AFI FEST 2009 PRESENTED BY AUDI
ANNOUNCES THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY’S “A SINGLE MAN”
AS CLOSING NIGHT GALA PRESENTATION
SONY PICTURES CLASSICS’
“THE IMAGINARIUM OF DR. PARNASSUS”
IS CENTERPIECE SCREENING GALA PRESENTATION
PROGRAMMING INCLUDES TRIBUTES TO
VIGGO MORTENSEN AND CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER
COMPLETE FESTIVAL LINEUP ANNOUNCED
TICKETS AVAILABLE STARTING FRIDAY, OCTOBER 16
LOS ANGELES (October 14, 2009)—AFI FEST 2009 presented by Audi today announced the complete lineup of films for the 23rd edition of the Festival, including the Closing Night Gala, Centerpiece Screening, Tributes and Special Presentations.
The Weinstein Company’s A SINGLE MAN has been selected as the AFI FEST Closing Night Gala presentation. A SINGLE MAN will make its US Premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on Thursday, November 5, 2009.
Sony Pictures Classics’ THE IMAGINARIUM OF DR. PARNASSUS has been selected as AFI FEST’s Centerpiece Screening Gala presentation. THE IMAGINARIUM OF DR. PARNASSUS will make its US Premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on Monday, November 2, 2009.
The Closing Night Gala presentation of A SINGLE MAN features the directorial debut of fashion designer Tom Ford from his script adaptation of Christopher Isherwood’s acclaimed novel. The film follows a day in the life of a gay British college professor in Los Angeles as he attempts to cope with the death of his partner. Ford’s work helming the project and Colin Firth’s lead performance in the film have received critical acclaim following screenings at the Venice and Toronto film festivals. Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode and Ginnifer Goodwin also star in the film. The Weinstein Company release is due in theaters on December 11.
Ford, Firth and Moore are scheduled to attend.
“It is exciting to champion a talented artist like Tom Ford as he moves beyond the boundaries of one medium into another. In A SINGLE MAN, he delivers an elegant and beautiful personal story that will resonate with all audience members“ said AFI FEST Artistic Director Rose Kuo.
The Centerpiece Screening Gala presentation features the latest work by director Terry Gilliam. THE IMAGINARIUM OF DR. PARNASSUS follows the leader of a traveling theater troupe who, having made a deal with the devil, takes audience members through a magical mirror to explore their imaginations. The film stars Christopher Plummer, Tom Waits, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farrell and Heath Ledger in his final role. The Sony Pictures Classics release is due in theaters stateside on December 25.
Gilliam and Plummer are scheduled to attend.
“The mind-altering, looking-glass world that Terry Gilliam creates in THE IMAGINARIUM OF DR. PARNASSUS,” notes Director of Programming Robert Koehler, “is like a model for his ideal cinema, in which anything can happen and all rules are broken. If audiences thought that THE DARK KNIGHT was their last glimpse of Heath Ledger, then what Ledger brings to Gilliam’s fantasy-adventure will surprise them.”
AFI FEST has selected actors Christopher Plummer and Viggo Mortensen to receive tributes at this year’s Festival. Sponsored by the Skirball Cultural Center, Plummer’s tribute event will precede the screening of his film THE LAST STATION on Tuesday, November 3. Mortensen’s tribute will precede the US Premiere of the film THE ROAD on Wednesday, November 4. Both Tributes will take place at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.
One of the world’s most respected actors, Plummer has won two Tony Awards (for CYRANO and BARRYMORE), three Drama Desk Awards, the National Arts Club Medal and two Emmys. He was a leading member of Laurence Olivier’s Royal National Theatre and Peter Hall’s Royal Shakespeare Company. Since appearing in Sidney Lumet’s STAGE STRUCK (1958), his more than 100 films have included WIND ACROSS THE EVERGLADES (1958), THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965), WATERLOO (1970) and TWELVE MONKEYS (1995), THE INSIDER (1999), A BEAUTIFUL MIND (2001), SYRIANA (2005) and INSIDE MAN (2006). He stars as Leo Tolstoy in THE LAST STATION and plays the title role in THE IMAGINARIUM OF DR. PARNASSUS.
John Hillcoat THE ROAD is adapted from the acclaimed novel by Cormac McCarthy, THE ROAD stars Mortensen as a father making his way with his young son across the scorched landscape of a post-apocalyptic world. Directed by Hillcoat from a script by Joe Penhall, the film also stars Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce and Molly Parker. The Weinstein Company release is due in theaters November 25.
