Release the hounds!

The final announcement for TIFF 2014 was made this morning, and there was a lot of delicious cinema held back for dessert. There were a handful of big titles kept til last, some great interactive activities unveiled, and some intriguing talks announced.

Oh, and if it’s your thing, lots and lots of stars are going to be coming to town.

Amongst the highlights…

  • The new Bill Murray joint ST VINCENT will be a world premiere in TIFF’s Special Presentations programme.
  • ROGER WATERS’ THE WALL will be getting the big screen/big sound treatment. If you’re a fan of Floyd, I promise you will never get another chance to hear this film sound better.
  • Marjane Satrapi, the brains behind PERSEPOLIS, brings her live action follow-up THE VOICES into town.
  • Martin Scorsese’s documentary on The New York Review of Books, THE 50 YEAR ARGUMENT, arrives marking the first Scorsese joint at TIFF since NO DIRECTION HOME.
  • Mavericks conversations are set to be held with Jon Stewart, Robert Duvall, Denzel Washington, and Reese Witherspoon.

As for me, I’ll be submitting my picks early next week, so expect a post running down my slate in the coming days. Considering I have only skimmed the surface of everything that’s been announced this year, I expect it to be a difficult decision as usual!

The full rundown on today’s announcements are below. Is it September yet?

Roger Waters The Wall Sean Evans and Roger Waters, United Kingdom World Premiere
Filmed during Waters’ sold-out 2010–2013 “The Wall Live” tour, Roger Waters The Wall delivers an exhilaratingly visceral experience of rock ‘n’ roll showmanship and storytelling. And it does much more, illuminating the music’s themes of war and loss as it follows Waters on a personally revealing road trip.

The Sound and the Fury James Franco, USA North American Premiere
The Sound and the Fury captures the lives and passions of the Compsons, a once proud Southern family caught in a tragic spiral of loss and misfortune. Based on the novel by Nobel Prize-winner author William Faulkner and considered among the 20th century’s greatest works, The Sound and the Fury encapsulates the universal theme of the death of honour, social injustice and forbidden love. Starring James Franco, Tim Blake Nelson and Joey King.

St. Vincent Theodore Melfi, USA World Premiere
Maggie, a single mother, moves into a new home in Brooklyn with her 12-year-old son, Oliver. Forced to work long hours, she has no choice but to leave Oliver in the care of their new neighbour, Vincent, a retired curmudgeon with a penchant for alcohol and gambling. An odd friendship soon blossoms between the improbable pair. Together with a pregnant stripper named Daka, Vincent brings Oliver along on all the stops that make up his daily routine — the race track, a strip club, and the local dive bar. Vincent helps Oliver grow to become a man, while Oliver begins to see in Vincent something that no one else is able to: a misunderstood man with a good heart. Starring Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts, Chris O’Dowd, Terrence Howard, and Jaeden Lieberher.


Foreign Body (Obce Cialo) Krzysztof Zanussi, Poland/Italy/Russia World Premiere
A dashing young Italian in Poland finds himself caught between two women — a novitiate nun and a ruthless corporate ladder-climber — in this lacerating vision of contemporary Poland from master filmmaker Krzysztof Zanussi. Starring Riccardo Leonelli, Agnieszka Grochowska, Agata Buzek and Weronika Rosati.

Murder in Pacot (Meurtre à Pacot) Raoul Peck, Haiti/France/Norway World Premiere
After the terrible January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, a privileged couple struggles to reinvent a life amid the rubbles of their villa in Portau-Prince’s upscale neighborhood of Pacot. Destitute and in desperate need for money to repair their home, the couple decides to rent the remaining habitable part of the villa to Alex, a high-level foreign relief worker, who brings Jennifer, aka Andrémise, his Haitian girlfriend, a sassy and ambitious young woman. Co-written with acclaimed author Lyonel Trouillot, the powerful huis clos set in the earthquake’s urban and social ruins evokes a kind of “Haiti Year Zero”. Starring Alex Descas, Joy Olasunmibo Ogunmakin, Thibault Vinçon and Lovely Kermonde Fifi.

The Tale of The Princess Kaguya (Kaguya-hime no Monogatari) Isao Takahata, Japan North American Premiere
Found inside a shining stalk of bamboo, a tiny girl grows into an exquisite young lady, raised by an old bamboo cutter and his wife. From the countryside to the grand capital city, even unseen she enthralls all who encounter her, including five noble suitors. Ultimately she must face her fate, the punishment for her crime. Based on the classic Japanese folktale, The Tale of The Bamboo Cutter, The Tale of The Princess Kaguya is the newest film from Studio Ghibli and the strikingly beautiful culmination of decades of contemplation by its director, Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata. Starring Aki Asakura, Kengo Kora, Takeo Chii and Nobuko Miyamoto.

Winter Sleep (Kis uykusu) Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Turkey/France/Germany North American Premiere
Aydin, a former actor, runs a small hotel in Central Anatolia with his young wife Nihal, with whom he has a stormy relationship, and his sister Necla who is suffering from her recent divorce. In winter as the snow begins to fall, the hotel turns into a shelter but also an inescapable place that fuels their animosities.


The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness (Yume to kyôki no ohkoku) Mami Sunada, Japan North American Premiere
Granted unfettered access to the notoriously insular Studio Ghibli, director Mami Sunada follows the three men who are the lifeblood of one of the world’s most celebrated animation studios — the eminent director Hayao Miyazaki, the producer Toshio Suzuki, and the elusive and influential “other director” Isao Takahata, as they rush to complete production of Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises and Takahata’s The Tale of The Princess Kaguya (Toronto International Film Festival 2014 official selection).

The Years of Fierro (Los años de Fierro) Santiago Esteinou, Mexico North American Premiere
The Years of Fierro tells the story of César Fierro, the oldest Mexican prisoner on death row in the United States. César has waited for an execution date for more than 30 years, always insisting that he is innocent. This documentary is a reflection on justice, imprisonment and brotherly love, through the eyes of César and his brother, Sergio. These two brothers hope to meet again, no matter the time or the distance.


The Voices Marjane Satrapi, USA/Germany Canadian Premiere
This genre-bending tale centres around Jerry, a lovable but disturbed factory worker who yearns for attention from a woman in accounting. When their relationship takes a sudden, murderous turn, Jerry’s evil talking cat and benevolent talking dog lead him down a fantastical path where he ultimately finds salvation. Starring Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick and Jacki Weaver.


Cut Bank Matt Shakman, USA International Premiere
Twenty-five-year-old Dwayne McLaren, a former athlete turned auto mechanic, dreams of getting out of tiny Cut Bank, Montana — the coldest town in America. But his effort to do so sets in motion a deadly series of events that change his life and the life of the town forever.

Tigers Danis Tanović, India/France/United Kingdom World Premiere
Devastated when he discovers the effects of the cheap, locally-made drugs he peddles for a Pakistani pharmaceuticals firm, a young salesman challenges the system and the powers that be, in this based-on-fact drama from Academy Award-winning director Danis Tanović (No Man’s Land).

Mavericks Conversation With… Denzel Washington and Antoine Fuqua
Denzel Washington is one of the film world’s most prominent leading men, known best for his galvanizing portrayals of both real-life figures (Malcolm X, The Hurricane, American Gangster) and fictional characters (Philadelphia, Devil in a Blue Dress, Flight).
Washington returns to the Festival starring in The Equalizer, an intense thriller that reunites him with director Antoine Fuqua (Brooklyn’s Finest, Shooter, Olympus Has Fallen) for the first time since their Oscar-winning collaboration on Training Day. In this Mavericks conversation, Washington and Fuqua will take the stage to discuss their own work as well as their remarkable collaborations.

Mavericks Conversation With… Juliette Binoche
From the moment Juliette Binoche stepped from stage to screen, her career has blazed with magnificent intensity. Discovered by JeanLuc Godard, who cast her in 1985’s Je vous salue, Marie!, Binoche has been honoured for a succession of very fine and sensitive performances that have earned her the main prizes at the Berlin, Venice, and Cannes film festivals, ascending to the heights of Oscar fame when she won Best Supporting Actress for her work in The English Patient. Admired for the visionary filmmakers she has chosen to work with, and for the daring choices she has made as an actor, she’s never afraid to throw herself completely and fully into a variety of roles. As one of the most beloved and honoured actors in contemporary cinema, Binoche discusses an extraordinary career that has taken her from Godard to Godzilla, and her performance in the Festival selection Clouds of Sils Maria.

Mavericks Conversation With… Reese Witherspoon
A singular presence in Hollywood blockbusters and independent cinema alike, Reese Witherspoon specializes in defying expectations. With plenty of great characters under her belt that have seen her evolve from child star to comedic heroine (Legally Blonde) to dramatic powerhouse (Walk the Line), Witherspoon stars in two films at the Festival this year. In Jean-Marc Vallée’s Wild she plays Cheryl Strayed, a woman who overcomes a series of personal tragedies by hiking 1,100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail; and in The Good Lie she’s an employment agency counsellor whose encounter with a trio of Sudanese refugees opens both her heart and her view of the world beyond her Kansas City home. The Academy Award®-winner will hit the stage for a special conversation on the occasion of the premieres of her highly anticipated new films.
Mavericks Conversation With… Richard Gere
Richard Gere’s long and diverse career spans from his sensational series of screen roles in the ’70s and ’80s (Looking For Mr. Goodbar, Days of Heaven, American Gigolo) to box-office hits (Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride, Chicago), and has seen him collaborate with heavyweight directors such Terrence Malick, Francis Ford Coppola, Paul Schrader and Robert Altman. Gere appears in the Festival in Oren Moverman’s Time Out of Mind — which he also produced — starring as a homeless man desperate to reconnect with his estranged daughter in one of his most vital roles yet. It’s the opposite of the slick roles with which he became associated early on, and proof of his continued commitment to risk-taking and self-reinvention. An artist disinclined to rest on his laurels, Gere takes the stage in this Mavericks session to reflect on his diverse four-decade career as movie star, sex symbol, style icon, political activist and devoted Tibetan Buddhist.

Mavericks Conversation With… Robert Duvall
In a career that has spanned over half a century, Robert Duvall has perhaps embodied more facets of the American psyche than any other single actor, appearing in some of the most iconic films ever made such as To Kill a Mockingbird, The Godfather, Colors, The Apostle, M*A*S*H and Apocalypse Now, as well as in the hugely popular television series The Twilight Zone and The Fugitive. With his new film, The Judge, opening this year’s Festival, the Academy Award-winning actor and director takes the stage to discuss his extensive and fascinating body of work.

Mavericks Conversation With… Jon Stewart
Jon Stewart makes his directorial debut at this year’s Festival with his feature film Rosewater, a notable departure from his satirical comedy as host of The Daily Show. In 2009, Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari, who has a distinguished career as a documentary filmmaker, was imprisoned in Iran for five months after his appearance on Stewart’s show, accused of being an American spy. Bahari chronicled the experience in his book Then They Came For Me, which became the inspiration for Stewart’s Rosewater. In this Mavericks conversation, Stewart will talk about making the leap from performing television comedy to directing big-screen drama and will reflect on roles that journalism and satire occupy when they clash with authority. Bahari will join Stewart on stage.

The 50 Year Argument Martin Scorsese and David Tedeschi, USA Canadian Premiere
The world of New York intellectuals has often been memorialized in books, but rarely on film. Martin Scorsese teams up with David Tedeschi (editor on several Scorsese documentaries) to direct The 50 Year Argument, a documentary tribute to The New York Review of Books whose 50-year history saw it frequently on the frontlines of cultural and political debate. The film features a wide array of interviews with the magazine’s international contributors, all of whom exemplify the power of language to provoke, illuminate and effect change. Sitting at the helm is Bob Silvers, who has edited the magazine for its entire history, having done so alongside Barbara Epstein until her death in 2006. In this Mavericks presentation, the screening of the film will be followed by a conversation with Silvers and codirector Tedeschi.

Do I Sound Gay? David Thorpe, USA World Premiere
In his feature-length documentary debut Do I Sound Gay?, journalist David Thorpe embarks on a hilarious and touching journey of selfdiscovery, confronting his anxiety about “sounding gay.” Enlisting acting coaches, linguists, friends, family, total strangers and celebrities, he quickly learns that many people — both gay and straight — often wish for a different voice. His personal journey uncovers layers of cultural baggage concerning sexuality, identity, and self-esteem, gaining frank and funny perspectives from public figures such as comedian Margaret Cho, actor George Takei, sex-advice columnist Dan Savage, fashion guru Tim Gunn, and writer David Sedaris. This Mavericks world-premiere presentation of Do I Sound Gay? is followed by a live discussion between Thorpe and Savage, whose trademark wit and insight promise a dynamic, stimulating conversation.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream Julie Taymor, USA International Premiere
Of all Shakespeare’s plays, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the most phantasmagorical, with fairies, spells, and hallucinatory lovers. His flights of fancy are well matched to the talents of Julie Taymor, who turns out a production that’s visually breathtaking, funny, sexy, and darkly poetic. This immersive, inventive cinematic experience took place during Taymor’s highly acclaimed inaugural stage production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the new Polonsky Center in Brooklyn, New York in 2013. Characteristic of Taymor, the feats of visual imagination are ingenious and plentiful, but beating at the centre of the film is an emotionally moving take on the deeper human aspects of this beloved tale. Having gone from experimental theatre to rejuvenating the Broadway musical with The Lion King, Taymor repeatedly takes risks on films, from Frida and Across the Universe to Titus and The Tempest. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, she displays her creative powers in their peak form. After the screening, Taymor will participate in an extended conversation about its making.

Labyrinthus Douglas Boswell, Belgium International Premiere
Frikke, a 14-year-old boy, comes across a computer game and discovers that it’s being played with real children. In a race against time, Frikke tries to find the evil creator of this horrible game. Starring Emma Verlinden, Spencer Bogaert, Felix Maesschalck and Pepijn Caudron.

Paper Planes Robert Connolly, Australia International Premiere
An imaginative family film about a young Australian boy’s passion for flight and his challenge to compete in the World Paper Plane Championships in Japan. Starring Sam Worthington and Ed Oxenbould.

Secrets of War (Oorlogsgeheimen) Dennis Bots, Netherlands/Belgium/Luxembourg International Premiere
Against the background of WWII, Tuur’s trust in his best friend Lambert is tested when both boys befriend Maartje, who has a secret that endangers their lives and friendship. Starring Maas Bronkhuyzen, Joes Brauers and Pippa Allen.

Song of the Sea Tomm Moore, Ireland/Luxembourg/Belgium/France/Denmark World Premiere
The much anticipated second feature from Oscar-nominated director Tomm Moore (The Secret of Kells), Song of the Sea tells the story of Ben and his little sister Saoirse as they embark on a fantastic journey across a fading world of ancient legend and magic in an attempt to return to their home by the sea. Starring Brendan Gleeson, Fionnula Flanagan and Pat Shortt.

TIFF Festival Street Programmes
Telefilm Canada’s Live Game Show
Hosted by etalk, Telefilm Canada is holding its first-ever live game show on Festival Street. This year’s TIFF Rising Stars will battle it out with well-known Canadian talent for bragging rights. The two teams will compete in hilarious games to put their knowledge of Canadian cinema to the test. And they’ll need help from the crowd…

Black Flags
Marlo Yarlo, a Toronto-based artist who is interested in exploring the representation and function of the image related to materialism, presents an installation of two sets of four flags with reflective accents that allude to the design of the Black Flag logo — a wellrecognized symbol of punk subculture and DIY anarchistic aesthetic.

Toronto International Film Festival presents:
Festival Street’s Rdio Music Zone and the Steve and Rashmi Gupta Family Stage
From 6pm nightly on Festival Street, step into the Rdio Music Zone and check out a high-energy slate of bands on the Steve and Rashmi Gupta Family Stage that are sure to have audiences dancing. Get close to the action or hang back and enjoy a frosty premium lager at Grolsch Open House — the comfortable lounge hosted by our official beer sponsor. Performers include: • Absolutely Free
• Adrian X
• DJ Misty
• Elaquent
• Jason Collett
• John Kong
• Maylee Todd
• Rich Aucoin

Performers co-presented by Festival Music House include:
• Bobby Bazini
• Diana
• Eon The Soul Proprietor
• Reuben And The Dark

Snakes & Lattes Presents: The Board Game Concierge
Take a seat near the Peter St. entrance and let a trusty Board Game Guru from Snakes & Lattes help you pick the best game for your mood and time frame.

Festival Collectibles
Don’t just walk Festival Street, go on a treasure hunt! Hidden along the street are a slew of Festival Collectibles curated or created by notable filmmakers Don McKellar, Guy Maddin, Andrea Dorfman, Ingrid Veninger, and Josh Solondz. Tweet your #TIFF14 discoveries and compare treasures with your fellow hunters.

Re-Sounding the Films of Norman McLaren with Absolutely Free Co-Presented by the National Film Board of Canada
In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Norman McLaren, founder of the National Film Board of Canada animation studio and one of Canada’s most legendary artists, Festival Street and the National Film Board of Canada present an outdoor screening of his short films with original scores written and performed live by Toronto pop/psychedelic/experimental group, Absolutely Free.

Rearview Mirror
Go to TIFF Bell Lightbox and look way up! Winners of last year’s Best Canadian First Feature Film for their film Asphalt Watches, filmmakers/animators/artists Seth Scriver and Shayne Ehman, whose work has been exhibited at the MOCCA (Toronto), Art Basel Miami and Tokyo Wondersite, have super-sized one of their favourite characters for your viewing pleasure.
HAL9000 Photo Booth
TIFF has partnered with Toronto-based creative agency Young Offenders’ Fezz Stenton and Adam Belanger to create a larger-than-life interactive Photo Booth version of HAL9000 from Stanley Kubrick’s sci-fi classic 2001: A Space Odyssey, in anticipation of TIFF’s fall Stanley Kubrick Exhibition, opening October 31 at TIFF Bell Lightbox. Find HAL9000 on John St. and have a chat with him, get him to snap your photo, enter to win tickets to upcoming events, and keep your eyes peeled for Kubrick’s most iconic characters roaming Festival Street.

Shed Plays Co-Presented by the Toronto Fringe
An annual favourite at the raucous Fringe Club patio at the Toronto Fringe, Shed Plays offer movie-themed micro-plays performed by vanguard indie theatre artists, mischievous clowns and divine divas, deceased authors, and award-winning comedians, all inches from your face inside a shed.
Film Festival Therapy
Film Festival Therapy is the help you want, not the help you need. Share your feelings with Film Festival therapist Amanda Burt and receive expert care, film festival guidance and a prescription for happiness at #TIFF14.

Check Mates
Hit Festival Street with a game plan: especially if you plan to play chess on our massive board.

Festival Street Piano
In between scheduled performances, come and release your inner Rachmaninoff on our public piano, imaginatively painted by local artist Jonathan Petersen.

Light Tunnel
Enter Festival Street from University Ave and take a walk through the world’s most soothing red carpet. Light Tunnel is a light and sound art installation by Nathan Whitford of Urban Visuals, consisting of custom LED fixtures with over 3,200 LEDs. The lights are programmed to a multi-channel soundscape composed by John Kameel Farah, and dedicated to the memory of Nadia Farah.

Festival Seating
When it’s time to take a break during all the action, make a stop at one of our Festival Seating areas. Do some business; catch up with old friends; play a game; listen to a street-side concert; or grab a quick bite before continuing your festivities.

Popup Performances
Dancing Phil
Phil Villeneuve danced his way onto The Ellen DeGeneres Show and now he’s hitting Festival Street to grind a path into your hearts. Join him and then watch the videos on!

Fresh Kils
Sound Battle Royale Champion, JUNO nominated producer and engineer and prolific MPC maestro Fresh Kils will get pedestrians dancing down the promenade with infectious hip-hop and underground beats.

Mammalian Diving Reflex – Socialist Games
Created by research-art atelier Mammalian Diving Reflex, Socialist Games calls on strangers to play with strangers in wave after wave of summer-camp style activities — minus the summer camp, plus the awkwardness, and double the hotness.

déVah invents a rich texture of sound utilizing various non-acoustic modifying tools creating different tones and dimensions to music, continuously evolving and recreating itself with hopes of innovating the quartet world through electric string creativity.

Bob Wiseman
Juno award-winner Bob Wiseman is a CBC Lifetime Achievement award-winning composer and songwriter. A 2010 nominee for the Governor General’s Media Arts Award, he has collaborated with Mary Margaret O’Hara, Serena Ryder, Basia Bulat, Maylee Todd and Richard Underhill.

The Di Palmas
The Di Palmas play the finest in country and western, or re-imagine tunes that weren’t originally country and western as country and western. All covers, all the time (at least so far) because there are tons of good songs out there.

Marker Starling
Toronto’s Marker Starling AKA Chris Cummings graces the piano with his Rhythm Ace to deliver his deep soulful tunes that will surely stop you in your tracks.

Bryan Holt + Lisa Tahara
Classically trained cellist Bryan Holt and pianist Lisa Tahara treat Festival Street pedestrians to inspired interpretations of cinematic music.

HARKthegirl (AKA Marnie Herald) is a songwriter whose intimate lyrics and soothing melodies channel the legendary songwriters of our time – Townes Van Zandt, Joan Baez, and Jeff Tweedy. Herald is on a mission to sing us all to a place of peace, love, and understanding, and splits her time between Los Angeles and Toronto.
Mustafa the Poet & FrancisGotHeat
Rousing young poet Mustafa is joined by producer/musician/multi-instrumentalist FrancisGotHeat on the street-side piano to touch and inspire hearts and minds.