The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is held each year in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It begins on the first Thursday after Labor Day and lasts 11 days. The 2013 TIFF will begin on September 5 and run through September 15, marking the 38th time the film festival has been held. It's scheduled to show 366 films, including 146 world premieres.
The opening film will be "The Fifth Estate," and the closing film will be "Life of Crime." The TIFF presents films in many categories, with the Gala and Special Presentation categories making up the largest number of films. The TIFF does not present traditional awards for best film or actor. The People's Choice Award, given to the most popular full-length feature film as determined by votes from the TIFF audience members, is the most prestigious award at the TIFF. The winner of the 2012 TIFF People's Choice Award was "Silver Linings Playbook."
"The Fifth Estate," a dramatic thriller about WikiLeaks, an organization famous for leaking secret or classified information, is a Gala Presentation. The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange, the founder and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, and is directed by Bill Condon, with a screenplay by Josh Singer. This film is partially based on a book by Daniel Domscheit-Berg, a former WikiLeaks spokesperson.
"Life of Crime" is a caper film shot on location in Greenwich, Connecticut, and also a Gala Presentation. It is about two ex-cons who kidnap the wife of a real estate developer and run into unexpected problems. Based on Elmore Leonard's novelThe Switch, it is directed by Daniel Schechter. "Life of Crime" has an all-star cast including Jennifer Aniston, John Hawkes, and Tim Robbins.
"American Dreams in China" is a Chinese drama filmed on location in Beijing, China. It is directed by veteran film director Peter Chan and stars Deng Chao, Xiaoming Huang, and Dawei Tong. The film is set during the 1980s, a period of economic reform in China. Meng Xiaojun (Chao) is a confident, self-assured man; Wang Yang (Tong Dawei) is a slightly eccentric poet; and Cheng Dongqing (Huang Xiaoming) is a studious farm boy. These three friends attempt to obtain American visas while attending college in Beijing.
"The Art of the Steal" is an American comedy directed and written by Jonathan Sobol. It is also known as "The Fix" or "Black Marks," depending on the country. This film stars Kurt Russell, Matt Dillon, Jay Baruchel, Chris Diamantopoulos, and Katheryn Winnick. Russell plays Crunch Calhoun, a semiretired art thief who decides to pull off one final theft with his brother Nicky (Dillon). But the heist goes awry when each man pursues his own agenda.
"August: Osage County" is a comedic drama directed by John Welles and produced by George Clooney. It's based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name by Tracy Letts, who also wrote the screenplay of the film. This film has an ensemble cast that includes Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep.
Favorite films in the Special Presentation category should include "12 Years a Slave," directed by Steve McQueen. It is a historical drama based on Solomon Northup's 1853 autobiography of the same title. The screenplay was written by John Ridley, and the film stars Chiwetel Ejiofor. Northup is a free black man who is kidnapped in 1841 in Washington, DC. He is sold into slavery and works on a Louisiana plantation for the next 12 years.
John Ridley also wrote and directed "All Is by My Side," another film to be screened in the Special Presentation category. A British-Irish drama about Jimi Hendrix before he became a famous rock guitarist, it stars Andre Benjamin as Hendrix; other stars include Hayley Atwell, Burn Gorman, and Imogen Poots.
"The Armstrong Lie" should also be a favorite in the Special Presentation category. It is directed and produced by Alex Gibney with a screenplay by Peter Elkind. The subject of this film is professional cyclist Lance Armstrong during his preparation for his eighth competition in the Tour de France. Although he won the event, he was later stripped of the victory.
"Beyond the Edge" is one of the documentaries to be screened at the 2013 TIFF and should be one of the most popular films in that category. The film covers Sir Edmund Hillary's ascent of Mount Everest in 1953 and includes a recreation of that historic event. It consists of original footage and location shots filmed on Mount Everest.