Mortensen, Hillcoat and Theron are scheduled to attend.
From his debut in Peter Weir’s WITNESS (1985) to his signature role of Aragorn in Peter Jackson’s LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, Mortensen’s career has been highlighted by intensely stunning portrayals of men of strict and uncompromising character dealing with a shifting moral universe. Notable films include Sean Penn’s INDIAN RUNNER (1991), Gregory Widen’s THE PROPHECY (1995), Ridley Scott’s G.I. JANE, Tony Goldwyn’s A WALK ON THE MOON (1999), David Cronenberg’s A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE (2005) and EASTERN PROMISES (2007)—for which he received Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations—and Ed Harris’ APPALOOSA (2008).
“Viggo Mortensen and Christopher Plummer are two actors and film artists of the highest order,” said Kuo. “They share that rare trait of being looked up to by audiences and film fans around the world as well as being greatly respected by their peers.”
Other highlights among the complete film schedule announced today include Jonathan Demme’s music documentary NEIL YOUNG TRUNK SHOW (with Demme and Young confirmed to attend) and the screening of two films connected by legendary art director and longtime AFI Conservatory Distinguished Lecturer Robert Boyle, who turned 100 on October 10. Those films are AFI Conservatory Alumnus Daniel Raim’s (Production Design ’99) documentary SOMETHING’S GONNA LIVE and Alfred Hitchcock’s classic NORTH BY NORTHWEST, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
A follow-up to Raim’s Oscar-nominated documentary, THE MAN ON LINCOLN’S NOSE, SOMETHING’S GONNA LIVE profiles Boyle (THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR, THE BIRDS) and renowned art directors Henry Bumstead (TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, THE STING), Harold Michelson (STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE, CATCH-22) and Albert Nozaki (THE WAR OF THE WORLDS, THE TEN COMMANDMENTS), as well as master cinematographers Conrad Hall (IN COLD BLOOD, BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID) and Haskell Wexler (WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT). From snapshots, sketches and vintage footage interwoven with interviews and new scenes of these octogenarian artists at work, we get a behind-the-scenes look at master moviemaking.
Boyle and Wexler will attend the World Premiere screening.
On Monday, November 2, AFI FEST, in conjunction with Warner Home Video will present a special screening of Hitchcock’s NORTH BY NORTHWEST. The first Hitchcock film to be released on Blu-ray, the film has been restored and remastered for its 50th anniversary. As part of the Gala event, director William Friedkin will attend to moderate a Q&A with Boyle and the film’s stars Eva Marie Saint and Martin Landau.
Koehler noted, “In our 23rd year, our programming seeks to shine a light on an international cinema landscape filled with brilliant young filmmakers forging fresh, unexpected pathways, documentarians on a quest for truth, and a fascinating survey of stop-motion animation (FANTASTIC MR. FOX, IN THE ATTIC, A TOWN CALLED PANIC), while delivering what AFI FEST has done from the beginning—offering audiences a view of the vastness of cinema across the world.”
AFI FEST continues its unique and successful association with the American Film Market with 23 of the features in official selection at AFI FEST represented by distributors at AFM, unfolding concurrently with AFI FEST from November 4–November 11. The following films are among those that will participate in the market and screen at the festival: AFTER.LIFE; THE BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL, NEW ORLEANS; BELLAMY; CITY OF LIFE AND DEATH; EVERYONE ELSE; FIRST OF ALL, FELICIA; FISH TANK; THE HOLE; THE IMAGINARIUM OF DR. PARNASSUS; KANIKOSEN; THE LAST STATION; THE LOVED ONES; THE MESSENGER; THE MILK OF SORROW; MOTHER; NEIL YOUNG TRUNK SHOW; PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL PUSH BY SAPPHIRE; THE ROAD; THE SILENT ARMY; A SINGLE MAN; THE TWO HORSES OF GENGHIS KHAN; WOMAN WITHOUT PIANO; YOUTH IN REVOLT.
Enhancing the AFI FEST/American Film Market alliance, the final two days of AF FEST (November 6-7) will screen at the Laemmle’s Monica 4-plex, 1332 2nd Street, Santa Monica, in close proximity to AFM headquartered activity.
AFI FEST 2009’s overall lineup will showcase 67 features (54 narrative, 13 documentary) and 26 shorts for a total of 93 films from 32 countries.
The breakdown by section is Galas/Tributes (7), New Lights Competition (11), Special Presentations (3), Documentary (13), World Cinema (27), Alt_Cinema (6) and Shorts (26).
