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TIFF 2013 Puts Cuffs on Denis Villeneuve’s “Enemy” & Swears by Michael Dowse’s “The F Word”

This afternoon, with poutine and local wine to mark the occasion, the Toronto International Film Festival announced their Canadian film selections. Programmers Steve Gravestock and Agata Smoluch Del Sorbo proudly pronounced that this year both new and seasoned filmmakers had the “curiosity and courage to show troubling issues occurring in our country in new and exciting ways.” Past festival favorite (and one of my personal own as well) Xavier Dolan, the always controversial Bruce LaBruce and Jennifer Baichwal’s films garnered applause from the crowd at the majestic Royal York ballroom. Titles sure to draw headlines and attention in the Canadian slate are Denis Villeneuve’s locally filmed ‘Enemy‘ which has Jake Gyllenhall playing a man with two identities, torn between a mistress and a wife. Villeneuve’s other recent feature ‘Prisoners‘ was previously announced as a festival title. It’s worth mentioning that two feature films being presented at TIFF is almost unheard of — it’ll make for some rather interesting media days for the helmer whose Incendies officially made the Quebecois filmmaker a go to guy on the interantional scene. Dolan’s Venice Film Fest selected Tom at the Farm centers on a gay man at the funeral of his closeted lover, whose family is deep in denial. Also from Quebec, Louise Archambault’s Gabrielle (which preems in Locarno) explores whether a female musician’s rare neurological condition-she’s viewed as different due to her elfin looks and joyous disposition-should interfere with the course of love. Also slotted for a Locarno showing is Bruce LaBruce’s Gerontophilia, which finds road trip humor in a young man’s bonding with an elderly nursing home resident.

On the Canuck side, we find world premieres in Bruce McDonald’s The Husband which finds a married ad executive rapidly becoming unglued as he fights a 14 year old rival for the intimate attention of his wife, Michael Dowse (previously at the festival with the cult favorite Goon)’s The F Word, starring Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan and Adam Driver and the third filmmaker named Bruce as in Bruce Sweeney has his The Dick Knost Show slotted in the CWC section.

Also announced at this afternoon’s press conference were this year’s crop of TIFF Rising Stars, with standout Johnathan Sousa (principal cast in festival favorite Ingrid Veninger’s feature The Animal Project) receiving a warm round of applause from the audience, perhaps fellow alumni of Norman Jewison’s CFC Actor’s Conservatory. The other Rising Stars are Cara Gee, Evelyne Brochu (she has worked with quite the brochette of Quebecois helmers in Dolan, Vallée, Villeneuve) and Megan Park, who TIFF Artistic Director Cameron Bailey noted for both their beauty and acting talents.

In the shorts program (see the full list below) worthy quick mentions include Dolan Heartbeats actress Monia Chokri lensing her short (An Extraordinary Person), actor Gregory Smith lays the cuffs on Method, and Oscar-winner Chris Landreth summons Subconscious Password.

Curiously not mentioned at the press conference was the final title in the Midnight Madness program, which still remains a mystery. This leaves our guess ‘Stage Fright‘ as yet to be confirmed. With twenty-nine days left until the beginning of the Festival, and a few more press conferences to go, there are plenty more surprises yet to look forward to. Here’s the complete add-ons:

Enemy Denis Villeneuve, Canada/Spain World Premiere
The F Word Michael Dowse, Canada/Ireland World Premiere
Gabrielle Louise Archambault, Canada North American Premiere
The Husband Bruce McDonald, Canada World Premiere
Tom At The Farm (Tom à la ferme) Xavier Dolan, Canada/France North American Premiere
Watermark Jennifer Baichwal and Edward Burtynsky, Canada World Premiere

All the Wrong Reasons Gia Milani, Canada World Premiere
Rhymes for Young Ghouls Jeff Barnaby, Canada World Premiere
Sarah Prefers To Run (Sarah préfère la course) Chloé Robichaud, Canada Toronto Premiere

