More comedy, fewer films at Toronto film fest (Lead)

August 20th, 2008 - 2:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Aug 20 (IANS) The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), which begins Sep 3, will be a lighter affair this year in terms of film themes and their numbers.Breaking away from the past practice of showcasing films with serious and political themes, the organisers announced that this year’s films will have thrust on comedies and domestic issues.

Organisers have also trimmed the number of films to 312 this year, from 352 last year. Announcing the final lineups for various segments Tuesday, they said the numbers have been pruned to make the festival manageable as there is no central place for screenings and accommodating viewers.

Festival co-director Cameron Bailey said the aim is to showcase more films with introspective themes - human relationships and family dramas, rather than heavy political themes.

The 312 films come from 64 countries. These include 249 full-length feature films. As many as 116 films will have their world premiere at the festival, as against 101 last year.

Also, 61 filmmakers will make their directorial debut at the festival, which ranks with the Cannes and Berlin Film Festivals.

Apart from being a great platform to showcase the very best in world cinema, the festival also offers a great business opportunity for securing distribution rights for movies.

Brad Pitt, Ed Harris, Keira Knightley and Ben Kingsley are some big Hollywood names among the 500 star and special invitees.

Though the festival is focussing on lighter films, Canadian director Paul Gross’ “Passchendaele” - which is on World War I - will open it. The film tells the story of soldier Michael Dunne who returns home to Calgary after being wounded - physically and emotionally - in action in France.

While in hospital, he falls in love with the beautiful and caring nurse Sarah.

However, his life takes an interesting turn when his lover’s brother David enlists to fight in Europe despite suffering from asthma. Michael too returns to the battlefield to join thousands of Canadians in the third battle of Ypres - commonly known as Passchendaele.

To take the film festival outdoors this year, the organisers have also announced free public performances and presentations by some of the artistes and entertainers featured in this year’s films.

The festival will close with the first-ever Public Festival Wrap Party Sep 13.

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