” starring Matthias Schoenaerts, Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, and Dakota Johnson, which wasn’t ready for Cannes. (Fox Searchlight, undated)
Steven Spielberg’s international period thriller “Bridge of Spies,” written by Matt Charman, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, starring Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance and Amy Ryan. (Touchstone/DreamWorks/20th Century Fox, October 16)
Angelina Jolie’s romantic comedy “By The Sea” starring Jolie, Brad Pitt, Niels Arestrup, and Mélanie Laurent. (Universal, November 13)
Ron Howard’s 1820 ocean adventure “In the Heart of the Sea,” starring Chris Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker, Cillian Murphy, Tom Holland, Ben Whishaw, and Brendan Gleeson, tells the primal origin myth of Moby Dick with plenty of VFX. (Warner Bros., December 11)
Sean Penn’s “The Last Face” starring Charlize Theron as an international relief agency director and Javier Bardem as an aid relief doctor in war-torn Africa as well as Adele Exarchopoulos is seeking a distributor.
Jodie Foster’s “Money Monster” stars George Clooney, Jack O’Connell, and Julia Roberts. (TriStar/Sony, undated)
David Gordon Green’s “Our Brand Is Crisis” stars Sandra Bullock, Scoot McNairy, Billy Bob Thornton, Anthony Mackie and Ann Dowd. (Warner Bros., October 30).
James Vanderbilt’s backstage TV news drama “Truth” stars Robert Redford as Dan Rather, plus Cate Blanchett, Elisabeth Moss, Topher Grace, Dennis Quaid and Bruce Greenwood. (Sony Pictures Classics, undated)
The Amsterdam period romance “Tulip Fever,” based on the bestseller, leans heavily on blossoming star Alicia Vikander as a woman married to older man Christoph Waltz who has an affair with the young painter (Dane DeHaan) who comes to do her portrait. The movie also stars Dame Judi Dench as a nun. (TWC, November).
Movies likely opening too late to make the fall festivals include Christmas releases:
Alejandro González Inarritu’s frontier actioner “The Revenant,” which filmed in the far north in natural light with bearded Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter and Domhnall Gleeson, is still filming under tough conditions in Tierra del Fuego and will barely be finished in time for release. (20th Century Fox, December 25 limited)
Peter Landesman’s heart-tugger “Concussion” stars Will Smith as a South African doctor, Albert Brooks, Alec Baldwin, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Paul Reiser, and Luke Wilson. (Sony, December 25)
Quentin Tarantino’s claustrophobic western “The Hateful Eight,” starring Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Dern, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Demián Bichir, and Kurt Russell, is still in the editing room and likely won’t be done in time for fall fests. (The Weinstein Co., December 25)
David O. Russell ‘s “Joy” stars Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence as the powerhouse behind a business empire; her costars are Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, and Édgar Ramirez. Russell likes to futz in the editing room until the last moment. (20th Century Fox, December 25)
Oliver Stone’s “Snowden,” starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto, Tom Wilkinson, Rhys Ifans, Joely Richardson and Timothy Olyphant. (Open Road, December 25)
Below are the first announcements for the TIFF 2015 lineup (September 10 – 20).
“Demolition,” directed by Jean-Marc Vallee, USA, World Premiere
“Beeba Boys,” directed by Deepa Mehta, Canada, World Premiere
“Eye in the Sky,” directed by Gavin Hood, UK, World Premiere
“Forsaken,” directed by Jon Cassar, Canada, World Premiere
“Freeheld,” directed by Peter Sollett, USA, World Premiere
“Hyena Road (Hyena Road: Le Chemin du Combat),” directed by Paul Gross, Canada, World Premiere
“Lolo,” directed by Julie Delpy, France, World Premiere
“LEGEND,” directed by Brian Helgeland, United Kingdom, International Premiere
“The Man Who Knew Infinity,” directed by Matt Brown, United Kingdom World Premiere
“The Martian,” directed by Ridley Scott, USA, World Premiere
“The Program,” directed by Stephen Frears, United Kingdom, World Premiere
“Remember,” directed by Atom Egoyan, Canada, North American Premiere
“Septembers of Shiraz,” directed by Wayne Blair, USA, World Premiere
“Stonewall,” directed by Roland Emmerich, USA, World Premiere
“The Dressmaker,” directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse, Australia, World Premiere
“Anomalisa,” directed by Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson, USA, Canadian Premiere
“Beasts of No Nation,” directed by Cary Fukunaga, Ghana, Canadian Premiere
“Black Mass,” directed by Scott Cooper, USA, Canadian Premiere
“Brooklyn,” directed by John Crowley, United Kingdom/Ireland/Canada, Canadian Premiere
“The Club,” directed by Pablo Larrian, Chile, North American Premiere
“Colonia,” directed by Florian Gallenberger, Germany/Luxembourg/France, World Premiere
“The Danish Girl,” directed by Tom Hooper, United Kingdom/Sweden, North American Premiere
“The Daughter,” directed by Simon Stone, Australia, North American Premiere
“Desierto,” directed by Jonás Cuarón, Mexico, World Premiere
“Dheepan,” directed by Jacques Audiard, France, North American Premiere
“Families (Belles Familles),” directed by Jean-Paul Rappeneau, France, World Premiere
“The Family Fang,” directed by Jason Bateman, USA, World Premiere
“Guilty (Talvar),” directed by Meghna Gulzar, India, World Premiere
“I Smile Back,” directed by Adam Salky, USA, Canadian Premiere
“The Idol (Ya Tayr El Tayer),” directed by Hany Abu-Assad, United Kingdom/Palestine, World Premiere
“The Lady in the Van,” directed by Nicolas Hytner, USA, World Premiere
“Len and Company,” directed by Tim Godsall, USA, North American Premiere
“The Lobster,” directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, Ireland/United Kingdom/Greece/France/Netherlands, North American Premiere
“Louder than Bombs,” directed by Joachim Trier, Norway/France/Denmark, North American Premiere
“Maggie’s Plan,” directed by Rebecca Miller, USA, World Premiere
“Mountains May Depart (Shan He Gu Ren),” directed by Jia Zhang-ke, China/France/Japan, North American Premiere
“Office,” directed by Johnnie To, China/Hong Kong, International Premiere
“Parched,” directed by Leena Yadav, India/USA, World Premiere
“Room,” directed by Lenny Abrahamson, Ireland/Canada, Canadian Premiere
“Sicario,” directed by Denis Villeneuve, USA, North American Premiere
“Son of Saul (Saul Fia),” directed by László Nemes, Hungary, Canadian Premiere
“Spotlight,” directed by Tom McCarthy, USA, Canadian Premiere
“Summertime,” directed by Catherine Corsini, France, North American Premiere
“Sunset Song,” directed by Terence Davies, United Kingdom/Luxembourg, World Premiere
“Trumbo,” directed by Jay Roach, USA, World Premiere
“Un plus une,” directed by Claude Lelouch, France, World Premiere
“Victoria,” directed by Sebastian Schipper, Germany, Canadian Premiere
“Where To Invade Next,” directed by Michael Moore, USA, World Premiere
“Youth,” directed by Paolo Sorrentino, Italy/France/United Kingdom/Switzerland, North American Premiere
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