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TORONTO (Reuters) - The Toronto International Film Festival will wrap up its 10-day run in September with the world premiere of "Song for Marion", a heartwarming story about the power of music from a director better known for his thrillers than feel-good fare.
"Song for Marion" stars Terence Stamp as Arthur, a grumpy retiree, and Vanessa Redgrave as his wife. Gemma Arterton plays a choir director who coaxes Arthur out of his shell in the film by British writer-director Paul Andrew Williams.
Opening on September 6 and considered a launching site for Hollywood's Oscar race, the 37th edition of the Toronto festival will feature films starring Ryan Gosling, Tom Hanks and Robert De Niro, as well as Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut.
Along with the closing night film, organizers on Tuesday announced three new galas, including the world premieres of "Emperor", a historical epic starring Tommy Lee Jones about the U.S. occupation of Japan after World War Two, and "What Maisie Knew," a family drama centered around a 7-year-old caught up in a chaotic custody battle.
TIFF will also host the North American premiere of Spike Lee's "Bad 25", a documentary that celebrates the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson's highly influential album "Bad".
The festival promises a flock of familiar faces in new roles, from Colin Firth as a failed golfer in "Arthur Newman" to Philip Seymour Hoffman as a cult leader in "The Master".
Launched in 1976, TIFF now ranks with festivals such as Cannes and Sundance among the world's top movie events, and serves as a launching point for international films seeking North American distribution.
The festival enjoys a record of unearthing gems that go on to success at the Academy Awards, such as "Slumdog Millionaire" and "The King's Speech," which both won best-film Oscars.
The 21 movies named on Tuesday complete the full lineup for the festival, which includes 48 world premieres. All told there will be 20 Gala screenings and 70 special presentations.
Reporting by Julie Gordon; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Leslie Gevirtz