The Toronto Film Festival offers up an intriguing slate in 2016

The Toronto Film Festival offers up an intriguing slate in 2016

Mark Wahlberg stars in 'Deepwater Horizon' which chronicles the 2010 oil spill, one of the worst man-made disasters in history.

At the end of the year when awards season is in full swing, a popular phrase thrown around by many Oscar hopefuls is “premiered at the Toronto Film Festival.” With Toronto right around the corner, one or more of this year’s Oscar favorites could be making its premiere in the next week or two. Here are some of the films headlining this year’s festival.

Black Mirror: San Junipero & Nosedive
Special Presentation – U.S. Release via Netflix on October 21, 2016
Starring Mackenzie Davis, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Bryce Dallas Howard, Alice Eve

Black Mirror is an anthology series that taps into our collective unease with the modern world, with each stand-alone episode a sharp, suspenseful tale exploring themes of contemporary techno-paranoia. Without questioning it, technology has transformed all aspects of our lives; in every home; on every desk; in every palm – a plasma screen; a monitor; a Smartphone – a Black Mirror reflecting our 21st Century existence back at us. The series is created and written by Charlie Brooker and executive produced by Brooker and Annabel Jones.

San Junipero

California, 1987: San Junipero is a fun-loving beach town synonymous with sun, surf, and sex. And for recent arrivals Yorkie (Mackenzie Davis) and Kelly (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), it’s going to be a life-changer…


Insecure office worker Lacie (Bryce Dallas Howard) lives in a happy, smiley, status-obsessed nightmare world. Her old friend Naomi (Alice Eve) is one of society’s elites — and Lacie may have found a way to join her…

Bleed for This – Directed by Ben Younger
Special Presentation – U.S. Release via Open Road on November 4, 2016
Starring Miles Teller, Aaron Eckhart, Katey Sagal, Ciarán Hinds, Ted Levine

Bleed for This is the incredible true story of one of the most inspiring and unlikely comebacks in sports history. Miles Teller (Whiplash, Divergent) stars as Vinny “The Pazmanian Devil” Pazienza, a local Providence boxer who shot to stardom after winning two world title fights. After a near-fatal car accident leaves Vinny with a broken neck, he is told he may never walk again. Against all odds and doctor’s orders, renowned trainer Kevin Rooney (Aaron Eckhart) agrees to help Vinny return to the ring just a year after the accident for what could be the last fight of his life.

Deepwater Horizon – Directed by Peter Berg
Gala Presentation – U.S. Release via Lionsgate on September 30, 2016
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, John Malkovich, Gina Rodriguez, Dylan O’Brien and Kate Hudson

On April 20th, 2010, one of the world’s largest man-made disasters occurred on the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico. Directed by Peter Berg (Lone Survivor), this story honors the brave men and women whose heroism would save many on board, and change everyone’s lives forever.

The Eagle Huntress – Directed by Otto Bell
TIFF Kids – U.S. Release via Sony Pictures Classics on October 28, 2016
Narrated by Daisy Ridley

The Eagle Huntress follows Aisholpan, a 13-year-old girl, as she trains to become the first female in twelve generations of her Kazakh family to become an eagle hunter, and rises to the pinnacle of a tradition that has been handed down from father to son for centuries. Set against the breath-taking expanse of the Mongolian steppe, The Eagle Huntress features some of the most awe-inspiring cinematography ever captured in a documentary, giving this intimate tale of a young girl’s quest the dramatic force of an epic narrative film. While there are many old Kazakh eagle hunters who vehemently reject the idea of any female taking part in their ancient tradition, Aisholpan’s father Nurgaiv believes that a girl can do anything a boy can, as long as she’s determined. The story begins after Aisholpan has been training with her father’s eagle for many months. As every eagle can only have one master, the time has come for Aisholpan to capture an eagle of her own. Clambering down a sheer rock cliff with a rope, Aisholpan retrieves a fledgling eagle from its nest as its mother circles overhead. Her eagle will live, train, and hunt with her, until she releases it into the wild years later, so the cycle of life can continue.

After months of training her eagle with her father, Aisholpan is ready to test her abilities. She enters a renowned competition, the Golden Eagle Festival, and faces off against 70 of the greatest Kazakh eagle hunters in Mongolia. The most arduous challenge is yet to come, as the rite-of-passage for every young eagle hunter is to take part in a hunt. Aisholpan must ride with her father deep into the frigid mountains and endure 40 below zero temperatures and perilous landscapes to prove she is a true eagle huntress.

