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2011 TIFF Predictions: Michel Hazanavicius’ The Artist Leads Audience Award Contenders

Today co-directors Cameron Bailey and Piers Handling of the Toronto International Film Festival announce the first batch of titles that are the make-up of the 36th edition. Today’s the pair will read off mostly Gala screening mentions (our Blake Williams will be LIVE tweeting), which in turn give us a strong indication as to what will be shown in Venice and what Telluride, NYFF and BFI London Film Festivals might salvage/lasso as their own.

Today co-directors Cameron Bailey and Piers Handling of the Toronto International Film Festival announce the first batch of titles that are the make-up of the 36th edition. Today’s the pair will read off mostly Gala screening mentions (our Blake Williams will be LIVE tweeting), which in turn give us a strong indication as to what will be shown in Venice and what Telluride, NYFF and BFI London Film Festivals might salvage/lasso as their own. We expect no mention in dossiers such as Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar, Lasse Hallström’s Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Alexander Payne’s The Descendants and Kenneth Lonergan’s Margaret, but we’re expecting the fest heads to stake their claim on select World Premiere titles and several North America premieres of Cannes items and if the Best Picture Oscar doesn’t go to Tree of Life, then it’ll certainly be mentioned among them. Before we get to the 50-plus predictions list below, we think that the opening film will be distinctly Canadian and distinctly auteur and if we look far ahead, the film to beat for TIFF’s Audience Award might be the black&white silent film that was introduced in Cannes.

Cannes & Locarno
North American premieres from Cannes should be aplenty with several included in the Special Presentations and Masters sections
Almodovar, Lynne Ramsay, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Dardenne Brothers and Aki Kaurismäki, while a slew of selections from the UCR (e.g. Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Elena) and Directors’ Fortnight (e.g. Ruben Östlund’s Play) sections ()will help fill up the festival’s mandate for world cinema offerings. Two Cannes preemed titles that they’ll be arm wrestling over with Telluride and NYFF are the North America premieres to Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive and Michel Hazanavicius’ The Artist, which if included at TIFF, will go on to follow in the footsteps of Slumdog Millionaire and The King’s Speech and easily take the Audience Award.

Possible crossover items from Locarno (August 3-13) include Hitoshi Matsumoto’s Scabbard Samurai, Mia Hansen-Løve’s Goodbye First Love, Tawfik Abu Wael’s Last Days in Jerusalem, Julia Loktev’s The Loneliest Planet, Shinji Aoyama’s Tokyo Koen, Danielle Arbid’s Beirut Hotel, Nicholas Klotz’s Low Life and though the chances are indeed slim, perhaps because of how I Am Love played at TIFF a couple of years back we’ll see Luca Guadagnino’s doc, Inconscio Italiano make at the grade.

Venice and Calendar releases
Too many to list here, but among these predictions I’d say we are guaranteed to see Giorgos Lanthimos’ Alps, Tomas Alfredsson’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Steve McQueen’s Shame, and Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights make the double premiere journey. Among the titles that will be receiving September and October theatrical releases and are looking at Gala screenings we have I Don’t Know How She Does It (Weinstein Co.), Straw Dogs (Screen Gems), Moneyball (Columbia Pictures), Killer Elite (Open Road Films), Machine Gun Preacher (Lionsgate), Dream House (Universal), The Ides of March (Warner Bros.), Wanderlust (Universal), The Rum Diary (FilmDistrict), In Time (20th Century Fox) and Texas Killing Fields (Anchor Bay Films).

2008 Black List Servings
There is a 100 percent chance that Jonathan Levine’s 50/50 (#9 top vote-getter) makes it into the festival and if The Weinsteins feel like shooting on all cylinders (their 2011 awards plate is already vast enough) they’ll be using TIFF to showcase Jim Field Smith’s Butter (#3 top vote getter). If given a glowing red carpet spot, Julian Farino’s The Oranges (#2 behind The Beaver) would be a top item for future bidding wars.

Canadian Content
Along with David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Mind, TIFF should be the epicenter for Canuck fare this year – we should see Winnipegger Guy Maddin serve up Keyhole, Sarah Polley showcase her sophomore effort and land a distributor before festival’s end with the shot-in-Toronto Take This Waltz while Jason Reitman should make the trip from Telluride over to TIFF with Young Adult and perhaps I’ll come packing two reels the Duplass Bros.’ Jeff Who Lives at Home. If he doesn’t make it into Venice, then Jean-Marc Vallee will be showing off Café de flore most likely pegged for a Gala screening while Guy Édoin’s Marécages which plays in Venice’s Critic’s Week will undoubtably follow fellow Quebecois auteur Philippe Falardeau’s Bachir Lazhar for a North American premiere after having shown in Locarno in mid-August. Finally, Michael Dowse’s hockey comedy Goon will make everyone forget about a musical festival opener that no one I know bothered to see. Mary McGuckian’s remake Man on the Train featuring the acting debut from U2’s Larry Mullen Jr. is also poised to show at the fest.

