Story by Sandra Williams-Herve
TORONTO, ONTARIO — It’s the most glamorous time of year, again. From September 4-14, the streets of Toronto will be abuzz with throngs of people, flashing lights and the kind of non-stop excitement that only surrounds big-name celebrities.
This year, the Toronto International Film Festival will present 285 features and 108 shorts representing 70 countries. As always, with any film festival, there’s a battle to have the rights to world premieres. One of these premieres is Bill Murray’s comedy “St. Vincent” (September 5), which also stars Naomi Watts, Melissa McCarthy and Terrence Howard.
The film follows the tale of a 12-year-old boy whose parents recently divorced. In spite of the conflict he’s living through, he befriends an unlikely mentor, a bawdy and hedonistic war veteran who lives next door. “I love Bill Murray in just about anything,” Cameron Bailey, TIFF’s artistic director, said at a recent news conference.
Perhaps that was the impetus for Bill Murray Day, which will also take place on September 5. Fans can celebrate the comedic genius of the living legend by attending a free public screening of three of his most-beloved films: “Ghostbusters”, “Groundhog Day” and “Stripes”.
TIFF Contest in the Works
Up to 50 Bill Murray fans who attend all three free screenings on Bill Murray Day will win a ticket to the world premiere “St. Vincent”. Contest entry details will be announced shortly, TIFF organizers say. (Learn more about the contest here.)
TIFF also announced a program of conversations with Reese Witherspoon, Denzel Washington, Antoine Fuqua, Juliette Binoche and Robert Duval, all of whom have premieres at the festival. Witherspoon, in fact, has three meaty films to feast on.
The list of Hollywood’s finest who are scheduled to be in Toronto includes: Robert Downey Jr., Kate Winslet (her film “A Little Chaos” will close the 39th annual festival), Jennifer Aniston, Kristen Wiig, Steve Carell, Morgan Freeman, Jane Fonda, Tina Fey, Michael Douglas, Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, Julianne Moore, Adam Sandler, Greta Gerwig and many more.
For the Movie Fans in Toronto
TIFF “The People’s Festival” shows love for the fans by unveiling a new initiative: Festival Street. From September 4-7 on King Street West will be blocked off (between University Avenue to Peter Street) and transformed into a pedestrian promenade of art and music. Fans can expect a photo booth featuring HAL 9000 from “2001: A Space Odyssey” and various characters from other Stanley Kubrick films.
Telefilm Canada’s Live Game Show
If you love game shows, check out Telefilm Canada’s battle of TIFF Rising Stars, hosted by the CTV program “eTalk”. Two teams will compete in games meant to put their knowledge of Canadian cinema to the test. Audience participation is wanted.
2014 City to City Program
TIFF introduces audiences to eight daring films from Seoul, South Korea. The lineup showcases adventurous new works by contemporary Korean directors that will expose audiences to the fearless cinema emerging from the region.
Serious Can-Con at TIFF
This year’s festival will hold an impressive lineup of Canadian films and new works from veteran filmmakers Xavier Dolan, Sturla Gunnarsson, Ruba Nadda, Jacob Tierney and Denys Arcand, and noteworthy newcomers. The genres range from thrillers to comedies to musicals. Prepare to be entertained and inspired.
“These are filmmakers at the top of their craft, bringing fresh perspectives to traditional genres like comedies and less traditionally Canadian genres, such as musicals,” said Steve Gravestock, TIFF’s senior programmer. “This year’s slate truly showcases the diversity of talent in our country, featuring films from coast to coast.”
MORE ABOUT 2014 TIFF
Dates: September 2 -14, 2014
Telephone: (416) 599-TIFF or (toll-free) 1-888-599-8433
Tickets: Single Tickets go on sale August 31.
Rush tickets are released, when available, at the Venue Box Office 10 minutes before the start of the screening.
Prices: New pricing is in effect this year: $20 Regular Screenings; $40 Premium Screenings. Tickets can be purchased online or at the Festival Tower box office, 350 King Street West, Toronto, ON. (see map below)