TORONTO 2011: STAR POWER IN SEPTEMBER

FROM THE CANADIAN PRESS

Film aficionados will have a field day at next month’s TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, with GEORGE CLOONEY, BRAD PITT, JANE FONDA and JON HAMM among the stars set to attend the glitzy bash.

Festival organizers revealed a high wattage guest list Tuesday that also includes a hefty contingent of pop and rock heroes, all with cinematic projects: MADONNA, NEIL YOUNG, and PEARL JAM.

Festival codirector CAMERON BAILEY said the lineup — which includes 268 features and 68 shorts — is a reflection of how welcoming Canada has been to stars in the past.

“When the big stars come to this festival I think what they really like is that it’s a public festival. Unlike some of the big industry festivals in Europe, they can actually really connect with the fans here. And the Toronto fans are cool — they’re not going to go crazy with them but they really admire and appreciate their work.”

Other luminaries expected to walk the red carpet include CATHERINE DENEUVE, GLENN CLOSE, RALPH FIENNES, GEOFFREY RUSH, JAMES GANDOLFINI, GERARD BUTLER, HUGH LAURIE, SALMAN RUSHDIE and JASON REITMAN.

Then there’s CLIVE OWEN, RACHEL WEISZ, PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN, EVAN RACHEL WOOD and GAEL GARCIA BERNAL, along with dozens more actors, musicians and filmmakers.

CAMERON BAILEY is pleased to see a mix of veteran and emerging stars bound for the movie marathon, which runs from SEPTEMBER 8 to 18.

“It’s always great to have a legend like Jane Fonda coming back and young stars who I think are going to have breakout years like Ryan Gosling, who has two films at the festival this year: Drive and The Ides Of March. And he’s Canadian. He’s coming home in a way. That’s always great.”

For the first time in its history, the fest will open with a documentary: DAVIS GUGGENHEIM’S look at U2 entitled FROM THE SKY DOWN.

More screenings were also announced Tuesday, including the final instalment in JONATHAN DEMME’S documentary trilogy about legendary rocker NEIL YOUNG; a cinematic take on CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER’S tour de force stage turn in BARRYMORE and a sneak peak at DEEPA MEHTA’S adaptation of the SALMAN RUSHDIE novel MIDNIGHT’S CHILDREN. The screenings will be paired with onstage conversations as part of the festival’s MAVERICKS program.

The MAVERICKS program will also feature talks with director FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA and actor TILDA SWINTON.

CAMERON BAILEY stated that he’s particularly excited to see Mr. Coppola, the acclaimed director of THE GODFATHER TRILOGY and APOCALYPSE NOW.

“He’s a legend, one of the greatest filmmakers ever.” He will moderate a conversation with FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA on SEPTEMBER 11.

“It’s great to have him in Toronto.”

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