TIFF 2008 Press Conference

TIFF Reveals Canadian Features for 2008 Festival

It was a Tuesday like any other, that is until I walked into the Fairmont Royal York Hotel and almost stepped on the shoe of TIFF's Co-Director Cameron Bailey, rubbed elbows (literally, trying to get through the crowd) with Sook-Yin Lee, and couldn't think of anything interesting to say to Jason Jones. Other than that, it was quite the normal line-up of Canadian personalities yesterday at the Toronto International Film Festival's Canadian Press Conference. A lead up to the many festival announcements expected for TIFF 2008, the conference covered a variety of things from new venues and initiatives, to Special Presentation and Gala announcements and Canadian feature selections.

The conference started with the Canadian Special Presentation announcements which were of no surprise, I'm sure, to 90% of the people in attendance. Joining Atom Egoyan's Adoration will be Fernando Meirelles's Blindness, based on the popular novel, starring Julianne Moore, as well as Deepa Mehta's Heaven on Earth, starring Bollywood actress Preity Zinta who starred in her first English role in last year's The Last Lear. The last addition to the Special Presentations will be Philippe Falardeau's C'est pas moi, je le jure! (It's not me, I swear!) The film centers around a disturbed 10 year old boy, the summer his mother abandons him and moves to Greece. And this is only the beginning of the films circling around pre-teen protagonists...

New gala presentation announcements included Fifty Dead Men Walking by Kari Skogland who recently brought us an adaptation of The Stone Angel at this year's Female Eye Film Festival. Fifty Dead Men Walking is based on the true story of Martin McGartland, a young man hired by the British Police to be a double-agent by spying in the IRA. Starring up-and-comer Jim Sturgess alongside Rose McGowan and Ben Kingsley, the film is sure to make some noise at the festival.

The Canadian Open Vault film that will be featured this year is Francois Gerard's Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould, former winner of Best Canadian Feature Film at TIFF in 1993 and the subsequent Best Motion Picture winner of the Genies that year. Starring Colm Feore as the classical Canadian pianist Glenn Gould, the film is made up of thirty two short films exploring pieces of the personal and public life of the artist.

The Canada First programme which features debut feature films from Canadian directors has something to celebrate this year with the selection of Edison and Leo, Canada's first stop-motion animated feature length film. Edison and Leo is a fairy-tale-gone-wrong that explores a dysfunctional family, the birth of electricity and comes complete with a robotic dog named Pickle. All I can say is, look out Wallace and Gromit!

Other interesting selections include Toronto Stories, made up of 4 films by directors such as Sudz Sutherland and Sook-Yin Lee, Nurse.Fighter.Boy a debut feature film by director Charles Officer about a boy, his mother (a nurse) and a boxer and how their meeting will cause their lives to be entwined and last but not least, my interest was piqued by Bruce McDonald's first attempt at horror with his film Pontypool, selected for the Vanguard programme. A deadly virus has taken over the small Ontario town of Pontypool and it's up to staff at a local radio station to save themselves while trying to get a message to the outside world.

This, and so much more can be found on the TIFF website under press releases. Check back with blogTO throughout the summer for more updates on the festival and the films you cannot miss. The Toronto International Film Festival 2008 runs from September 3rd to the 14th.


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