The Festival is headquartered at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. All screenings from October 30–November 5 will take place at the Grauman’s Chinese and Mann Chinese 6 theaters in Hollywood with the final two days of the Festival (November 6-7) screening at the Laemmle’s Monica 4-plex in Santa Monica.
Free tickets to all Festival screenings are available online at AFI.com/AFIFEST or by phone at 866-AFI-FEST beginning October 16, at the Mann Chinese 6 Theatre (6925 Hollywood Blvd.) in the Hollywood and Highland Center) beginning October 26, and on the day of scheduled screenings via Rush Lines. Early entry to all screenings can be secured by becoming a patron of the Festival and purchasing an AFI FEST Patron Pass. For more details, visit AFI.com.
The complete program line-up for AFI FEST 2009 presented by Audi is as follows:
Opening Night Gala—FANTASTIC MR. FOX (North American Premiere) Cast: George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Wally Wolodarsky, Eric Anderson, Michael Gambon, Willem Dafoe, Owen Wilson, Jarvis Cocker DIR: Wes Anderson PROD: Allison Abbate, Scott Rudin, Wes Anderson and Jeremy Dawson USA
Centerpiece Gala—THE IMAGINARIUM OF DR. PARNASSUS (US Premiere) Cast: Christopher Plummer, Tom Waits, Heath Ledger, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farrell DIR: Terry Gilliam PROD: Amy Gilliam, Terry Gilliam, Samuel Hadida, William Vince EXEC PROD: Patrice Theroux, David Valleau USA
Gala—EVERYBODY’S FINE (World Premiere) Cast: Robert De Niro, Drew Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale, Sam Rockwell, Melissa Leo DIR: Kirk Jones PROD: Vittorio Cecchi Gori, Ted Field, Glynis Murray, Gianni Nunnari EXEC PROD: Craig J. Flores, Callum Greene USA
Tribute—THE LAST STATION Cast: Christopher Plummer, Helen Mirren, Paul Giamatti, James McAvoy DIR: Michael Hoffman PROD: Bonnie Arnold, Chris Curling EXEC PROD: Andrei Konchalovsky, Robert Little, Phil Robertson, Judy Tossell UK/Germany
Gala—PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL PUSH BY SAPPHIRE Cast: Gabourey Sidibe, Mo’Nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey, Sheri Shepherd, Lenny Kravitz DIR: Lee Daniels PROD: Lee Daniels, Gary Magness, Sarah Siegel-Magness EXEC PROD: Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, Lisa Cortes, Tom Heller USA
Tribute—THE ROAD (US Premiere) Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Charlize Theron, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce, Molly Parker DIR: John Hillcoat PROD: Paula Mae Schwartz, Steve Schwartz, Nick Wechsler EXEC PROD: Marc Butan, Mark Cuban, Rudd Simmons, Todd Wagner USA
Closing Night Gala—A SINGLE MAN (US Premeiere) Cast: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode, Ginnifer Goodwin DIR: Tom Ford PROD: Tom Ford, Andrew Miano, Robert Salerno, Chris Weitz USA
A showcase honoring film history and its filmmakers.
NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959) Cast: Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Jessie Royce Landis, Leo G. Carroll, Martin Landau DIR: Alfred Hitchcock PROD: Herbert Coleman, Alfred Hitchcock USA
SOMETHING’S GONNA LIVE (World Premiere) Subjects: Robert “Bob” Boyle, Haskell Wexler, Henry Bumstead, Harold Michelson, Albert Nozaki DIR: Daniel Raim PROD: Daniel Raim USA
WAKE IN FRIGHT Cast: Gary Bond, Donald Pleasence, Chips Rafferty, Sylvia Kay, Jack Thompson DIR: Ted Kotcheff PROD: George Willoughby, EXEC PROD: Bill Harmon, Howard G. Barnes Australia
NEW LIGHT COMPETITION
This section features and honors vital, groundbreaking films by first- and second-time feature filmmakers from around the world.
