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Archive for September 10th, 2009

India & Indians @ TIFF – Toronto International Film Festival 2009

Posted by ElJay Arem (IMC OnAir) on September 10, 2009

TIFF-logo-2009-1The 2009 Toronto International Film Festival, (TIFF) will be held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and represents the 34th annual festival. Taking place from September 10 to September 19, 2009. The opening night gala will be the Charles Darwin biography Creation. The Young Victoria, based on the early years of Queen Victoria, will close the festival on September 19.

TIFF-Connecting-to-your-world-2009-1The festival begins the Thursday night after Labour Day (the first Monday in September, in Canada) and lasts for ten days. Between 300-400 films are screened at approximately 23 screens in downtown Toronto venues. Annual attendance at TIFF exceeds 300,000 from public and industry audiences. In terms of prestige, it is regularly ranked in the top five alongside Cannes, Berlin, Venice and Sundance.

Founded in 1976, the TIFF is now among the top prestigious film festivals in the world. In 1998, Variety magazine acknowledged that “the Festival is second only to Cannes in terms of high-profile pics, stars and market activity.” Quoted by the National Post in 1999, Roger Ebert claimed “…although Cannes is still larger, Toronto is just as great….” It is the premiere film festival in North America, from which the Oscars race begins.

The festival is centered around the Yorkville neighborhood, an upscale area in the downtown core. The festival is known for the buzz it brings to Yorkville and cameras and media have taken to covering the red carpet with fashion and interviews with the stars. Although the Festival has begun to give more attention to mainstream Hollywood films, it still maintains its independent roots. It features retrospectives of national cinemas and individual directors, highlights of Canadian cinema, and a variety of African, South American, and Asian films.

The festival is considered a launch pad for many studios to begin “Oscar-buzz” for their films; for example, Taylor Hackford‘s Ray premiered at the festival and garnered much attention for Jamie Foxx‘s portrayal of Ray Charles (for which he ultimately won the Academy Award for Best Actor); and Slumdog Millionaire, that went on to win 8 Oscars at the 2009 Academy Awards.

The Director and CEO of the Toronto International Film Festival, since 1994, is Piers Handling. In 2004, Noah Cowan became Co-Director of the Festival. In late 2007, Cowan was promoted to Artistic Director of Bell Lightbox, the Toronto International Film Festival Group’s (TIFFG) future home, while long-time programmer Cameron Bailey succeeded as Co-Director.

For last year’s 2008 festival, please see: 33rd Annual Toronto International Film Festival.

“India” at TIFF 2009:

Dev Benegal (India/USA)
Sweeping across India’s vast landscapes with projectors in tow, Road, Movie embraces two of cinema’s greatest pleasures – the open road and the love of movies for their own glorious sake. Powered by the same desire to venture into unknown territory that inspires so many road stories, Dev Benegal’s new feature has the distinct advantage of terrain and characters too rarely seen onscreen.Young and …

Anurag Singh (India)
Fans know that Rani Mukherjee is one of the most beautiful, dynamic women ever to grace a movie screen. Cinephiles know her acting skills are unmatched in Indian cinema. Opportunities rarely come along to see her in a film that draws equally on her dramatic talents and her glam appeal, but My Heart Goes Hadippa is just the ticket. Featuring sparkling comic performances from both Mukherjee and her…

Ashutosh Gowariker (India)
With Jodhaa Akbar and the Academy Award-nominated Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India under his belt, Ashutosh Gowariker is justly celebrated for his lush period epics. Even his contemporary film Swades: We, the People had a soaring, serious dramatic bent. Who knew he’d been waiting for the right moment to leap into romantic comedy?And who knew he’d do it so beautifully? Light, sparkling and someti…

Buddhadeb Dasgupta (India)
Buddhadeb Dasgupta’s tales of Bengali life are both searing social comment and pure poetry. It’s a delicate balance, and in The Window he once again transforms the complexities of today’s India into a song of many harmonies.Bimal and Meera are a young Kolkata couple, very much in love and on the verge of being married. But Bimal has an idealistic streak. On a visit to his old school, he sees how …

Dilip Mehta (Canada)
Transplanting the upstairs-downstairs comedy to New Delhi, Dilip Mehta has crafted a delightful feature debut scripted in collaboration with his acclaimed sister, director Deepa Mehta. Featuring charming turns from Don McKellar and Lisa Ray and a standout performance by Seema Biswas, Cooking with Stella is great fun to watch as it offers a glimpse of how Canadians live in India’s capital.As head …

Laxmikant Shetgaonkar (India)
Drawing together a keen environmental sensitivity with a nuanced view of village dynamics, The Man Beyond the Bridge is a rare find from rural India. Unfolding in Konkani – a language with no unique script that almost never appears in films – this is a gentle romance set against the lovely forest setting of Goa’s Western Ghats.Vinayak is a forest ranger. His wife has died, leaving him lonely as h…

Zippi Brand Frank (Israel)
Necessity may be the mother of invention. But who is the parent of a child when the sperm comes from Israel, the egg comes from the United States and the surrogate pregnancy takes place in Gujarat, India? Welcome to the brave new world of outsourcing birth. The system is driven by law and economics. In Israel, the practice of using surrogate mothers is marred by legal roadblocks. In the United St…

NeighbourhoodsToronto is a city of great neighbourhoods, each with its own unique character. From trendy hotspots and shopping in Yorkville, to rich heritage in the Historic Distillery District, to the colourful flavours of Little India, to the busy, narrow streets of Kensington Market, Toronto is one of the most diverse cities in the world! We encourage you to visit Tourism Toronto’s Neigh…

Vimukthi Jayasundara (Sri Lanka)
Sri Lanka’s civil conflict raged so furiously for twenty-six long years that when it was declared over, one of the main reactions was numb disbelief. Director Vimukthi Jayasundara last explored the hollow absurdities of his homeland’s war in The Forsaken Land. Four years later, the fighting has stopped but the stark symbols of war are not so easily erased. Because Jayasundara is at heart a symbol…

Setting up an intense reciprocal gaze, Lisandro Alonso – whose work consistently explores the personal quests of men navigating natural settings – creates a face-to-face encounter with the wild in the beguiling and enigmatic S/T, a moment observed in a seemingly floating abyss. Observation is similarly the main modus of Harun Farocki’s latest film, In Comparison, which revisits issues explored …

Wavelengths concludes on a ruminative note, with art partaking in time’s inevitable passage, solicitously illuminating the path along the way. Ute Aurand’s Snowing Chestnut Blossoms is reminiscent of her 2006 film The Butterfly in Winter (co-directed with Maria Lang) in its gentle, yet unsparing observations on aging and mortality. This time, Aurand turns the camera on her own parents, lovingly r…

Harun Farocki (Germany/Austria)
Observation is also the main modus of Harun Farocki’s latest film, In Comparison (Austria/Germany), which revisits issues explored in the director’s 2007 two-channel installation Comparison Via a Third. This handsome 16mm colour film, which will have its North American premiere in Toronto, is a deceptively contemplative documentary about contemporary brick production. Spanning continents and cult…

Paramita Nath (Canada)
In 1978, Toronto poet Souvankham Thammavongsa was born in a Lao refugee camp in Thailand. Based on her book of poems inspired by her father’s discarded scrapbook, Found documents the fragile beginnings of her life. Interweaving photos, home video and animation with Thammavongsa’s compelling poetry, Found is a thoughtful meditation on connecting with one’s past and measuring its worth. …

Latest Press Releases…

Here is where you will find all official News Releases on all TIFF initiatives, including the Toronto International Film Festival, Sprockets Toronto International Film Festival for Children, Cinematheque Ontario, Talk Cinema, Film Circuit, the Film Reference Library, Canada’s Top Ten, Bell Lightbox and Industry Programming and Services.

(Source: 09/2009 – TIFF – Toronto Internatinal Film Festival)

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