Showbiz kids bring talent to Toronto

Mon Sep 14, 2009 2:06am EDT
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By Borys Kit

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Call it Toronto: Next Gen. This year's crop of Toronto films feature a high number of features directed by the progenies of famous directors and other high profile parents.

Some, like Jason Reitman, whose "Up in the Air" is one its way to being one of the fest's more popular selections, are already well down their career paths. Drew Barrymore, established as an actress and producer, is taking a dip in the directing pool with her debut "Whip It!"

Then, there are also those making their first steps into the feature film world.

Jordan Scott, the daughter of director Ridley Scott, is showing off her directorial debut "Cracks," described as a "Lord of the Flies" set in an elite British boarding school during the 1930s. (Ridley Scott, in town to support his daughter, found himself besieged by industry well-wishers at the lobby of the Four Seasons at one point on Friday.)

Meanwhile, Francesca Gregorini and Tatiana von Furstenberg have co-directed "Tanner Hall," which premieres Monday night and is also set in boarding school.

Back in Los Angeles, there are lots of sons and daughters of the industry players who get into the entertainment game because they've developed a taste for fame -- if nothing else, they often end up with their own reality shows.

But the new crop of second-generation filmmakers turning up in Toronto are serious about carving out careers. And while they try to play down their connections, hoping that their work will speak for itself, they make no bones about it. Von Furstenberg's family tree included fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg and step-father, media mogul Barry Diller, who was the chairman of Paramount when Tatiana was growing up in the 1970s.

"Did I have doors opened for me? Of course," von Furstenberg said. "Have I been exposed to talented people and good business leaders? 100% true. Did I have a grandmother who had impeccable taste? Yes. All it does is serve as reference points in my life and inform who I am. But it's like anybody else; you pull from your past and your life references."   Continued...

<p>Director Jason Reitman listens during the news conference for the film "Up In The Air" at the 34th Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto September 12, 2009. REUTERS/Mike Cassese</p>