AJAMI Cast: Fouad Habash, Nisrine Rihan, Elias Saba, Youssef Sahwani DIR: Scandar Copti, Yaron Shani PROD: Moshe Danon, Thanassis Karathanos EXEC PROD: James Richardson Israel/Germany
EASIER WITH PRACTICE Cast: Brian Geraghty, Marguerite Moreau, Jeanette Brox, Jenna Gavigan, Katie Aselton DIR: Kyle Patrick Alvarez PROD: Cookie Carosella USA
EVERYONE ELSE (ALLE ANDEREN) Cast: Birgit Minichmayr, Lars Eidinger, Hans-Jochen Wagner, Nicole Marischka DIR: Maren Ade PROD: Maren Ade, Dirk G. Engelhardt, Janine Jackowski Germany
FIRST OF ALL, FELICIA (FELICIA INAINTE DE TOATE) Cast: Ozana Oancea, Vasile Mentzel, Ileana Cernat, Adina Andrei DIR: Razvan Radulescu, Melissa de Raaf PROD: Ada Solomon Romania/France/Belgium/Croatia
FISH TANK Cast: Michael Fassbender, Harry Treadaway, Katie Jarvis, Kierston Wareing DIR: Andrea Arnold PROD: Kees Kasander EXEC PROD: Christine Langan, David M. Thompson, Paul Trijbits UK
I KILLED MY MOTHER Cast: Anne Dorval, Xavier Dolan, François Arnaud, Suzanne Clément DIR: Xavier Dolan PROD: Xavier Dolan EXEC PROD: Carole Mondello Canada
THE MESSENGER Cast: Woody Harrelson, Samantha Morton, Ben Foster, Jena Malone DIR: Oren Moverman PROD: Benjamin Goldhirsh, Mark Gordon, Lawrence Inglee, Zach Miller EXEC PROD: Steffen Aumueller, Nathaniel Bolotin, Christopher Mapp, Shaun Redick, Glenn M. Stewart, Matthew Street, David Whealy, Bryan Zuriff USA
THE MILK OF SORROW (LA TETA ASUSTADA) Cast: Magaly Solier, Susi Sánchez, Efrain Solis, Marino Ballón DIR: Claudia Llosa PROD: Antonio Chavarrías, Claudia Llosa, José María Morales Spain/Peru
NORTHLESS (NORTEADO) Cast: Harold Torres, Alicia Laguna, Sonia Couoh, Luis Cárdenas DIR: Rigoberto Perezcano PROD: Edgar San Juan EXEC PROD: Sergio Castro, Hector Hernandez-Pons, Alejandro Martinez-Gallardo Mexico/Spain
POLICE, ADJECTIVE Cast: Dragos Bucur, Vlad Ivanov, Irina Saulescu, Ion Stoica DIR: Corneliu Porumboiu PROD: Corneliu Porumboiu Romania
WOMAN WITHOUT PIANO (LA MUJER SIN PIANO) Cast: Jan Budar, Esperanza De la Vega, Tomás del Estal, Nadia de Santiago DIR: Javier Rebello EXEC PROD: Damián Paris, Stefan Schmitz, María Zamora Spain/France
This section presents a selection of new works by many of the world’s most renowned filmmakers.
ABOUT ELLY Cast: Taraneh Alidoosti, Golshifteh Farahani, Shahab Hosseini, Mani Haghighi, Merila Zarei, Peyman Moadi, Ahmad Mehranfar, Rana Azadivar, Saber Abar DIR: Asghar Farhadi PROD: Asghar Farhadi Iran
AFTER.LIFE Cast: Liam Neeson, Christina Ricci, Justin Long DIR: Agnieska Wojtowicz-Vosloo PROD: Brad Michael Gilbert, Bill Perkins, Celine Rattray EXEC PROD: Pamela Hirsch, Edwin L. Marshall, Galt Niederhoffer, James Swisher USA
THE BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL, NEW ORLEANS Cast: Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendez, Val Kilmer DIR: Werner Herzog PROD: Edward Pressman, John Thompson, Alan Polsky, Gabe Polsky, Stephen Belafonte EXEC PROD: Avi Lerner, Danny Dimbort, Trevor Short, Boaz Davidson, Elliot Rosenblatt USA
BELLAMY Cast: Gerard Depardieu DIR: Claude Chabrol PROD: Edward Pressman, John Thompson, Alan Polsky, Gabe Polsky, Stephen Belafonte EXEC PROD: Avi Lerner, Danny Dimbort, Trevor Short, Boaz Davidson, Elliot Rosenblatt France
CASTRO Cast: Edgardo Castro, Julia Martínez Rubio, Alberto Suárez, Carla Crespo, Esteban Lamothe DIR: Alejo Moguillansky PROD: Mariano Llinás, Laura Citarella EXEC PROD: Eduardo Costantini Argentina
CITY OF LIFE AND DEATH Cast: Liu Ye, Gao Yuanyuan, Hideo Nakaizumi, Fan Wei, Jiang Yiyan DIR: Lu Chuan PROD: Han Sanping, Steffen Wild China/Hong Kong
THE HOLE Cast: Chris Massoglia, Haley Bennett, Nathan Gamble, Teri Polo, Bruce Dern DIR: Joe Dante PROD: Robert Skotak EXEC PROD: Gary Michael Waters, Chris Bender, J.C. Spink USA
