TIFF 2011

TIFF announces first films of 2011 festival

TIFF 2011 is just over a month away, and earlier today festival CEO Piers Handling and co-director Cameron Bailey unveiled some of the films that will headline this year's event. The most surprising of these is surely opening night selection From the Sky Down, the Davis Guggenheim-directed documentary about U2, which will mark the first time in TIFF's history that a doc will launch the fest. I guess the idea is to draw the aging Irish rockstars to Toronto for some added celebrity oomph.

"When we were looking at possible opening night selections this year, it became clear that an inspiring account of artists honing their craft is the perfect film to kick off our 11-day celebration of artists, stories and voices from around the world," Bailey said at this morning's press conference. "This powerful marriage of music and film honours U2's talent, dedication, and music' Guggenheim's extraordinary access really speaks to the continued importance of the documentary form, and we look forward to sharing this film with audiences on our opening night."

Other high-profile films screening at this years festival include George Clooney's The Ides of March, Frances Ford Coppola's Twixt, David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method, Madonna's directorial debut with W.E., Lars von Trier's Melancholia, 360 by Fernando Mereilles, and Take This Waltz, directed by local talent Sarah Polley.

Along with the film announcements, Bailey also pointed out that in addition to the Lightbox there will be another venue in use for this year's festival. "We announced a couple of months ago that we'll be adding a new screening venue to the festival. The Princes of Wales theatre, steps away from TIFF Bell Lightbox will be used from September 9th to 12th, and it will be outfitted with a state of the art projection and audio system for both film and digital cinema. It can accommodate 1500 guests and will feature red carpet events."

Perhaps even more exciting for non-celebrity festival-goers is the news that public screenings have been increased for 2011. "Per the feedback we've received from our audience, we've increased the number of day time public screenings this year as well," Bailey revealed. With the exception of this last tidbit, today's programming announcements were of the big-money ilk, but much of the festival's bread and butter offerings are still to be announced. More details are expected over the course of August. So don't fret if you're not a U2 fan.

For a complete list of the films announced today, check out the TIFF website. This year's festival runs from September 8th to 18th.

With contributions and photo from Julian Carrington

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