Fish and Chips
If the BFI London Film Fest doesn’t grab it, the Best Actress Oscar race should commence in Toronto with Streep’s take on the “Baroness” in Phyllida Lloyd’s The Iron Lady which would be a long-lead showing and which would go up against Michelle Williams’ take on Monroe in Simon Curtis’ My Week With Marilyn. If Fox Searchlight wants some added value in the Oscar race this year, they’ll throw The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel into their mix, and other Special Presentations could include Sylvie Verheyde’s Confession of a Child of the Century, Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod’s Bel Ami and Pawel Pawlikowski’s The Woman in the Fifth. I’m also betting that Tanya Wexler’s Hysteria could very well steal the show if included in the fest. Hadi Hajaig’s Cleanskin and Barnaby Southcombe’s I, Anna could also be considered.

TIFF Docs: Rocking Good Time
If I’m TIFF doc programmer Thom Powers I’ve got one big ass smile. This year’s Reel to Real program should be loaded with golden nuggets with several items associated to the music world there could be some kick ass musical events tied to the festival. We’ve got possible entries from Martin Scorsese’s George Harrison: Living in the Material World, Kevin Macdonald’s Marley, Cameron Crowe’s PJ20, Nick August-Perna and Chris Dapkins’ The Swell Season which features the young true-life couple from indie hit Once. Adding to this we’ve got legends in the docu-field: Frederick Wiseman’s Desir (formerly known as “Crazy Horse”), Morgan Spurlock’s Comic-Con Episode Four: A Fan’s Hope, Nick Broomfield’s Untitled Sarah Palin film, Werner Herzog’s Gazing Into The Abyss: A Tale of Death, A Tale Of Life, Jonathan Demme’s I’m Carolyn Parker, AJ Schnack and David Wilson’s Untitled Branson, Missouri project, Bart Layton’s The Imposter, Heinrich Sabl’s Memory Hotel, Michael Glawogger’s Whore’s Glory and Marina Zenovich’s Roman Polanski: Odd Man Out.

I’m horrible at predicting Colin Geddes’ Midnight Madness selections, but I’m sure he might somehow be involved in luring such titles as Carlos Esteban Orozco’s Greetings to the Devil, Tsui Hark’s The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate, Wei Te-sheng’s Seediq Bale, Ruslan Park’s Hanaan, Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury’s Livid, Sion Sono’s Himizu and the North American premiere to Dominik Moll’s The Monk.

South of the Border and Four Corners
As usual there’ll be several items from the U.S available for pick-up ranging from mainstream popcorn to edgy indie. Among the names/titles that come to mind we have: Bruce Beresford’s Peace Love and Misunderstanding, Julius Onah’s The Girl is in Trouble, Aaron Harvey’s Catch .44, Amy Heckerling’s Vamps, Hany Abu-Assad’s The Courier, Jennifer Westfeldt’s Friends with Kids, Matt Piedmont’s House of My Father, Lawrence Kasdan’s Darling Companion, So Yong Kim’s For Ellen, Adrian Grunberg’s How I Spent My Summer Vacation, Roger Donaldson’s The Hungry Rabbit Jumps and William Friedkin’s Killer Joe which is being touted as a possible Venice selection.

If they can squeeze it in towards the end of the fest, perhaps we’ll see Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s Intruders – which is the opener for the 59th San Sebastian International Film Festival. Among other world cinema items worth considering, the French could bring us Cedric Kahn’s A Better Life, Benoît Jacquot’s Les adieux à la rein, Luc Besson’s The Lady, Virginie Despentes’ Bye Bye Blondie, Anne Fontaine’s My Worst Nightmare and Julie Delpy’s 2 Days in New York. From Israel we should get Shlomi Elkabetz’s Testimony, and Eran Riklis’ Playoff (starring Danny Huston). Hans Weingartner’s Hut in the Woods, Martin Donovan’s Collaborator, Pål Sletaune’s Babycall, Malgoska Szumowska’s Elles, Nikolaj Arcel’s A Royal Affair, Lars Blumers’ Mike, Stefan Ruzowitzky’s Blackbird, Xiaolu Guo’s UFO in her Eyes, Santiago Amigorena’s Another Silence, Dennis Gansel’s In the Year of the Dog and Aussie fare from Fred Schepisi (The Eye of the Storm) and Jonathan Teplitzky (Burning Man). Lighter items could come in the shape of Yann Samuell’s The Great Ghost Rescue, Hiromasa Yonebayashi’s Arrietty (that would be a major coup) and the North American preem for Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Miracle.

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and critic at (founded in 2000). Eric is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson's This Teacher (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022 he served as a New Flesh Comp for Best First Feature at the 2022 Fantasia Intl. Film Festival. Current top films for 2022 include Tár (Todd Field), All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen), Aftersun (Charlotte Wells).

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