IN THE ATTIC Cast: Barbora Hrzánová, Boris Hybner, Vladimír Javorsky DIR: Jiri Barta PROD: Milos Smídmajer Czech Republic/Slovakia/Japan
KANIKOSEN Cast: Matsuda Ryuhei, Nishijima Hidetoshi, Kora Kongo, Arai Hirfumi, Emoto Tokio, Kinoshita Takayuki, Kimoto Takehiro DIR: Sabu PROD: Utagawa Yasushi, Mameoka Ryosuke, Tanabe Keigo EXEC PROD Takahito Kashino Japan
A LAKE (North American Premiere) Cast: Dmitry Kubasov, Natalie Rehorova, Alexei Solonchev, Simona Hülsemann, Vitaly Kishchenko, Arthur Semay DIR: Philippe Grandrieux PROD: Catherine Jacques France
LONDON RIVER Cast: Brenda Blethyn, Sotigui Kouyate DIR: Rachid Bouchareb PROD: Rachid Bouchareb, Jean Bréhat, Mattieu de Braconier, Bertrand Faivre Algeria/France/UK
LOOKING FOR ERIC Cast: Steve Evets, Eric Cantona, John Henshaw, Stephanie Bishop DIR: Ken Loach PROD: Tim Cole EXEC PROD: Rebecca O’Brien UK
MOTHER Cast: Kim Hye-ja, Won Bin, Park Eun-kyo DIR: Bong Joon-ho PROD: Choi Jae-won, Seo Woo-sik EXEC PROD: Miky Lee, Katharine Kim, Yang-kwon Moon South Korea
NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT PERSIAN CATS Cast: Negar Shaghaghi, Askan Koshanejad, Hamed Behdad DIR: Bahman Ghobadi PROD: Bahman Ghobadi EXEC PROD: Roxana Saberi Iran
PERPETUUM MOBILE Cast: Gabino Rodríguez, Teresa Sánchez, Francisco Barreiro DIR: Nicolás Pereda PROD: Nicolás Pereda, Catarina Coyoacan Mexico/Canada
A PROPHET Cast: Tahar Rahim, Niels Arestrup, Adel Bencherif, Reda Kateb, Hichem Yacoub DIR: Jacques Audiard PROD: Martine Cassinelli, Antonin Dedet France/Italy
RED RIDING TRILOGY (1974, 1980, 1983) Cast: Sean Bean, Andrew Garfield, David Morrissey, John Henshaw, Anthony Flanagan, Rebecca Hall, Peter Mullan DIR: Julian Jarrold, James Marsh, Anand Tucker PROD: Andrew Eaton, Anita Overland, Wendy Brazington EXEC PROD: Liza Marshall, Hugo Heppell, Norman Merry UK
ROOM AND A HALF Cast: Alisa Freindlich, Sergei Yursky, Grigory Dityatkovsky, Artem Smola DIR: Andrey Khrzhanovsky PROD: Artem Vassiliev, Andrey Khrzhanovsky Russia
THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES Cast: Ricardo Darín, Soledad Villamil, Pablo Rago, Javier Godino, Guillermo Francella DIR: Juan José Campanella PROD: Gerardo Herrero, Mariela Besuievsky, Juan José Campanella Argentina/Spain
THE SILENT ARMY Cast: Marco Borsato, Andrew Kintu, Abby Mukiibi Nkaaga, Thekla Reuten DIR: Jean van de Velde PROD: Chris Brouwer, Richard Claus, Paul Brinks The Netherlands/France
SWEET RUSH Cast: Krystyna Janda, Pawel Szajda, Jadwiga Jankowska-Cieslak, Julia Pietrucha, Jan Englert DIR: Andrzej Wajda PROD: Waldemar Dabrowski, Slawomir Jozwik, Michal Kwiecinski, Dorota Rakowska-Kosmicka, EXEC PROD: Katarzyna Fukacz-Cebula Poland
TO DIE LIKE A MAN Cast: Fernando Santos, Alexander David, Goncalo Ferreira de Almeida, Chandra Malatitch, Jenny Larrue DIR: Joao Pedro Rodrigues PROD: Maria João Sigalho, Judith Nora Portugal/France
A TOWN CALLED PANIC Cast: Stéphane Aubier, Jeanne Balibar, Veronique Dumont, Bruce Ellison, Frederic Jannin DIR: Stephane Aubier, Vincent Patar PROD: Philippe Kauffmann, Vincent Tavier Belgium/France/Luxembourg
VINCERE Cast: Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Filippo Timi, Fausto Russo Alesi, Michela Cescon, Piergiorgio Bellocchio DIR: Marco Bellocchio PROD: Mario Gianani EXEC PROD: Olivia Sleiter Italy/France
YOUTH IN REVOLT Cast: Michael Cera, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Long, Steve Buscemi, Jean Smart, Fred Willard, Mary Kay Place DIR: Miguel Arleta PROD: David Permut EXEC PROD: Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein, Nan Morales USA
The best and brightest of challenging, thrilling documentary filmmaking from around the world, as chosen by the AFI FEST Programming Staff.