A Journey (Une Jeune Fille) Catherine Martin, Canada World Premiere
The Animal Project Ingrid Veninger, Canada World Premiere
Cinemanovels Terry Miles, Canada World Premiere
Le Démantèlement Sébastien Pilote, Canada North American Premiere
The Dick Knost Show Bruce Sweeney, Canada World Premiere
Siddharth Richie Mehta, Canada North American Premiere
Stay Wiebke von Carolsfeld, Canada/Ireland World Premiere

Asphalt Watches Seth Scriver and Shayne Ehman, Canada World Premiere
Gerontophilia Bruce LaBruce, Canada North American Premiere

Triptych (Triptyque) Robert Lepage and Pedro Pires, Canada World Premiere

A Grand Canal Johnny Ma, 19’ World Premiere
A Time is a Terrible Thing to Waste Leslie Supnet, 3’ Toronto Premiere
An Extraordinary Person (Une Personne extraordinaire) Monia Chokri, 30’ North American Premiere
Anatomy of Assistance Cory Bowles, 13’ World Premiere
Beasts in the Real World Sol Friedman, 8’ World Premiere
Candy Cassandra Cronenberg, 8’ World Premiere
The Chaperone 3D Fraser Munden and Neil Rathbone, 11’ World Premiere
Cochemare Maciek Szczerbowski and Chris Lavis, 12’ North American Premiere
CRIME: Joe Loya – The Beirut Bandit Alix Lambert and Sam Chou, 2’ World Premiere
Daybreak (Éclat du jour) Ian Lagarde, 11’ World Premiere
Der Untermensch Kays Mejri, 9’ World Premiere
Drop Chris Goldade, 12’ World Premiere
The End of Pinky Claire Blanchet, 8’ World Premiere
Firecrackers Jasmin Mozaffari, 15’ World Premiere
Foreclosure Wayne Robinson, 13’ World Premiere
Gloria Victoria Theodore Ushev, 7’ North American Premiere
Impromptu Bruce Alcock, 10’ World Premiere
In Guns We Trust Nicolas Lévesque, 12’ North American Premiere
Jimbo Ryan Flowers, 25’ World Premiere
Lay Over Jordan Hayes, 13’ World Premiere
Method Gregory Smith, 8’ World Premiere
Noah Walter Woodman and Patrick Cederberg, 17’ World Premiere
Nous Avions Stéphane Moukarzel, 18’ World Premiere
Numbers & Friends Alexander Carson, 7’ World Premiere
Out Jeremy Lalonde, 9’ World Premiere
Paradise Falls Fantavious Fritz, 17’ World Premiere
Paradiso Devan Scott, 13’ World Premiere
Pilgrims Marie Clements, 8’ World Premiere
Portrait as a Random Act of Violence Randall Okita, 4’ Toronto Premiere
Relax, I’m From the Future Luke Higginson, 5’ World Premiere
Remember Me (Mémorable moi) Jean-Francois Asselin, 15’ Canadian Premiere
Roland Trevor Cornish, 11’ World Premiere
Sam’s Formalwear Yael Staav, 15’ World Premiere
Seasick Eva Cvijanovic, 3’ World Premiere
The Sparkling River Felix Lajeunesse and Paul Raphaël, 18’ World Premiere
Subconscious Password Chris Landreth, 11’ Canadian Premiere
Yellowhead Kevan Funk, 19’ World Premiere
Young Wonder James Wilkes, 6’ World Premiere

Leora Heilbronn is a Toronto-based writer. Top Films From Contemporary Film Auteurs: Almodóvar (Volver), Coen Bros. (Burn After Reading), Dardennes (Lorna's Silence), Haneke (The Piano Teacher), Hsiao-Hsien (Three Times), Kar-wai (In the Mood for Love), Kiarostami (Certified Copy), Lynch (Mulholland Drive), Tarantino (Inglorious Basterds), Van Sant (Good Will Hunting), von Trier (Melancholia)

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