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Galas, Masters, Wavelengths, Contemporary Cinema, Lagos & TIFF 2016

Additional galas and special presentations will be taking place as part of the 41st Toronto International Film Festival which includes new films by directors Gerard Barrett, Emmanuelle Bercot, Terry George, Walter Hill, Sang-il Lee, David Leveaux, Alexey Mizgirev, Miwa Nishikawa, Ken Loach, Terrence Malick, and Jordan Roberts.

Here are some of the World Premieres:

the promise 1

The Promise by Terry George, USA/Spain

Michael, a humble Armenian apothecary, leaves his village to study medicine in cosmopolitan Constantinople. Chris, an American photojournalist who has come to the country to partly cover the geopolitics, is in a relationship with the talented Ana, a Paris-educated, Armenian artist. When Michael meets Ana, their shared heritage sparks an attraction that explodes into a romantic rivalry between the two men. After the Turks join the war on the German side, the Ottoman Empire turns violently against its own ethnic minorities. Despite their conflicts, everyone must find a way to survive — even as monumental events envelope their lives. Starring Oscar Isaac, Charlotte Le Bon, and Christian Bale.

(Re)Assignment by Walter Hill, Canada

A revenge tale about an ace assassin who is double-crossed by gangsters and a rogue plastic surgeon operating on the fringes of society. The story becomes a trail of self-discovery and redemption against a criminal mastermind opponent. Starring Michelle Rodriguez, Sigourney Weaver, and Tony Shalhoub.

Brain on Fire by Gerard Barrett, Ireland/Canada

A rising journalist at the New York Post mysteriously starts having seizures and hearing voices. As weeks go by and Susannah rapidly descends into insanity, she moves inexplicably from violence to catatonia. Following a series of outbursts, misdiagnoses, and a prolonged hospital stay, a lucky, last-minute intervention by one doctor finally gives her a diagnosis and hope to rebuild her life. Starring Chloë Grace Moretz, Thomas Mann, Richard Armitage, Tyler Perry, and Carrie-Anne Moss.

the duelist 1

The Duelist by Alexey Mizgirev, Russia

Returning to Saint Petersburg after a long exile, the dashing Yakovlev, a retired army officer, makes a comfortable living by winning other people’s duels. Unbeatable, he leaves a trail of dead bodies behind him as he swirls through polite society, frequently called upon to wield a pistol as a surrogate in dawn duels. When Yakovlev meets the young, beautiful Princess Martha, the two fall in love. What transpires uncovers a series of answers about his dark past. Starring Petr Fedorov, Vladimir Mashkov, Martin Wuttke, Yuri Kolokolnikov, and Franziska Petri.

The Exception by David Leveaux, UK

May, 1940. The last German Kaiser has been living in exile in the Dutch countryside for 25 years. When the Nazis invade Holland, they send a young German officer to stop the old man from defecting to England. But the British have already installed a spy in his household. And then Himmler announces he is coming to dinner. The threads of history conspire with the recklessness of the heart to dumbfound them. Starring Lily James, Christopher Plummer, Jai Courtney, Janet McTeer, Ben Daniels, and Eddie Marsan.

The Long Excuse (Nagai Iiwake) by Miwa Nishikawa, Japan

A recently widowed writer whose wife died in a bus crash impulsively offers to care for the children of a working man who lost his wife in the same accident, in this gently humorous drama from Japanese writer-director Miwa Nishikawa. Starring Masahiro Motoki, Sousuke Ikematsu, and Eri Fukatsu.

the long excuse

The masters of cinema will be well represented with the latest efforts by Pedro Almodóvar, Wim Wenders, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, and Hong Sang-soo being showcased.

Amongst the World Premieres to watch for:

"Powidoki" rez. Andrzej Wajda Fotosy: Jaroslaw Sosinski +48 502 702 022

Afterimage (Powidoki) by Andrzej Wajda, Poland

Nonagenarian director Andrzej Wajda returns with a passionate biopic about the Polish avant-garde artist Władysław Strzemiński, who battled Stalinist orthodoxy and his own physical impairments to advance his progressive ideas about art. Starring Boguslaw Linda.

J: Beyond Flamenco (JOTA) by Carlos Saura, Spain

Experience the joy and strength of the Spanish dance and music called la Jota. As with flamenco, tango, and fados, Jota has evolved from traditional folkdance to new artistic dimensions. With his own personal style, director Carlos Saura continues to distill the magic and explore the boundaries of art in its purest state.

Yourself and Yours (Dangsinjasingwa dangsinui geot) by Hong Sang-soo, South Korea

Painter Youngsoo and his girlfriend Minjung navigate the twists and turns of a modern romance with arguing, hearsay, mistaken identity, and infidelity.

yourself and yours

Experimental filmmakers and artists take centre stage with the Wavelengths programme that features cinematic offerings by Douglas Gordon, Lav Diaz, Jõao Pedro Rodrigues, Ana Vaz, Matías Piñeiro, Joana Pimenta, belit sağ, Tomonari Nishikawa, Angela Schanelec, Ruth Beckermann, Ismaïl Bahri, Nina Könnemann, Wang Bing, Cyprien Gaillard, and Sky Hopinka.

woman who left

“This year’s edition of Wavelengths,” stated curator Andréa Picard, “demonstrates how filmmakers and artists are steadfast in their commitment to artistic freedom in a time of global economic and political crises. That we are seeing histories reconsidered and recast, multi-form gestures of empathy, and incongruous and terrific moments of humour offers ample proof that film artists are using the medium not only in formally inventive ways which expand the possibilities of cinematic expression, but also in ways which slyly resist a steadily encroaching conservatism and conformism.”