The Edge of Seventeen – Directed by Kelly Fremon Craig
Closing Night – Gala Presentation – U.S. Release via STX on November 18, 2016
Starring Hailee Steinfeld, Woody Harrelson, Kyra Sedgwick, Haley Lu Richardson, Blake Jenner, Hayden Szeto

Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) and Krista (Hayley Lu Richardson) are inseparable best friends attempting to navigate high school together…until Nadine discovers her older brother and Krista have been secretly dating behind her back. They soon realize that there is a fine line between best friends and worst enemies.

Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids – Directed by Jonathan Demme
World Premiere – Gala Presentation
Starring Justin Timberlake

Academy award-winning director Jonathan Demme artfully captures the charismatic and highly acclaimed artistry of Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids as they bring a two-year epic The 20/20 Experience World Tour to a close at the legendary MGM Grand Garden Arena.

La La Land – Directed by Damien Chazelle
Special Presentation – U.S. Release via Lionsgate on December 2, 2016
Starring Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt, Finn Wittrock, Callie Hernandez, Sonoya Mizuno, Jessica Rothe, Tom Everett Scott, Josh Pence

Written and directed by Academy Award® nominee Damien Chazelle, La La Land tells the story of Mia (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress, and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a dedicated jazz musician, who are struggling to make ends meet in a city known for crushing hopes and breaking hearts. Set in modern day Los Angeles, this original musical about everyday life explores the joy and pain of pursuing your dreams.

Mascots – Directed by Christopher Guest
Special Presentation – U.S. Release via Netflix on October 13, 2016
Starring Jane Lynch, Parker Posey, Fred Willard, Ed Begley, Jr., Christopher Moynihan, Don Lake, Brad Williams, Zach Woods, Chris O’Dowd, Susan Yeagley, Sarah Baker, Tom Bennett, Kerry Godliman, Bob Balaban, Jennifer Coolidge, Michael Hitchcock, Maria Blasucci, John Michael Higgins, Jim Piddock

Mascots is a new comedy from Christopher Guest, director of Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show. Starring many of his regular troupe of actors, this latest film takes place in the ultra-competitive world of sports mascots where they compete for the most prestigious award in their field, the Gold Fluffy.

My Life as a Zucchini – Directed by Claude Barras
TIFF KIDS – U.S. Release via GKIDS
Written by Céline Sciamma, Germano Zullo and Morgan Navarro

The story centers around a young boy, Zucchini, who struggles to find his place in a new foster home after his mother’s sudden death. With the help of his newfound friends he eventually learns to trust in love as he searches for a new family of his own. Announced as the official Swiss submission for the “Best Foreign Language” category for the 2017 Academy Awards, the lively stop-motion animated film has since stirred up an overwhelming response on the festival circuit, taking home top jury and audience prizes at Annecy, Melbourne and Angoulême.

Paris Can Wait – Directed by Eleanor Coppola
World Premiere – Special Presentation – Acquisition (ICM & Protagonist Pictures)
Starring Diane Lane, Arnaud Viard, Alec Baldwin

Eleanor Coppola’s narrative directorial and writing debut stars Academy Award® nominee Diane Lane as a Hollywood producer’s wife who reluctantly takes a trip through France which reawakens her senses and lust for life. Anne (Lane) is at a crossroads in her life. Long married to a successful, driven but inattentive movie producer (Alec Baldwin), she unexpectedly finds herself taking a car trip from Cannes to Paris with a business associate of her husband (Arnaud Viard). What should be a seven-hour drive turns into a carefree two-day adventure replete with diversions involving picturesque sights, fine food and wine, humor, wisdom and romance.

Snowden – Directed by Oliver Stone
Gala Presentation – U.S. Release via Open Road on September 16, 2016
Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto, Tom Wilkinson, Scott Eastwood, Timothy Olyphant, Logan Marshall-Green, Ben Schnetzer, Lakeith Lee Stanfield, Rhys Ifans, Nicolas Cage

The Academy Award®-winning director tackles one of the most important and fascinating true stories of the 21st century. Snowden, the politically-charged, pulse-pounding thriller reveals the incredible untold personal story of Edward Snowden (Gordon-Levitt), the polarizing figure who exposed shocking illegal surveillance activities by the NSA and became one of the most wanted men in the world. He is considered a hero by some, and a traitor by others. No matter which you believe, the epic story of why he did it, who he left behind, and how he pulled it off makes for one of the most compelling films of the year.

Their Finest – Directed by Lone Scherfig
Gala Presentation – Acquisition (CAA & Hanway Films)
Starring Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin, Bill Nighy, Jack Huston, Helen McCrory, Eddie Marsan, Jake Lacy, Rachel Stirling, Richard E. Grant

1940, London, the Blitz; with the country’s morale at stake, Catrin, an untried screenwriter, and a makeshift cast and crew, work under fire to make a film to lift the nation’s spirits – and inspire America to join the war. A witty, romantic and moving portrayal of a young woman finding her way, and her voice, in the mayhem of war… and the movies!



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