Toronto International Film Festival 2011 - Movies and Deals

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The highly acclaimed and anticipated Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) runs for 10 days every September, and this year marks its 36th year (the festival's inaugural year was 1976). This year's festival, running from September 8-18, will screen over 300 films from over 60 countries. The TIFF groups its selection of films into eighteen unique film programs, a few of which are Midnight Madness for horror films; Vanguard for films that defy conventions; Discovery, which showcase up and coming directors from around the world and Contemporary World Cinema. In addition to the great film viewing, there are always big announcements regarding studio acquisitions and talent deals for new films.

Opening Night

The opening night Gala Film, "From the Sky Down" is from Oscar winning documentarian Davis Guggenheim ("An Inconvenient Truth"). The film chronicles the ever-popular Irish band, U2 as they put together their 1991 album "Achtung Baby." This is the first time that Toronto has opened the Festival with a documentary.

Gala Screenings

There are nineteen other Gala Screenings and premieres throughout the festival. A few other buzzed about Gala screenings include "Albert Nobbs" starring Glenn Close (who co-wrote the script) as a 19th century Irish woman who masquerades as a man who works as a butler for 20 years; David Cronenberg's "A Dangerous Method" starring Viggo Mortensen, Michael Fassbender and Keira Knightley, based on Christopher Hapmpton's stage play about the relationship between Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud and troubled patient Keira Knightley; "The Ides of March" co-written and directed by George Clooney and starring Ryan Gosling about the dubious machinations of modern politics; and "Moneyball" starring Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill and Philip Seymour Hoffman, depicting general manager, Billy Beane's unorthodox approach to managing the Oakland A's baseball team.

Studio Deals and Announcements

Another highlight of the Toronto International Film Festival is catching the numerous films seeking distribution as well as those seeking to reap critical accolades before hitting theater screens in the weeks and months following. There are plenty of announcements of new projects being set up or talent being attached to scripts. Before the festival even opened, one could check out industry trades such as the Hollywood Reporter or Variety, as well as newspapers, magazines and websites that cover the festival and read about the numerous deals being set up.

Per Deadline.com the first festival sale on Day 1 was the documentary, "Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel" that Samuel Goldwyn picked up. On Day 2, Fox Searchlight nabbed the U.S. distribution rights for British director Steve McQueen's "Shame" starring Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan. This was a hot title that had buyers like Weinstein Co. and Sony Pictures Classics circling. Other sales and announcements will come fast and furiously throughout these 10 days and beyond.

The Toronto International Film Festival now in its 36th year is a perfect transition from summer's comic book tentpoles to more adult fare. But that's not to say there aren't action-packed films in the festival. "Killer Elite" starring Jason Statham, Clive Owen and Robert de Niro based on the bestselling novel "The Feather Men" is certain to have high-octane thrills. Basically the Toronto International Film Festival has something for every lover of film. If you happen to find yourself in Toronto, Canada, check it out.

For other reviews and interviews by Lori Huck, check out:

'Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life' Film Review: A Wildly Creative Tribute

Interview: Vera Farmiga Discusses Faith, Directing and 'Higher Ground'

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