07/26/2011 11:05 EDT | Updated 09/25/2011 05:12 EDT

TIFF 2011: U2, Brad Pitt, George Clooney Films Featured At 2011 Toronto International Film Festival (PHOTOS)


THE CANADIAN PRESS -- TORONTO - Davis Guggenheim's From the Sky Down - a look at Irish supergroup U2 - will kick off the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival, the first time a documentary has landed the coveted opening night slot.

The festival, which runs Sept. 8 to 18, will also feature Brad Pitt's new baseball flick Moneyball and the George Clooney political thriller The Ides of March.

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Two high-profile Canadian films will also unspool at the annual movie extravaganza: Sarah Polley's Take This Waltz and David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method.

Moneyball features Pitt as unconventional Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane, while the The Ides of March - co-starring Paul Giamatti, Ryan Gosling and Philip Seymour Hoffman - takes place in the days before a tight Ohio presidential primary. It's one of two Clooney films scheduled for Toronto's 36th annual film fest, along with the Hawaii-set dramedy The Descendants, from Sideways director Alexander Payne.

Last year, festival co-director Cameron Bailey broke with tradition and chose a non-Canadian film for opening night. This year, he went a step further by selecting the documentary by Guggenheim, who won an Oscar in 2007 for An Inconvenient Truth. The filmmaker is no stranger to Toronto, having appeared at the fest for 2008's guitar doc It Might Get Loud (which featured U2 guitarist the Edge) and 2010's look at the U.S. education system Waiting For Superman.

Toronto audiences are also set to get a glimpse of the Tilda Swinton vehicle "We Need to Talk About Kevin," which is based on an acclaimed book by Lionel Shriver and earned raves at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year.

Also scheduled for the fest is the world premiere of Bruce Beresford's Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding, starring Jane Fonda and Catherine Keener in the story of an uptight lawyer who takes her two teens to visit their hippie grandmother.

Music fans, meanwhile, will be primed for Cameron Crowe's new doc Pearl Jam Twenty, which looks at the seminal band's formation, rise to stardom and step back from the spotlight. Pearl Jam is scheduled to give a concert at the Air Canada Centre during the festival.

Other world premieres announced by organizers include: 50/50, starring Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard and Anjelica Huston; Derick Martini's "Hick," featuring Chloe Moretz and Blake Lively; and the Susan Sarandon/Judy Greer offering Jeff, Who Lives at Home. Killer Joe, with Into the Wild star Emile Hirsch, will make its North American premiere.

The festival, known for its audience-friendly atmosphere, is often a harbinger for future Oscar winners.

Last year, The King's Speech" was the fan favourite in Toronto and went on to claim the best picture Academy Award.

In 2008, festival audiences made Slumdog Millionaire their pick and it, too, ultimately nabbed the top Oscar prize.

Some Of The Featured Films: