BREAKING FILM NEWS

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Martin & Ingrid's TIFF 09 Kick-Off Party..

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Thanks go out to Martin & Ingrid's 'TIFF 09 Kick-Off Party', Wednesday, September 9th @ the GAT + M.LINK Festival headquarters in downtown Toronto's Yorkville, providing select wines from Bryan J. Robertson's Kingsway Brokerage Ltd., on behalf of Wild Bunch, Elle Driver, Celluloid Dreams, Film&Doc, Capri Films, The Works International & UMedia, supporting the following films screening at this year's Toronto International Film Festival:


CONTEMPORARY CINEMA :

"Rabia" directed by Sebastian Cordero, will screen its world premiere with Cordero in attendance.

"...South American immigrants working in Spain, builder José María and housekeeper Rosa have been together for a few weeks and are very much in love. Rosa's bosses, Señor and Señora Torres, leave their home on a trip, and the volatile José María spends a few days at the run-down mansion, fantasizing about what life with Rosa could be.

When a violent confrontation with his foreman results in the other man's death, José María flees to the mansion, telling no one. Hiding in the vast, abandoned attic he begins a secret life - half voyeur, half ghost - stealing food at night, always hidden, with only the rats for company. He listens, he watches, ever aware of the risk of discovery.

From the shadows he observes the sad, blighted lives of Señor and Señora Torres, an elderly couple occasionally visited by their grown up children. And he observes the daily routines of Rosa's working life. The Torres family are fond of their servant, but also subject her to verbal and physical abuse. José María watches, unable to act, his anger growing...

Discovering a second phone line, José María calls Rosa without revealing his whereabouts. They start a new 'long distance' relationship, both yearning for the day when they can be together again. But a shocking revelation forces José María to remain in hiding..."

"Suck", directed by Rob Stefaniuk, will have a world premiere, with Stefaniuk and actors Jessica Paré, Dimitri Coats, Carole Pope, John Kastner, Nicole DeBoer, Calico Cooper, Alex Lifeson, Chris Ratz and Mike Lobel in attendance.

"...Written and directed by musician/actor Rob Stefaniuk - and featuring acting turns from the likes of Iggy Pop Alice Cooper, Henry Rollins and Moby - SUCK, follows a group of rock ‘n’ roll wannabes in search of immortality and a record deal. Seemingly doomed to roadtrip doldrums and dives, the band The Winners break their slump when their female bass player disappears one night with a studly, stylin’ vampire. She returns charged with sexual charisma that creates audience frenzy and eventually ensnares the rest of the band. Their “hook” launches them to fame. But fame turns out to be a different kind of Hell than AC/DC promised.

Following an “incident” on a national radio show with “Rockn’ Roger” The Winners hit mega-stardom beyond their wildest dreams. But Joey is haunted by an eerie bartender with a dark secret. And legendary vampire hunter, Eddie Van Helsing, is on their tail tracking them down despite his fear of the dark. But when a veteran music producer calls them on becoming a vampire freak show, their rock’n’roll bubble bursts...."

"The Wind Journey"s/("Los Viajes del viento"), directed by Ciro Guerra, will have a North American Premiere, with Guerra in attendance.

"...Ignacio Carrillo travelled all his life throughout the villages and regions of northern Colombia, carrying music and traditional songs on his accordion, a legendary instrument that is said to be cursed, because it once belonged to the devil. As he became older, he got married and settled with his wife in a small town, leaving his nomadic life behind. When she suddenly dies, he decides to make one last journey to the Northern edge of the country, to return the accordion to the man who gave it to him, his teacher and mentor, so he will never play it again. On the way, he is joined by Fermín, a teenager who dreams of becoming a “juglar” like Ignacio, and to travel all around playing the accordion like he did. Tired of his loneliness, Ignacio accepts to be accompanied, and together they start the journey from Majagual, Sucre, to Taroa, beyond the Guajira desert, finding on the way the enormous diversity of the Caribbean culture and surviving all kinds of adventures. Ignacio will try to convince Fermín to take a different path in his life, having learned that his only led to solitude and sadness, but he will have to face the fact that destiny has different plans for him and his pupil..."

DISCOVERY

"Every Day is a Holiday", directed by Dima El -Horr will have a world premiere, with El-Horr and Hiam Abbass in attedance.

"...Three women are riding in the same bus through today’s Lebanon for a day’s journey towards the same destination: the men’s prison. The first woman is visiting her husband, in jail since their wedding day. The second has one single goal in mind: to have her husband, who is serving a long sentence, sign the divorce papers that will finally free her. The third is traveling unwillingly, with fear in her stomach: she is secretly carrying in her bag the weapon her husband, one of the prison guards, forgot at home.

An accident throws the journey off track. Lost in the middle of nowhere, the women become prey to their anxieties and obsessions. As the land around them becomes more and more arid, they hear rumors of massacres and throngs of refugees… And yet they go on, pushing further into what eventually turns into an interior journey, where individual life and collective memory blend and blur into one another. Is this a dream, a nightmare, a fantasy or each woman’s own reality?"

"Samson & Delilah", directed by Warwick Thornton is a Camera d’Or, Cannes winner,

"...Samson and Delilah’s world is small – an isolated community in the Central Australian desert. When tragedy strikes they turn their backs on home and embark on a journey of survival. Lost, unwanted and alone they discover that life isn’t always fair, but love never judges..."

MASTERS

"White Material", directed by Claire Denis will have a North American Premiere with Denis and actor Christophe Lambert in attendance.

"...No more smirking. We're stopping the bullshit right now and staying put. The regular army is preparing to reestablish order in the country. To clean up. To eliminate the rebel officer also known as the Boxer and rid the countryside of roving child soldiers. All the expatriates have gone home, getting out before things turn nasty. Of the Vials - coffee planters who have lived here for two generations, Maria stands firm. She's not about to give in to rumors or abandon her harvest at the first sound of gunfire. Just like her father-in-law and her ex-husband who is also the father of her son (a little too much of a slacker in her opinion) she is convinced that Cherif, mayor of the neighboring town, will protect them. If she asks him he will save the plantation. He has a personal guard, a private militia of tough guys, heavily armed and well trained..."

SPECIAL PRESENTATION

"Good Hair", directed by Jeff Stilson will have a Canadian Premiere with comedian Chris Rock in attendance.

"...What more can be said about black people and their hair? Everything. The subject has inspired countless song lyrics, books, films and kitchen-counter arguments. The politics, the economics and even the physics of black hair can sometimes trigger obsession. Now everyone can find out what all the fuss is about, with Chris Rock as a guide.

Acting as African America's Michael Moore, Rock goes front and centre in this investigative documentary that is both hilarious and surprisingly informative. It began with an innocent question from his young daughter: “Daddy, how come I don't have good hair?” In black families “good” hair means straight hair, and it's been the source of pain and envy ever since African slaves first digested European beauty standards. Today, women on limited incomes pay thousands of dollars a year to maintain a straight-hair weave – or expect their men to pay for them. To assist in the exploration of this trend, the Reverend Al Sharpton, interviewed by Rock in a light mood, sermonizes on the historical significance of his processed ‘do.

Rock is bemused as he goes from salon to street corner to industrial giant, but he asks tough, smart questions. Aided by both ordinary people and celebrities – actress Nia Long, author Maya Angelou – he aims to bring common sense to an arena ruled by vanity and warped custom. Still, there's no denying the incredible creative ferment brought on by this desire to change and improve one's hair. Visiting an annual contest for black hair stylists, Rock watches as competitors whip up coiffures that seem straight out of science fiction. Underpinning it all is a hidden economy that stretches from those living in America's black neighbourhoods, to the businessmen who harvest women's hair in India, to the Korean American brokers who deal straight black Asian hair to black women so their manes can look more European. It's a black thing, but everybody's involved..."

"The Front Line", directed by Renato de Maria will have a world premiere with de Maria in attendance.

