Organizers unveiled a slate of announcements, including final additions to the festival's movie lineup, details of its popular Mavericks talk series, its annual list of expected attendees and news that the fest was opening up its previously industry-only documentary conference to the public.
Set to present 372 films in total (289 feature-length and 83 short films), TIFF expects a galaxy of international stars to descend on Toronto for this year's festivities.
"There's some major stars coming, not just from America but around the world. We've got Zhang Ziyi, one of great Chinese actors. Jackie Chan — come on, Jackie Chan's one of the biggest stars in the world. At the same time, [we have] Tom Hanks, Robert Redford, Robert De Niro, Gwyneth Paltrow, Julianne Moore, Penelope Cruz, hopefully Julie Christie, Susan Sarandon — the list goes on and on. It's really a deep list," TIFF CEO Piers Handling told CBC News Tuesday afternoon.
"The reason they come to Toronto is there's a huge press corps, an important North American press corps. A lot of the films are being touted for Oscar campaigns, so if you are director or actor and you have awards aspirations — or your company does for you — you want to come to Toronto and position yourself that way," he added.
Stars making their way to TIFF include:
- Filmmakers Noah Baumbach, Deepa Mehta, Ben Affleck, David O. Russell, Andy and Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer, Susanne Bier, Brian De Palma, Chen Kaige, Spike Lee, Walter Salles, Bruce Sweeney, Joss Whedon, Kim Nguyen, Alex Gibney, Sarah Polley, Brandon Cronenberg and Pablo Trapero.
- Actors Javier Bardem, Catherine Deneuve, Monica Bellucci, Halle Berry, Marion Cotillard, Zac Efron, Colin Farrell, Sarah Gadon, Ben Affleck, Mads Mikkelson, Ryan Gosling, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ralph Fiennes, America Ferrara, Christina Hendricks, Keira Knightley, Sam Rockwell, Andy Samberg, Adam Sandler, Maggie Smith, Michael Shannon, Alexander Siddig, Gael Garcia Bernal, Audrey Tautou, Emma Watson, Bruce Willis, Naomi Watts and Sridevi.
- Special guests Snoop Lion, Salman Rushdie, Michael Ignatieff and Janice Stein.
"It's a friendly fest. You open your arms to everybody and say 'Please come,' because having that critical mass of people here — the international industry from Latin America, from Asia, from China, from Europe, from East Europe, from Russia, North America — it's fantastic. What a great mix," Handling said.
Final film slate
Both emerging filmmakers and established film auteurs joined the bill on Tuesday.
TIFF programmers announced the addition of 27 first or second feature films by new directors joining the festival's Discovery lineup. Meanwhile, Haneke's Palme d'Or-winning Amour, Bertolucci's Me and You — the Italian director's first feature in a decade — and the latest films by greats such as Cristian Mungiu, Hong Sang-soo, Olivier Assayas and Raul Ruiz will unspool as part of the Masters lineup.
The Mavericks slate features on-stage discussions with show business leaders. The 2012 slate includes global action icon Jackie Chan, entertainment mogul David Geffen, the Toronto filmmaking duo behind the Twitter and viral video sensation Shit Girls Say, and the filmmakers and two of the celebrities (singer Natalie Maines and actor Depp) who advocated for the West Memphis Three, the U.S. trio infamously imprisoned for a crime despite evidence of their innocence.
The festival's Docs Conference, an intensive slate of discussions, previews, screenings and presentations focused on the documentary film genre, returns for a fourth year and has been expanded to two days. New this year for the upcoming edition, TIFF organizers have decided to open the event to the public through the sales of passes to different events.
HBO Documentary Films chief Sheila Nevins, celebrated U.S. filmmaker Ken Burns and Canadian filmmakers Yung Chang and Peter Raymont (both of whom will present peeks at their works-in-progress) are among this year's participants.
The Toronto International Film Festival runs Sept. 6-16.