THE ART OF THE STEAL; DIR: Don Argott PROD: Sheena M. Joyce EXEC PROD: Lenny Feinberg USA
BEETLE QUEEN CONQUERS TOKYO; DIR: Jessica Oreck PROD: Jessica Oreck USA/Japan
LOS HEREDEROS; DIR: Eugenio Polgovsky PROD: Camille Tauss Mexico
ICONS AMONG US; Subjects: Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Olu Dara, Ravi Coltrane, Medeski Martin and Wood DIR: Michael Rivoira/Lars Larson/Peter J. Vogt PROD: John W. Comerford, Theo N. Ianuly USA
LA DANSE: THE PARIS OPERA BALLET; DIR: Frederick Wiseman PROD: Pierre-Oliver Bardet, Frederick Wiseman, Francoise Gazio France/USA
MOSCOW; DIR: Eduardo Coutinho PROD: Beth Pessoa EXEC PROD: João Moreira Salles, Mauricio Andrade Ramos, Guilherme Cezar Coelho Brazil
NE CHANGE RIEN; With: Jeanne Balibar DIR: Pedro Costa PROD: Francisco Villa-Lobos Portugal/France
NEIL YOUNG TRUNK SHOW Subject: Neil Young DIR: Jonathan Demme PROD: Jonathan Demme, Elizabeth Hayes, Mark Kamine EXEC PROD: L.A. Johnson USA
PETITION; DIR: Zhao Liang PROD: Sylvie Blum France/China
REPORTER; With: Nicholas D. Kristof DIR: Eric Daniel Metzgar PROD: Mikaela Beardsley, Steven Cantor EXEC PROD: Ben Affleck USA
SWEETGRASS; DIR: Lucien Castaing-Taylor/Ilisa Barbash PROD: Ilisa Barbash USA
TRANSCENDENT MAN; DIR: Robert Barry Ptolemy PROD: Barry Ptolemy, Felicia Ptolemy EXEC PROD: Joe DiSanto, John Ramsay, Wren Waters, Doobie White, Drew Dowdle, John Erick Dowdle USA
THE TWO HORSES OF GENGHIS KHAN; DIR: Byambasuren Davaa PROD: Byambasuren Davaa, Beatrix Wesle Germany/Mongolia
Home to alternative filmmaking, this section provides a platform for filmmakers who push the boundaries of culture and cinema.
THE ANCHORAGE Cast: Ulla Edström, Marcus Harrling, Elin Hamren, Bengt Ohlsson DIR: C.W. Winter/Anders Edström PROD: C.W. Winter, Anders Edström USA/Sweden
BEST WORST MOVIE; DIR: Michael Paul Stephenson PROD: Lindsay Rowles Stephenson, Michael Paul Stephenson, Brad Klopman, Jim McKeon, Mary Francis Groom, Ace Goerig EXEC PROD: Alan Hunter, Hugh Hunter USA
GUY AND MADELINE ON A PARK BENCH Cast: Bernard Chazelle, Desiree Garcia, Jason Palmer, Frank Garvin, Sandha Khin DIR: Damien Chazelle PROD: Jasmine McGlade EXEC PROD: W.A.W. Parker USA
THE LOVED ONES Cast: Xavier Samuel, Robin McLeavy, John Brumpton, Victoria Thaine, Jessica McNamee DIR: Sean Byrne PROD: Mark Lazarus, Michael Boughen EXEC PROD: Christopher Mapp, Matthew Street, David Whealy, Bryce Menzies Australia
MODUS OPERANDI Cast: Randy Russell, Danny Trejo, Mark Borchardt, Michael Sottile, Barry Poltermann DIR: Frankie Latina PROD: Shalyse Dominique, Laurie Foote, Mark Foote, Jon Krill, Zebedee LeTendre, Andrew Swant EXEC PROD: Bobby Ciraldo USA
TRASH HUMPERS Cast: Rachel Korine, Brian Kotzue, Travis Nicholson, Harmony Korine DIR: Harmony Korine PROD: Charles-Marie Anthonioz, Amina Dasmal, Robin Fox EXEC PROD: Amina Dasmal, Robin Fox, agnès b USA/UK
A wide-ranging selection of shorts by some of the world’s leading film artists, including a fresh serving from the ongoing Lunchfilms series (from programmer and Cinemad founder, Mike Plante, in which Plante takes a cash-strapped filmmaker out to lunch, and they pay him back what they owe with a film).
