What a great year to be covering TIFF. It is their 36th and they continue to outdo themselves. Sure, I've only been going to TIFF for going on five years now, and can't really say what the previous 30 were like, but it feels to me like they up the excitement every year. And this year is no exception.
TIFF co-directors, Cameron Bailey and Piers Handling announced a hefty handful of the films that will screen at this year's festival to dozens upon dozens of journalists and one Sarah Polley. Among the gala presentations, of which only half were announced this morning, there are already five I cannot wait to see. David Cronenberg's A DANGEROUS METHOD stars Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortensen and Keria Knightley and looks at the complicated triangle between Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung and a patient they shared. Bennett Miller finally follows up his brilliant debut, CAPOTE, with the Brad Pitt baseball true story, MONEYBALL, also starring Jonah Hill. George Clooney's latest directorial effort, THE IDES OF MARCH, gets political and stars Ryan Gosling and Philip Seymour Hoffman. The aforementioned Polley, gets behind the camera again for TAKE THIS WALTZ, a relationship comedy starring Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen. And the one and only Madonna will hold the North American premiere of what is being billed as her directorial debut, W.E., at TIFF. She put out a feature previously (FILTH & WISDOM) but we're apparently pretending like that didn't happen.
Oh my God ... I might meet Madonna. Again, oh my God.
42 Special Presentation announcements took place today, which represents a good chunk of them from what I understand. New films from directors like Pedro Almodovar, Fernando Meirelles, Alexander Payne, Lars von Trier and Francis Ford Coppola will screen as part of this series. Amongst the other titles, I am most excited for 50/50, the cancer comedy starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen; FRIENDS WITH KIDS, a contemporary comedy with Jon Hamm and Kristen Wiig; JEFF, WHO LIVES AT HOME, from the guys who brought us CYRUS; SHAME, Steve McQueen's follow up to the brilliant, HUNGER, staring Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan; the much talked about and mega hyped up DRIVE, starring Ryan Gosling; and WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN, only because that is all I remember people talking about at Cannes.
TIFF is also getting it's rock and roll on this year. For the first time in its history, a documentary will open the festival and this one is about one of the biggest bands in the world - U2. Davis Guggenheim, the Academy Award winning director of AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH and WAITING FOR SUPERMAN, which screened at TIFF last year, returns with FROM THE SKY DOWN, a look back at "Achtung Baby", one of U2's more definitive releases. And if that isn't enough rock for you, Cameron Crowe will be holding the world premiere of his rockumentary, PEARL JAM TWENTY, a portrait of the band throughout their 20-year career.
Other tidbits from today's conference include the announcement that the Princess of Wales Theatre has been added to the venue list this year for large premieres and that TIFF Bell Lightbox will be stepping up its presence at the festival this year, now that it has a year's experience under its belt. There will also be increased public screenings during the day and something respectful is being planned to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks in the United States, as the date falls during the festival. Finally, all of TIFF's marketing is being done in-house for the first time this year and they have given us, "See it happen here." This is TIFF's new slogan and it is meant to encourage discovery of new films and artists.
There are 10 more Galas to be announced still and now that I know I will have full access to all of them, I can't wait to find out what they are! Now, if you will excuse me, I believe another jig is in order.
For more information, please visit tiff.net.