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TIFF News: 8 More added to Gala & Special Presentations

If photographers still used flashbulbs, then TIFF’s latest announcements would generate much bulb waste. The fest announced 8 more selections yesterday adding more titles to the Gala and Special Presentations spots. The titles are comprised of studio films release dates within weeks of the festival, hold the distinction of being mostly book to screen adaptations and have payrolls bigger than some third world nations’ GDPs.
 

Among the announced films, Nothing Is Private will be hot title for sale. Alan Ball's directorial debut is based on the Alicia Erian's novel Towelhead, set during the Gulf War, this is a coming-of-age story of a 13-year-old Arab-American girl who must navigate a sexual obsession with a bigoted Army reservist under the oppressive eye of her Lebanese father. The film tells the story of Jasira, who struggles with identity and sexual issues as the daughter of a Lebanese-American father and an American mother in Texas during the Gulf War. 

Also a director’s debut, we have screenwriter Tony Gilroy's North American preem of Michael Clayton. George Clooney stars as an in-house “fixer” at one of the largest corporate law firms in New York. A former criminal prosecutor, Clayton takes care of Kenner, Bach & Ledeen's dirtiest work at the behest of the firm's co-founder Marty Bach (Sydney Pollack). Though burned out and hardly content with his job as a fixer, his divorce, a failed business venture and mounting debt have left Clayton inextricably tied to the firm. At U/North, meanwhile, the career of litigator Karen Crowder (Tilda Swinton) rests on the multi-million dollar settlement of a class action suit that Clayton's firm is leading to a seemingly successful conclusion. But when Kenner Bach's brilliant and guilt-ridden attorney Arthur Edens (Tom Wilkinson) sabotages the U/North case, Clayton faces the biggest challenge of his career and his life. Warner Bros. Pictures releases this October 3rd 

The Brave One is written by Cynthia Mort from an original script by Roderick and Bruce Taylor, this sees Foster set as the title character, a woman who recovers from a brutal attack and sets out on a dark, psychological and physical journey for revenge and justice. The film directed by Neil Jordan will be released by Warner Bros. Pictures on September 14th.

One of my favorite films from Cannes, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is an adaptation of the Jean-Dominique Bauby autobiography. Bauby, the editor of Elle France, suffered a stroke that left his body completely paralyzed, except for his left eye, while his mind remained unaffected. Despite his affliction, suffered in 1995 when he was 43, Bauby used his eye to blink out a memoir, letter by letter, then died two days after it was published. The book describes his pre-stroke life, what it was like to be a prisoner inside his useless body and imagined journeys to exotic places he'd never visited. Miramax Films releases this on December 12th.

Reservation Road is b
ased on Jonathan Burnham Schwartz's novel and adapted for the screen by him, two haunted men and their families are engulfed by the emotions surrounding an unexpected and horrendous death. Ethan, a respected professor of literature at a small New England college, is wracked by an obsession with revenge that threatens to tear his family apart. Dwight, a man at once fleeing his crime and hoping to get caught, wrestles with overwhelming guilt and his sense of obligation to his son. As these two men's lives unravel, Reservation Road moves to its startling conclusion. Focus Features releases this on October 9th 

Written by Kelley Sane, Rendition is a multilayered story centers on a CIA analyst (Gyllenhaal) based in Cairo who finds his world spinning out of control after he witnesses the interrogation of a foreign national by the Egyptian secret police. Witherspoon will play the pregnant American wife of the national. Arkin will play a senator who tries to help Witherspoon in her search for her missing husband. The investigation eventually threatens the senator's position in Washington. New Line Cinema releases this October 12th 

Peter Greenaway fans will be able to catch his latest film NightwatchingThe story will concentrate on the creation of “The Nightwatch,” considered by many to be Rembrandt's most famous painting, and the impact it had on his private life. Martin Freeman portrays Rembrandt, Birthistle will play Rembrandt's wife.
 

Finally, the fest included the world preem of Before the Rains – a U.S./India co-production from director Santosh Sivan (“Bride and Prejudice”).

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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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