"...The Front Line" is a remarkable film about an extreme left-wing terrorist group, infamous for its violent exploits, and the scourge of the authorities and civilized society for most of a decade. Renato De Maria fictionalizes the story of two of the group's leaders, Sergio Segio (Riccardo Scamarcio) and Susanna Ronconi (Giovanna Mezzogiorno), who were colleagues and lovers, a modern-day Marxist Bonnie and Clyde. Directed with taut control and an impressive sense of suspense, the film offers a probing and insightful look into the terrorist mind, recreating a period of Italian history many have forgotten.

De Maria tackles his subject from the perspective of his male protagonist, who looks back from his jail cell on his youthful exploits with understanding, candour and remorse. Believing there would be a coup by right-wing elements, a young Sergio goes underground, convinced the use of violence is a necessary choice. There he meets the equally committed Susanna, falls in love and continues to fight the brutal battle of a political extremist. Eventually, Sergio grows disenchanted with the tactics of the Prima Linea, but when Susanna is captured, he resorts to the methods he has learned as a militant to try to spring her from prison..."

"The Good Heart:, directed by Dagur Kari will have a world premiere with Kari and Brian Cox in attendance.

"...Lucas has come to an existential dead-end. He is young and homeless, living in a cardboard box under the Brooklyn Bridge. With a total lack of prospects for the future, Lucas tries to commit suicide, but the attempt is a failure like everything else in his life.

Recuperating in hospital Lucas is forced to share a room with Jacques, a grouchy old bar-owner whose unhealthy lifestyle has resulted in no fewer than five heart attacks. With no family and a high risk of passing away any minute, Jacques takes Lucas under his wing with the intention of passing on his legacy.

Lucas moves in and begins a hectic learning process in a bar that has totally its own set of rules and philosophies. Against all the odds, Jacques and Lucas form a quirky friendship. Everything seems to be going according to plan...

Until one rainy night when April, a drunken stewardess, strays into the bar. Lucas is unable to turn this beautiful stranger away and invites April to stay..."

"London River", directed by Rachid Bouchareb, winner of a Silver Bear @ Berlinale 2009will have actor Brenda Blethyn in attendance.

"...Cities push strangers together, at times tragically, as in the London bombings of July 7, 2005. As hundreds went missing in the confusion of the aftermath, family and friends posted flyers all over the city with pictures of the loved ones they sought. London River moves surely toward that heartbreaking moment, but it begins on the peaceful isle of Guernsey.

Brenda Blethyn plays Mrs. Sommers, a farming woman with a simple rural routine. When her regular calls to her city-dwelling daughter go unanswered, she crosses the English Channel into the throng of north London. At first, news of the terror attacks are mere background noise to her, but as she continues to search fruitlessly for her daughter, and the unfamiliarity of her daughter's polyglot, predominately Muslim neighbourhood begins to unsettle her, fear sets in.

At the same time, Ousmane (Sotigui Kouyaté) has travelled from rural France to London to search for his son, also missing since the attacks. An African farm worker, he is equally at sea in the city. Ousmane and Elisabeth meet by chance, but it soon dawns on them that his son and her daughter were roommates, and maybe more..."

"Mr. Nobody", directed by Jaco van Dormael will have a North American Premiere with
van Dormael and Sarah Polley in attedance.

"...Nemo Nobody (Jared Leto) leads an ordinary existence at his wife's side, Elise (Sarah Polley), and their 3 children until the day when reality skids and he wakes up as an old man in the year 2092. At 120, Mr. Nobody is both the oldest man in the world and the last mortal of a new mankind where nobody dies anymore. But that doesn't seem to interest or bother him very much. The only questions that preoccupy him in the present is whether he lived the right life for himself, loved the woman whom he was supposed to love, and had the children whom he was meant to have... now his purpose is to find the right answer..."

"Mao’s Last Dancer", directed by Bruce Beresford will have a world premiere with Beresford, producer Jane Scott, screenwriter Jan Sardi, composer Christopher Gordon, and cast members Chi Cao, Kyle MacLachlan, Joan Chen, Amanda Schull, and Madeleine Eastoe in attendance.

