Toronto film festival promises action, India, Affleck
By Cameron French
TORONTO (Reuters) - The Toronto International Film Festival promises a heavy dose of popcorn movies on a slate normally noted for Oscar contenders, opening with time-travel thriller "Looper" and featuring premieres of films directed by Ben Affleck, Robert Redford and Tom Twyker.
Opening on September 6 and widely considered a kick-off to Hollywood's Oscar season, the 37th edition of the festival will feature films starring Ryan Gosling, Tom Hanks and Robert De Niro, as well as Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut and many movies from India.
"Looper," directed by Rian Johnson and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis as a time-traveling assassin assigned to kill his future self, was one of 62 titles announced by the festival on Tuesday. It is the third straight year the festival, known as TIFF, has launched with a non-Canadian film.
While the opening-night spot at festivals such as Cannes and Sundance is considered an honor, the leadoff in Toronto has typically been used to showcase smaller Canadian films that otherwise received little widespread attention.
The festival tried to change that with the opening-day screening of the U2 documentary "From the Sky Down" in 2011, and festival director Piers Handling acknowledged starting this year's event with an action movie makes a statement.
"I think (it) will set a very different, very important tone," he said. "For your opening-night film, you want a film that actually commands the screen, that is entertaining, that people will really enjoy and get their heads into the rest of the festival."
Also aiming to fill seats will be political thriller "Argo", helmed by and starring Affleck, Redford's "In the Company You Keep," about a civil-rights lawyer exposed as a fugitive for murder and the hotly anticipated "Cloud Atlas," an adaptation of the best-selling novel starring Hanks and Halle Berry, directed by Twyker and "Matrix" co-directors Andy and Lana Wachowski.
37TH YEAR Continued...