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’12 Years a Slave,’ ‘Gravity,’ ‘Labor Day,’ ‘Prisoners,’ ‘The Fifth Estate’ & More Among Initial TIFF 2013 Line-Up

Written by on July 23, 2013 

A breath of fresh air in the cinematic landscape, the fall film festivals are a vital showcase of what usually end up being some of our favorite works of the year (or the following years, depending on theatrical release). Getting out of the gate early is the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, who have revealed their initial line-up this morning. After getting a tease that Steve McQueen‘s 12 Years a Slave will host its world premiere there (squashing an rumors of a Venice bow), the rest of the line-up continues with more of our most-anticipated films.

They include Gravity, Dallas Buyers Club, Labor Day, Prisoners, The Railway Man, Under the Skin, Kelly Reichardt‘s Night Moves, The Fifth Estate, Devil’s Knot, Richard Ayoade‘s The Double, David Gordon Green‘s Joe and Nicole Holofcener‘s Enough Said (featuring one of James Gandolfini‘s last performances and more) and more.  Check out the line-up below, as well as the complete press conference and 2013 festival trailer, and return for our coverage.



Galas

American Dreams in China Peter Ho-Sun Chan, Hong Kong/China North American Premiere 1985. In the midst of China’s economic reform period, three college students — an overzealous hillbilly who refuses to accept his destiny of being a farmer; a cynical intellectual with a superiority complex; and a romantic idealist who wants to be a movie star — bond through a shared fascination with Western literature, music and movies, and an ambition to live the American dream. This sets the three on a roundabout course toward the foundation of a wildly successful English-language tutorial institute — but sudden fame and fortune could tear the friends and their vision apart.

The Art of the Steal Jonathan Sobol, Canada World Premiere Crunch Calhoun, a third-rate motorcycle daredevil and part-time art thief, teams up with his snaky brother to steal one of the most valuable books in the world. But it’s not just about the book for Crunch — he’s keen to rewrite some chapters of his own past as well. Starring Jay Baruchel, Matt Dillon, Kurt Russell, Terence Stamp, Katheryn Winnick, Chris Diamantopoulos, Kenneth Welsh and Jason Jones.

August: Osage County John Wells, USA World Premiere August: Osage County tells the dark, hilarious and deeply touching story of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose lives have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Midwest house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them. Based on Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize– and Tony Award–winning 2007 play of the same name. Starring Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Abigail Breslin, Sam Shepard and Chris Cooper.

Cold Eyes Cho Ui-seok and Kim Byung-seo, South Korea North American Premiere A veteran leader of the Special Crime Department Surveillance Team, and a rookie female detective with gifted powers of reasoning, keep a close watch over a vicious criminal organization. After continuous surveillance and pursuit, they come close to arresting the organization but commit a fatal mistake. Starring Seol Kyung-gu, Jung Woo-sung, Han Hyo-joo, Lee Jun-ho and Jin Gyeong.

Opening Night Film

The Fifth Estate Bill Condon, USA World Premiere Triggering an age of high-stakes secrecy, explosive news leaks and the trafficking of classified information, WikiLeaks forever changed the game. This dramatic thriller based on real events reveals the quest to expose the deceptions and corruptions of power that turned an Internet upstart into the 21st century’s most fiercely debated organization. The story begins as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Brühl) team up to become underground watchdogs of the privileged and powerful. On a shoestring, they create a platform that allows whistleblowers to anonymously leak covert data, shining a light on the dark recesses of government secrets and corporate crimes. Soon, they are breaking more hard news than the world’s most legendary media organizations combined. But when Assange and Berg gain access to the biggest trove of confidential intelligence documents in U.S. history, they battle each other and a defining question of modern time: what are the costs of keeping secrets in a free society — and what are the costs of exposing them? The film also stars David Thewlis, Stanley Tucci, Laura Linney, Anthony Mackie and Dan Stevens.

The Grand Seduction Don McKellar, Canada World Premiere The tiny Newfoundland outport of Tickle Head is set for financial salvation if they can secure a petrochemical plant. Their odds are slim, as a town doctor is needed to land the contract. When one candidate, Dr. Paul Lewis, lands in their lap, the town rallies to seduce him to stay beyond his one-month trial. Paul’s fondness for the village grows as the month passes — though he’s clueless to the fact that everything he has grown to love is an elaborate web of lies. Starring Brendan Gleeson, Taylor Kitsch, Gordon Pinsent, Liane Balaban and Mark Critch.

Kill Your Darlings John Krokidas, USA International Premiere Kill Your Darlings is the true story of friendship and murder that led to the birth of an entire generation. This is the previously untold story of murder that brought together a young Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston), and William Burroughs (Ben Foster) at Columbia University in 1944, providing the spark that would lead to their Beat Revolution. Also stars Dane DeHaan, Michael C. Hall, David Cross, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Elizabeth Olsen, Kyra Sedgwick and John Cullum.