"...Brought to the screen by Bruce Beresford, director of such celebrated works as Driving Miss Daisy and Black Robe, the inspiring true story of Li Cunxin speaks to personal and cultural freedom, passion and determination.

Born in 1961, Li lived with his six brothers and impoverished parents in China's Shandong Province. His family was destined to be labourers, but when recruiters from Madame Mao's ballet academy in Beijing swept through his single-room school in search of untapped talent to mould into the future leading lights of the Cultural Revolution, eleven-year-old Li was selected, and committed to a strange new life of stringent training, both artistic and ideological. At first, the experience overwhelmed, but when an audacious teacher introduced him to the works of great international performers (via concealed videotapes, no less), Li (excellently played as a young adult by dancer Chi Cao) realized dance's true revolutionary potential.

Practising by candlelight and jumping up stairs with sandbags tied to his ankles to build his strength while his peers slept, Li became the school's top dancer. Discovered by Ben Stevenson (played by Canada's Bruce Greenwood), the artistic director of the Houston Ballet and part of the first American cultural delegation to Communist China, Li in turn was one of the first exchange students allowed by Mao's regime to go to America. After a brief bout with culture shock – Houston's malls and so-called Chinese restaurants were alien spheres to him – he quickly fell in love with America's freedom and one of its winsome daughters. When his exchange ended, Li refused to return to China, leading to a dramatic standoff at the consulate that made headlines across the United States..."

"Valhalla Rising", directed by Nicolas Winding Refn will have a North American Premiere, with Refn and actor Mads Mikkelsen in attend.

"...For years, One-Eye, a mute warrior of supernatural strength, has been held prisoner by the chieftain Barde. Aided by a boy, he kills his captor and together they escape, beginning a journey into the heart of darkness. On their flight, One-Eye and the boy board a Viking vessel but the ship is soon engulfed by an endless fog that disintegrates only as they sight an unknown land. As this new world reveals its secrets and the Vikings confront their terrible fate, One-Eye discovers his true self..."

VANGUARD

"Bunny and The Bull", directed by Paul King will have a world premiere, with director King in attendance.

"...Bunny & the Bull is a road movie set entirely in a flat. Stephen Turnbull hasn't been outside in months. When a sudden infestation of mice forces him to change his precious routine, he finds his mind hurtling back to the disastrous trek around Europe he undertook with his friend Bunny, a womanising, gambling-addicted booze-hound. Stephen's flat becomes the springboard for an extraordinary odyssey through landscapes of snapshots and souvenirs, from the industrial wastelands of Silesia to the bull fields of Andalusia. Bunny & the Bull is an offbeat and beautiful journey to the end of the room..."

"Enter The Void", directed by Gaspar Noe will have a North American Premiere with Noe and Paz de la Huerta in attendance.

"...Oscar and his sister Linda are recent arrivals in Tokyo. Oscar's a small time drug dealer, and Linda works as a nightclub stripper. One night, Oscar is caught up in a police bust and shot. As he lies dying, his spirit, faithful to the promise he made his sister ­ that he would never abandon her - refuses to abandon the world of the living. It wanders through the city, his visions growing evermore distorted, evermore nightmarish. Past, present and future merge in a hallucinatory maelstrom..."

"My Queen Karo", directed by Dorothée Van Den Berghe will have a world premiere with Van Den Berghe and Matthias Schoenaerts in attedendance.

"...Amsterdam's squatter culture is as famous a utopian experiment as American communes, but seen far less often in films. Dorothée van den Berghe draws from her own experiences growing up in Amsterdam's bohemian environment in My Queen Karo, her spirited second feature. If property is evil, what can be said about the possessiveness that comes with love and family?

It begins as the most incredible adventure. In 1974, Karo (Anna Franziska Jäger) sets out from Belgium with her dad, Raven (Matthias Schoenaerts), and her mom, Dalia (Déborah François), to start a new life in Amsterdam. They join a group that is taking over a vacant building and setting up a new society based around the vast common room they all share. No walls, no rules – only love..."