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Looking Ahead: 2009 Toronto Film Festival Line-Up Predictions

Usually reserved for the bigger films and Oscar buzz titles, the Galas and Special Presentations section in Toronto should be populated with: the long awaited thriller from Richard Kelly (The Box), Julie Taymor’s The Tempest starring Helen Mirren and coincidentally it would make sense for her hubby Taylor Hackford to bring Love Ranch for show. Part of the Canadian contingency, Jason Reitman has confirmed it himself that he’ll bring Up in the Air and perhaps a spot would be reserved for Jean-Marc Vallee’s Berlin preemed The Young Victoria.

While Venice remains a fest that strictly selects auteur driven material, Toronto is a beast of a film festival that serves up a huge heaping plate of films rolled up in red carpets. TIFF is also a great place for journalists to follow up on cinematic experiences from Cannes and conduct some in-depth interviews as I plan to do with those behind the Tales From the Golden Age, A Prophet, Dogtooth, Fish Tank and Police, Adjectiv. They’ll most likely receive their North American preems at this festival. So what are Cameron and Piers looking at? Read ahead.

Usually reserved for the bigger films and Oscar buzz titles, the Galas and Special Presentations section in Toronto should be populated with: the long awaited thriller from Richard Kelly (The Box), Julie Taymor‘s The Tempest starring Helen Mirren and coincidentally it would make sense for her hubby Taylor Hackford to bring Love Ranch for show. Part of the Canadian contingency, Jason Reitman has confirmed it himself that he’ll bring Up in the Air and perhaps a spot would be reserved for Jean-Marc Vallee‘s Berlin preemed The Young Victoria. Filmmaker vets Neil Jordan and Lasse Hallström might give audiences a long lead preview for their respective works in Ondine (fantasy film with Colin Farrell and Alicja Bachleda) ) and Dear John (drama romance based on Nicholas Sparks’ novel). Debut films that may receive some glitter include Mark Ruffalo‘s directorial debut in Sympathy for Delicious, Grant Heslov‘s presents his first as a director with The Men Who Stare at Goats. Andrew Jarecki‘s goes the fiction route debut with All Good Things (what appears to be The Weinstein Co.’s Oscar hopeful) and Oliver Dahan‘s first English language feature looks like a lock for a bidding war with My Own Love Song.

In international world premieres I’m expecting to see Benoit Philippon‘s shot on Canadian turf Lullaby for Pi, Ruba Nadda‘s Cairo Time, Massy Tadjedin‘s Last Night, Philip Ridley‘s Heartless, Tim Blake Nelson‘s Leaves of Grass, Patrice Chéreau‘s Persécution, Cédric Kahn’s Regrets, Sherry Hormann’s Desert Flower (starring Sally Hawkins) and Jon Amiel’s Creation (a biopic which will be looking to get picked up in the church going U.S.) and Dagur Kári’s The Good Heart (Brian Cox/Paul Dano) might be on the buyers’ hotlist. A pair of American indies in Jared HessGentlemen Broncos (Fox Serchlight), and Nicole Holofcener‘s Please Give (Sony Pictures Classics) might choose not to wait for Sundance and test audiences early.

On the docu front, Heidi Ewong, Alex Gibney, Rachel Grady, Eugene Jarecki and Morgan Spurlock‘s Freakonomics will surely receive a spot in the Real to Reel section and we should also see th development of five infants in Focus Features’ Cannes pick-up of Thomas BalmesBaby(ies). Of course, Michael Moore’s U.S. economy docu-comedy will most receive a full V.I.P treatment as a Gala screening.

Crossing into the horror, thriller and sci-fi films of the Midnight Madness section, while I’ve grouped titles such as Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, Géla Babluani‘s remake of his own film with unlucky number 13 and the Diablo Cody’s penned Jennifer’s Body directed by Karyn Kusama among this category, we are more likely going to see Vincenzo Natali‘s Splice (see pic below), Arnaud and Jean-Marie Larrieu‘s thriller Les derniers jours du monde and Jonathan Auf Der Heide‘s Van Diemen’s Land should receive a North American preem here. 

Vincenzo Natali Splice

If I didn’t cast a wide enough net for possible titles, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw one or two out of this batch of studio releases shown during the fest. Paul GreengrassGreen Zone (Universal), Drew Barrymore‘s Whip It! (Fox Searchlight), Mira Nair‘s Amelia (Fox Searchlight), Wes Anderson‘s Fantastic Mr. Fox (20th Century Fox), Rob Marshall‘s Nine (The Weinstein Co.) Miguel Arteta‘s Youth in Revolt (Dimension/Lionsgate) and Jim Sheridan‘s Brothers (MGM), Steven Soderbergh‘s The Informant (Warner Bros.) Spike Jonze‘s Where the Wild Things Are (Warner Bros.)

Nine Marion

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury 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 was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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