Closing Night Film

Life of Crime Daniel Schechter, USA World Premiere Based on the novel The Switch, by Elmore Leonard, Louis (John Hawkes) and Ordell (yasiin bey, a.k.a. Mos Def) — two common criminals in 1970s Detroit — kidnap the housewife (Jennifer Aniston) of a corrupt real estate developer (Tim Robbins) and hold her for ransom. Also stars Isla Fisher, Will Forte, and Mark Boone Jr.

The Love Punch Joel Hopkins, France World Premiere Retirement at last! Middle-aged and divorced, company owner Richard Jones is looking forward to a worry-free existence as he arrives at his office on his last day of work. Much to his dismay, he discovers that the management buyout of his company was fraudulent. The company is now bankrupt and the employee pension fund — including his own — has been embezzled. Enlisting the help of his ex-wife Kate, Richard sets out to track down the shady businessman behind the fraud. Before they know it, Richard and Kate are caught up in a cat-and-mouse caper across Europe in a whirlwind of intrigue, mad chases and jewellery theft that could restore Richard’s future — and might just rekindle the couple’s romance. Starring Emma Thompson and Pierce Brosnan.

The Lunchbox Ritesh Batra, India/France/Germany North American Premiere Middle class housewife Ila is trying once again to add some spice to her marriage, this time through her cooking. She desperately hopes this new recipe will finally arouse some kind of reaction from her neglectful husband. Unbeknownst to her, the special lunchbox she prepared is mistakenly delivered to miserable office worker Saajan, a lonely man on the verge of retirement. Curious about the lack of reaction from her husband, Ila puts a little note in the following day’s lunchbox which sparks a series of exchanged notes between Saajan and Ila. Evolving into an unexpected friendship between anonymous strangers, they become lost in a virtual relationship that could jeopardize both of their realities.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom Justin Chadwick, South Africa World Premiere Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is based on South African President Nelson Mandela’s autobiography of the same name, which chronicles his early life, coming of age, education, and 27 years in prison before working to rebuild his country’s once-segregated society. Starring Idris Elba as Nelson Mandela, and Naomie Harris as Winnie Mandela.

Parkland Peter Landesman, USA North American Premiere November 22nd, 1963 was a day that changed the world forever — when young American President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. This film follows, almost in real time, a handful of individuals forced to make split-second decisions after an event that would change their lives and forever alter the world’s landscape: the young doctors and nurses at Parkland Hospital, the chief of the Dallas Secret Service, the unwitting cameraman who captured what has become the most watched and examined film in history, the FBI Agents who had gunman Lee Harvey Oswald within their grasp and Vice President Lyndon Johnson who had to take control of a country in a moment’s notice. Thrust into a scenario of unprecedented drama with unimaginable consequences, these key characters respond with shock, outrage, determination and courage. Woven together, their seemingly disparate perspectives make one of the most thrilling and powerful stories never told. Starring Paul Giamatti, Colin Hanks, Zac Efron, Billy Bob Thornton, Jacki Weaver and Marcia Gay Harden.

The Railway Man Jonathan Teplitzky, Australia/United Kingdom World Premiere Based on the bestselling novel, The Railway Man tells the extraordinary and epic true story of Eric Lomax, a British Army officer who is tormented as a prisoner of war at a Japanese labour camp during World War II. Decades later, Lomax discovers that the Japanese interpreter he holds responsible for much of his treatment is still alive and sets out to confront him, and his haunting past. Starring Academy Award–winner Colin Firth, Jeremy Irvine, and Academy Award–winner Nicole Kidman, the film is a powerful tale of survival, love and redemption.

The Right Kind of Wrong Jeremiah Chechik, Canada World Premiere The Right Kind of Wrong is a romantic comedy about a failed-writer-turned-dishwasher and fearless dreamer who risks everything to show the girl of his dreams all that is right with the wrong guy. Starring Ryan Kwanten, Sara Canning and Catherine O’Hara.

Rush Ron Howard, United Kingdom/Germany International Premiere Two-time Academy Award winner Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, Frost/Nixon) teams up once again with two-time Academy Award– nominated writer Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon, The Queen) on Rush — a spectacular big-screen re-creation of the merciless 1970s rivalry between James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl). Also features Olivia Wilde, Alexandra Maria Lara and Pierfrancesco Favino.

Shuddh Desi Romance Maneesh Sharma, India Canadian Premiere Shuddh Desi Romance follows a fresh and very real love story about the hair-raising minefield between love, attraction and commitment. A romantic comedy that tells it like it is, providing a candid look at the affairs of the heart in today’s desi heartland. Starring Rishi Kapoor, Sushant Singh Rajput, Parineeti Chopra and Vaani Kapoor.

Supermensch The Legend of Shep Gordon Mike Myers, USA World Premiere In 1991, music manager Shep Gordon held Mike Myers over a barrel a few weeks before shooting Wayne’s World regarding an Alice Cooper song Myers wanted to use in the film. They have been close friends ever since. Twenty-two years later, the story of Gordon’s legendary life in the über-fast lane is now told in Myers’ directorial debut. And this time it’s Myers who has Gordon over a barrel. Shep Gordon: capitalist, protector, hedonist, pioneer, showman, shaman… Supermensch!

Check out more of the line-up on the next page >>

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