ALL DAY ALL NIGHT DIR: Sarah Soquel Morhaim USA
THE CALL DIR: David Fenster/David Nordstrom USA
CHINESE BOX DIR: Nick McCarthy USA
CLEAR GLASSES DIR: Sam Green USA
FRIENDS DIR: James Graham USA
GOLDTHWAIT FAMILY HOME MOVIES (ANNIVERSARY EDITION) DIR: Bobcat Goldthwait USA
HOME MOVIE DIR: Braden King USA
JEAN DIR: Kelly Sears USA
LETTERS REAL/NAMES NOT DIR: Azazel Jacobs USA
OFFSHORE BANK DIR: Tom Barndt USA
TIN WOODMAN’S HOME MOVIE #2 DIR: Naomi Uman/Lee Lynch USA
WEIRD CAROLERS DIR: Brent Green USA
WHISKEYPRIEST DIR: Randy Walker/Jennifer Shainin USA
THE CITIZENS/LEAD/THE SIMPLE ANTENNAE DIR: Kevin Everson USA
DICK CHENEY IN A COLD, DARK CELL DIR: Jim Finn USA
THE HISTORY OF AVIATION DIR: Balint Kenyeres Hungary/France
I AM SO PROUD OF YOU DIR: Don Hertzfeldt USA
JOHN WAYNE HATED HORSES DIR: Andrew T. Betzer USA
OIL CHANGE DIR: Todd Luoto USA
SEND ME TO THE ´LECTRIC CHAIR DIR: Guy Maddin, Isabella Rossellini Canada
SHORT TERM 12 DIR: Destin Daniel Cretton USA
S/T DIR: Lisandro Alonso Argentina
Toronto Film Festival – Day #2 – A Viggo and Charlize sandwich between crazy-ass Spanish and Australian Horror buns
So, I decide to start my second day at TIFF with the Spanish film, REC 2. Now, for me this is a highly anticipated sequel (as they say in PR land). But there’s no one in the theatre. I mean it is seriously sparse with reviewers in here. I don’t get it, because I really liked the first film. Hunted a PAL DVD of it down at a Fangoria convention and felt like I was buying contraband the way the transaction went down, but it was worth it. Just a solid shot of virus-laden zombie-fied paranoia-filled, claustrophobic, no holds barred horror adrenaline delivered straight to your region-free machine (in my case).
So, I was genuinely curious as to what Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza were going to come up with for their second visit to the quarantined apartment building filled with rabid zombie tenants.
The film picks up immediately where the last film left off, where the television hostess that suffered and struggled through the last film was the “last man dragged off”. Literally.
And then we cut to the SWAT team getting locked and loaded as they race to the scene of the whatever-the-hell-it-is they’ve got sealed up in there.
So it’s the ALIENS treatment, right? The cops are all cocky with their firepower and body armor and ignorance of the horror that lies in store. That always spells a good time. And, of course, the idea is that we are watching recorded footage so they have to tell each other over and over “Record everything!” So we’ll be fine with the fact that they are focusing on the auto focus while trying their best to keep from getting bitten or something – rather than throwing the camera at one of the crazies before running away from it while peeing down their leg.
You almost expect someone to reply, “What about when I getting killed?” Stern answer: “Record everything – ESPECIALLY while you’re getting killed!” But our directing tandem knows you’ve seen this bit before so they’re gonna give you a little extra. And that is…
That’s what I’m talking about! I get to watch one isolated group fight for their life while keeping tabs on the other unfortunates surrounded by gory monsters with the munchies in another part of the building. Fun!
