By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood August 12, 2014 at 4:14PM
“Beyond the Lights” (world premiere) writer-director Gina Prince-Bythewood ("Love and Basketball") ditched studio controls to go indie in order to hang onto her casting of British actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw as a rising musician who has a relationship with a policeman. Mbatha-Raw subsequently starred in Fox Searchlight's summer hit "Belle" ($10.6 million domestic). Relativity Media is releasing November 14.
“Boychoir" (world premiere), from musically-inclined Montreal director Francois Girard ("The Red Violin"), stars Dustin Hoffman as a demanding teacher who drills his musical prodigy (comparisons will be made to Sundance sensation “Whiplash").
“The Cobbler” (world premiere) from writer-director Tom McCarthy ("Win Win," "The Visitor") is an Israel-funded acquisition title with a strong ensemble cast that could mark a comeback of sorts for Adam Sandler. He goes indie as a shoe repairman who figures out that he can actually step into his customers' shoes. Sandler is also seeking to escape from actors' jail via a second TIFF title, Jason Reitman's already-announced "Men, Women & Children."
"The Forger" (world premiere), directed by British TV helmer Philip Martin ("Prime Suspect 7") is about a thief (John Travolta) who gets out of prison and works for his father (Christopher Plummer) in order to be with his son. Foreign-financed acquisition title.
"Jauja" broke out at Cannes; directed by Argentinian Lisandro Alonso and financed by multiple territories, the gorgeous road movie stars fluent Spanish-speaker Viggo Mortensen as a 19th century Danish general chasing his runaway daughter into the wilds of Patagonia; it opens in October in Argentina but is still available in North America.
"Madame Bovary" (world premiere) is an indie directed by Sophie Barthes ("Cold Souls"), stars Mia Wasikowska (who shined as Jane Eyre) as one of literature and cinema's most infamous adulterers. Was Bovary a feminist? It's available for North America.
"Maggie" marks an unusual indie horror turn for Arnold Schwarzenegger, who sticks by his daughter (Abigail Breslin) even after she turns into a zombie. (Shades of "Life After Beth"?) Many rights are available to this Henry Hobson film.
"Welcome to Me" (world premiere), from theater writer-director Shira Piven (older sister of Jeremy and wife of the film's producer Adam McKay) is a comedy drama starring Kristen Wiig as a woman with borderline personality disorder who wins millions in the lottery and throws away her meds. Tim Robbins co-stars. North American rights are for sale.
Full programs below: