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TIFF 2011 Takes Off With Announcement of Canadian Films

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Still from David Cronenberg’s new film, in which Michael Fassbender plays Carl Jung and Viggo Mortensen plays Sigmund Freud and everyone gets to make easy “Paging Doctor Freud” jokes in their reviews. Courtesy of TIFF.

Well, we may have to have one of those operations where we get our foot surgically removed from our mouth. After snarking about TIFF 2011’s limp opening lineup (U2? Roland Emmerich? Really?), these other major announcements have had us warming up to this little film festival the city hosts every September. The Midnight Madness programme seems solid. And the doc selections (Real to Reel) seem pretty incredible. Now, with today’s announcement of Canadian films, CanCon fiends and other Beaver Hour boosters are probably drooling maple syrup all over their flannel pajamas.
Perhaps the biggest announcement is the Toronto premiere of Bruce McDonald’s Hardcore Logo II, which premiered at the Whistler Film Festival last year and then kind of dropped off the map. It’s weird, making a sequel to Hardcore Logo, especially because it’s like 15 years after-the-fact, and the main character kills himself at the end. But if Fubar II proved anything, it’s that Canada can follow Hollywood’s lead in establishing franchises, tentpoles, and all that bankable stuff. And with McDonald pushing himself to the centre of the sequel (as documentarian “Bruce McDonald”), it may well prove an interesting addendum to the second film. It’s also weird because the film is screening in the Masters programme, which apparently makes Bruce McDonald a certified master of the cinema, even though he made that terrible Broken Social Scene movie. Sure!
Other big-name Canucks returning to TIFF this year include Guy Maddin, who is back from his sojourn making docu-fictions and pansexual shorts with Keyhole, his new talkie starring Isabella Rosselini, Udo Kier, Jason Patric, and Kid in the Hall Kevin Macdonald. Mike Dowse (who between the two Fubar pictures and It’s All Gone Pete Tong has not made a poor film) also returns with Goon, a hockey movie written by Jay Baruchel and Evan Goldberg that sounds a lot like the anti–Score: A Hockey Musical. Both their films will be screening in the Special Presentations programme, along with a new feature by Trailer Park Boys co-creator Mike Clattenburg called Afghan Luke, a new love story by Jean-Marc Vallée (Café de Flore), a girl-school potboiler by Mary Harron (The Moth Diaries), and a mess of other pictures.

The Contemporary World Cinema programme will feature world premieres by Canadian filmmakers Randall Cole, Barbara Willis-Sweete, Leonard Farlinger, and perennial hack Carl Bessai. A new documentary by Léa Pool, Pink Ribbons Inc., has been added to the Real to Reel programme and seems poised to stir up some controversy, prodding the value of breast cancer fundraising. Another major announcement was the new film by Toronto’s Ingrid Veninger, i am a good person/ i am a bad person, which will screen in the Vanguards programme. Continuing Veninger’s trend of casting her kids in her films, i am a good person/ i am a bad person stars Veninger herself and her daughter Hallie Switzer as—what else?—a mother and daughter. Finally, joining the already-announced Canadian (or Canadian-ish) Gala Premieres of Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz and David Cronenberg’s international co-production, A Dangerous Method, is Ken Scott’s Starbuck (see trailer above), in which Patrick Huard fathers 500-plus children. Gross.
And if that’s not enough CanCon to meet your quotas, there’s also the entire Canada First! programme showcasing Canadian first-time feature filmmakers, and Short Cuts Canada, TIFF’s annual programme of Canadian shorts. So get that oversized plastic jug of Tim Horton’s brewing, hose-heads, because TIFF is only a month away!
The 36th annual Toronto International Film Festival runs September 8–18. TIFF hasn’t uploaded the releases to their website yet, but the good folks over at Indie Wire have compiled a complete list of announced films for TIFF 2011.

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