Redford and Estevez films to make debut at Toronto

Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:53pm EDT
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By Cameron French

TORONTO (Reuters) - World premieres by directors Robert Redford and Emilio Estevez are among the highlights of this year's Toronto International Film Festival, which will feature a slimmer lineup of movies than in years past.

The 35th edition will screen about 290 films, below the typical roster of around 350 titles, the festival's CEO and director, Piers Handling, said on Tuesday. There were 312 films in 2009, a year when the independent film industry was wracked by the recession.

The downturn led to a dearth of distribution deals last year, and industry watchers are looking for signs that the business is now on the mend.

Handling said he's already seen an upturn in film funding.

"It's back to where it was two years ago," he said following a press conference where he and co-director Cameron Bailey unveiled partial list of 50 films, half of which will make their world premieres in Toronto.

Launched in 1976, TIFF now ranks with festivals such as Cannes and Sundance, and serves as a landing point for international films seeking North American exposure and distribution. It also has a strong record of unearthing films that go on to success at the Academy Awards.

The festival will screen films starring Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, Paul Giamatti, Robert DeNiro and others. Even though the lineup is a little smaller than last year's, it will run for 11 days when it opens September 9, one more than usual.

"This will give the audience a chance to find a hidden gem they may have missed," said Bailey.   Continued...

<p>Robert Redford poses for a portrait in New York, November 12, 2008. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>