Anyway, the SWAT guys are escorting some Health Official into the building to find out what the source of the plague is so they can stop it, blah, blah, blah. Okay, fine, we’ve got our excuse, let’s go play with the bad things.
And no sooner do the SWAT guys get into the penthouse apartment where the doctor lived that launched this little plague when our health official reveals he is actually a priest and that we don’t have the zombie virus version of the common code – no, this is actually a biological extension of demonic possession.
That’s right, the devil’s virus. What will The Vatican think of next?
But before we can dwell on that silliness, a zombie kid attacks from the ceiling (check your ALIENS’ playbook) for a thrill ride scene to throw you right out of your seat. And that’s the beauty of this film. Is it ridiculous as all get out? Yes, of course, it is. But it’s full of ideas, madly derivative, or not. And it keeps them AND the adrenaline-fueled gore-ified action coming. And coming. And more coming around the corner. Think you’ve seen every way there is to kill a crazed zombie person? How about by bottle rocket?! How about a demon zombie that can do impressions? What’s that you say? Okay, but other that Rich Little? Anyway, REC 2 successfully does that even up to the very last shot. Which, I won’t spoil for you. Just get the popcorn, strap yourself in and enjoy.
Next up is John Hillcoat’s film of Cormac McCarthy’s THE ROAD. Your first image of Viggo Mortensen’s ashen, skeletal face of survival basically asks “Would like some cream with your bleak?”
I’m sorry, I meant to say “Would you like some cannibalism with your bleak?” And I hope your answer is yes, because apparently when the neo-cons get done playing nuclear Frisbee with the rest of the world then scorched earth means nothing left to eat.
But each other.
“Are we still the good guys?”
This is a question that Viggo’s character’s son frequently asks throughout the film. In other words, have they still managed to hold on to their humanity despite the fact they are starving. And not just for food. Frequent flashbacks to the time when their nuclear (pun very much I intended) family included Charlize Theron’s mother character – both pre-disaster and post-disaster add to the gut-wrenching heartbreak the father and son endure. But they continue on, painstakingly making their way to the coast, trying to find food and steering clear of other people that might want to eat them along the way. Occasionally, they’ll happen upon a bountiful harvest of canned goods or maybe a can of Coke (which apparently, just like cockroaches, will be one of the few things to survive the apocalypse) or a kindly old coot (an unrecognizable Robert Duvall), but this imagining of what that kind of future holds contains no kindness. At one point Mortensen asks Duvall’s old man character, “Ever wish you would die?” And his reply sums it up: “No. It’s foolish to ask for luxuries in times like these.”
So, we’re left to ponder what would keep us going and clinging desperately to life. And wonder if a father’s love for his son and his stalwart sense of hope for something, anything – would be enough. THE ROAD takes the bleakest, most arduous path to pose that question and it is an endurance test to be sure. But ultimately, I think it’s worth asking.
After the screening, I ran into Joe Leyton, longtime (and I mean, loooong time…) film critic for Daily Variety and as more than a few film legends would attest: THE film critic for the state of Texas. He is a true professor of film, has talked to or interviewed everyone at some time during the last thirty or so years, and can speak at length about the entire package – and do so lovingly and entertainingly. So it was very cool to have a nice long conversation with him with anecdotes abounding. Those meet-ups and subsequent conversations are one of the things that make going to film festivals a constant thrill for me.
The final film of the day was the Australian thriller, THE LOVED ONES. Directed by Sean Byrne it’s your basic awkward girl with a crush on the unattainable cute boy has daddy abduct him for her own private DIY prom…uhmm, story.
Now, the object of her obsessions has his own issues, having caused his father’s death by wrecking the family car while trying to avoid hitting what turns out to be one of our girl’s previous “boyfriends”.
So, now he can work out those feelings while he tries to escape teenage MISERY. And as he tries to mollify her to stay alive and buy time to attempt an escape, daddy is making moony eyes at his lethal little girl while princess makes loony eyes back at papa.
Let’s just say it out loud: Australians know crazy.
And Byrne is not shy about letting his crazies play. A little fried chicken meal with the happy couple, daddy and a lobotomized mommy, a little alternate hardware use with a hammer and a power drill, etc. And, of course – what do-it-yourself prom would be complete without carving your initials surrounded by a heart in your date’s chest and then salting the wound – literally?
Trust me, there’s more. All kinds of dance with a teenage psycho girl more. And under a sparkly disco ball.
Which is exactly as it should be.