August 25, 2015 / 6:13 PM / 4 years ago

Damon, Bullock lead stars descending on Toronto for 40th film festival

TORONTO (Reuters) - The 40th Toronto International Film Festival will play host to a star-studded roster of top filmmakers and movie stars next month, including Ridley Scott, Matt Damon, Sandra Bullock and Johnny Depp.

Actress Sandra Bullock poses at the premiere of the film "Minions," in Los Angeles, June 27, 2015. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

The festival, a frequent launch pad for Oscar contenders, will showcase 289 feature films and more than 100 shorts from 71 countries from Sept. 10 to Sept. 20, including 132 world premieres.

Director Scott and cast members of the highly anticipated space film, “The Martian,” are expected to be in Toronto for the film’s world premiere. Damon plays an astronaut fighting for survival on Mars after being presumed dead and left behind following a brutal storm.

Bullock and Billy Bob Thornton plan to be on hand for the world premiere of David Gordon Green’s “Our Brand is Crisis,” a film about rival American political strategists working to fix a Bolivian presidential election.

Returning favorites, director Jean-Marc Vallée and Jake Gyllenhaal, will present the festival opener, “Demolition,” while Kate Winslet and Liam Hemsworth will promote the world premiere of Australian film, “The Dressmaker,” directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse.

Helen Mirren and Bryan Cranston are expected to be in town for the world premiere of Jay Roach’s biopic “Trumbo”, about Hollywood blacklist victim Dalton Trumbo, while Michael Moore returns to the big screen with the first screening of “Where to Invade Next.”

Others expected in Toronto include: Cary Fukunaga and Idris Elba for “Beasts of No Nation”; Tom Hooper and Eddie Redmayne for “The Danish Girl”; Denis Villeneuve, Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro for “Sicario.”

The Toronto event, ranked among the world’s top film festivals, has grown dramatically from its launch in 1976, when some 80 films screened in five theaters.

The festival’s top prize, the People’s Choice Award, is voted on by festival attendees. Six of the last seven audience favorites became Best Picture Oscar nominees or winners, including “Slumdog Millionaire,” “The King’s Speech” and “12 Years a Slave.”

This year’s festival also includes a new juried program, as well as a new section that will showcase a selection of television shows from around the world.

Reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by Alan Crosby

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