Toronto Film Festival: James Franco, Jacob Tremblay films among 14 new special presentations

The Toronto International Film Festival announced Tuesday two gala events, 14 special presentations, and several dozen additional films joining the festival’s 41st lineup.

After leading Lenny Abrahamson’s Room to the festival’s People’s Choice Award last year, 9-year-old actor Jacob Tremblay returns to TIFF in the Special Presentations section as an American child convinced he’s a Mongolian goat herder in Jordan Roberts’ Burn Your Maps, which is set to world-premiere in Toronto. Vera Farmiga and Virginia Madsen co-star in the comedy-drama.

James Franco’s latest directorial effort, In Dubois Battle, starring Selena Gomez, Ed Harris, Robert DuVall, and Bryan Cranston, will have its North American premiere at the festival, as will Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake, fresh from its Palme d’Or win at Cannes in May.

TIFF also announced gala screenings for Christian Bale’s historical drama The Promise and Richard Gere’s Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer. Terrence Malick’s documentary, Voyage of Time: Life’s Journey, (Re)Assignment, a tale of an ace assassin (Michelle Rodriguez) double-crossed by a group of gangsters, Emmanuelle Bercot’s first film since her Standing Tall opened the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, 150 Milligrams, and The Bleeder, the true story of boxer Chuck Wepner (starring real-life spouses Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts) will also screen in the Special Presentations program.

The latest works by some of the world’s most respected directors are joining TIFF in the Masters section as well, including several Cannes titles, namely Olivier Assayas’ Kristen Stewart-starring Personal Shopper, Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women, starring Laura Dern and Michelle Williams, Brillante Ma Mendoza’s Ma’Rosa, the Dardenne Brothers’ The Unknown Girl, and Pedro Almodovar’s highly-anticipated Julieta.

Additionally, the city of Lagos, Nigeria will be the focus of TIFF’s eighth annual City to City program, as eight full-length titles from contemporary filmmakers based in the city are showing at the festival, beginning with the world premiere of Kemi Adetiba’s The Wedding Party. Past cities featured in the program include London, Seoul, Athens, Mumbai, Buenos Aires, Istanbul, and Tel Aviv.

Sônia Braga’s Aquarius, which made waves at Cannes earlier this year, makes its way to Toronto for its North American premiere in the Contemporary World Cinema slate alongside world premieres for Adrian Sitaru’s The Fixer and John Butler’s Handsome Devil. The festival’s international forum for film and video art, Wavelengths, adds 51 works from around the world, including films by Douglas Gordon, Lav Diaz, and Jõao Pedro Rodrigues, while exhibitions and installations from artists Ana Mendieta, Sharon Lockhart, and Albert Serra.

The 2016 Toronto International Film Festival runs from Sept. 8-18. For a full list of films in the festival lineup, head to TIFF’s website.


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Ride with the Fast and Furious family as part of a Paul Walker Foundation charity initiative

Ever wanted to see a Fast and Furious car chase in action? Or learn hand-to-hand combat from Michelle Rodriguez? Or have a smoothie made personally for you by Scott Eastwood? As part of Fast 8’s new charity initiative with Omaze, you may have the chance to do just that.

The cast and crew of Fast 8 are hard at work on the next film, but before they wrap, the Fast family is inviting fans to donate to charity for a chance to win a trip to the set in Atlanta. Proceeds go to the Paul Walker Foundation, which was started by Walker’s daughter Meadow to honor the late Fast and Furious star’s legacy and protect oceans and wildlife around the world.

Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Nathalie Emmanuel, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, and the rest of the cast shared a video encouraging Fast fans to donate $10 or more to the campaign by going to Omaze’s website — or by clicking on Gibson’s forehead.

“Hey, if I had a forehead that big, I would say as much as I possibly could to distract everybody from looking at my big forehead,” Johnson added. “It sleeps eight people comfortably.”

To donate or learn more about the charity initiative, visit Omaze’s site.

Fast 8 will hit theaters on April 14, 2017, with Kurt Russell, Jason Statham, Charlize Theron, and Helen Mirren also starring.


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