A number of North American Premieres will be taking place:

the dreamed path

The Dreamed Path (Der traumhafte Weg) by Angela Schanelec, Germany

Two couples suffer the failure of their relationships 30 years apart. In Greece, in 1984, Theres and Kenneth are young lovers on vacation whose relationship collapses under life’s strain and circumstances; in the present day, Berlin-based actress Ariane leaves her anthropologist husband David after a marital crisis.

Kékszakállú by Gastón Solnicki, Argentina

A portrait of several young women at the threshold of adulthood, feeling their way through various crises born of the insular comforts of class privilege. Obliquely inspired by Béla Bartόk’s sole opera Bluebeard’s Castle, this film is radically transposed within the alternating milieu of work and repose in Buenos Aires and Punta del Este.

Ta’ang by Wang Bing, Hong Kong/France

The documentary takes us into the refugee camps on the Chinese border populated by those fleeing the ongoing civil war in Myanmar.

ta ang

Brazil, China, Colombia, France, Haiti, Ireland, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, and Turkey will be represented in the Contemporary World Cinema programme.  “Contemporary World Cinema is the global heart of the Festival,” remarked TIFF Artistic Director Cameron Bailey. “We’re thrilled to be launching a lineup that includes the premieres of new films from Turkey’s Yeşim Ustaoğlu, Romania’s Adrian Sitaru, South Africa’s Akin Omotoso, and Germany’s Marie Noëlle.”

In regards to World Premieres watch out for these:

the fixer

The Fixer (Fixeur) by Adrian Sitaru, Romania/France

Radu is a simple trainee journalist, but an international scandal involving an underage prostitute seems to be the chance to prove his value. He is ready to overcome each obstacle and deliver a good story. However, the task turns out to be trickier than expected and the more he approaches his goal, the closer he gets to some moral limits.

Marie Curie, The Courage of Knowledge by Marie Noëlle, Germany/France/Poland

In 1905, Marie and Pierre Curie received the Nobel Prize for their discovery of radioactivity. After a tragic accident, Pierre dies suddenly and leaves Marie alone with two young daughters. Facing her duties as a mother and a scientist, she continues her work on the “Curie-therapy” against cancer. But science is primarily a man’s world and Marie’s audacity is not well received. Following a passionate and scandalous love affair, her second Nobel Prize seems in danger.

santa and andres 1

Santa & Andres (Santa y Andrés) by Carlos Lechuga, Cuba/Colombia/France

It is 1983 in a rural mountain region of Oriente, in eastern Cuba. Andres, a noncompliant gay writer in his 50s, has been blacklisted by the government for having “ideological problems.” When a big event happens, Santa, a local girl is appointed to watch over him. Santa and Andres are opposites, but what they cannot imagine is that they have more in common than they expected.

Vaya by Akin Omotoso, South Africa

Based on true stories and set in the underbelly of Johannesburg and Soweto. Three separate plots intersect in a gripping and moving story about coming to the city and struggling to survive. Nhlanhla, a rural man is promised a job by his big city cousin, Nkulu is coming to recall his father’s body, and Zanele is bringing her aunt’s child to live with her mother for the first time. One event will change their lives forever.

The Women’s Balcony (Ismach Hatani) by Emil Ben Shimon, Israel

In a small neighbourhood in Jerusalem, a group of women struggle to reunite their community and preserve their traditions in the face of a charismatic rabbi who enters their lives.

the womens balconey

Following in the footsteps of London, Seoul, Athens, Mumbai, Buenos Aires, Istanbul and Tel Aviv is Lagos, Nigeria which gets the City to City programme treatment.

“Hundreds of films are made every year in Lagos for a voracious audience around the world. Our City to City spotlight brings some of Nollywood’s most popular filmmakers together with new voices who are introducing an alternative, indie spirit to Nigerian cinema,” stated TIFF Artistic Director Cameron Bailey. “We’re excited to share this unprecedented showcase of talent from Lagos with our Toronto audience.”  The Rising Stars mentorship programme will have an international component. “We will spotlight two up-and-coming actors from Lagos: OC Ukeje and Somkele Iyamah-Idhalama.”

World Premieres include:


76 by Izu Ojukwu

In a story inspired by true events, six years after the civil war in Nigeria, a heavily pregnant woman’s life crumbles when the news of her husband’s involvement in a botched military coup hits the headlines. Starring Ramsey Nouah, Rita Dominic, Chidi Mokeme, Ibinabo Fiberesima, Larry Williams, Adonija Owiriwa, Daniel K. Daniel, Memry Savanhu, Pat Nebo, Debo Oguns, and Adams Shuaibu.

green white green

Green White Green by Abba Makama

A coming of age story about three young boys, from Nigeria’s major ethnic groups, on an adventure to make a short film inspired by the history of Nigeria. They embark on a roller coaster ride that will eventually lead them towards their individual paths to self-discovery.

the wedding party

The Wedding Party by Kemi Adetiba

Everyone knows that there ain’t no party like a Nigerian wedding party… Especially when you throw in an insecure virgin bride, a reformed playboy groom, two overbearing mothers who can’t stand each other, one philandering husband, a high strung wedding planner, the invasion of unruly village gate-crashers, a thief on the loose, a best man with a flash-drive full of secrets, a sexy ex with vengeance on her mind, two loyal bridesmaids ready to go to war, and a brother seeking his father’s approval. It is a hilarious melting pot of potential disaster.

The 41st Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 8 to 18, 2016 and for more information visit


By: Trevor Hogg


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