This year's Toronto Film Festival has added more films to their Gala, Special Presentation and World Cinema programs.
There are now 19 Galas with only one woman directed film out of that. The Special Presentation count is now at 74 films with 10 directed by women. In the Contemporary World Cinema category, 63 films so far have been announced, with 14 (3 films were previously announced) women directed films within the program.
(All film descriptions are courtesy of TIFF)
Bright Days Ahead (Les Beaux jours) -- Marion Vernoux, France (North American Premiere)
Cesar--winning French cinema icon Fanny Ardant stars in this sophisticated and sexy drama about a married woman in her 60s tumbling into an affair with a much younger man.
Lucky Them -- Megan Griffiths, USA (World Premiere)
Lucky Them tells the story of Ellie Klug (Toni Collette), a rock journalist who is tasked with the painful assignment of exploring her own past. Joined by eccentric would-be documentarian Charlie (Thomas Haden Church), Ellie sets out on an emotional treasure hunt in order to finally rid herself of her "ghosts" and get on with her life. Also starring Ryan Eggold, Oliver Platt, Nina Arianda and Ahna O'Reilly.
Rock the Casbah -- Laila Marrakchi, France/Morocco (International Premiere)
A bittersweet comedy that plays out around a family coming to terms with grief, disclosures, secrets and reckoning, Rock the Casbah follows one family during the three days of mourning called for by Moroccan custom, as they reunite in their deceased patriarch's villa. When youngest daughter, Sofia, arrives unexpectedly, sparks start to fly. She left for America -- against her father's wishes -- to become a successful actress, but she only ever landed roles in TV series playing terrorists. Secrets come out, throwing the order once maintained by their patriarch into turmoil. Starring Omar Sharif, Hiam Abbass, Nadine Labaki, Lubna Azabal and Morjana Alaoui.
Contemporary World Cinema:
Bad Hair (Pelo Malo) -- Mariana Rondon, Venezuela (World Premiere)
A nine-year-old boy's preening obsession with straightening his hair elicits a tidal wave of homophobic panic in his hard-working mother, in this tender but clear-eyed coming-of-age tale. Starring Samantha Castillo and Samuel Lange.
Cristo Rey -- Leticia Tonos Paniagua, Dominican Republic/France/Haiti (World Premiere)
The story of a shantytown of Santo Domingo where the Haitian Janvier and the Dominican Rudy -- half-brothers who hate each other-- will fight for the love of the same woman.
Friends from France (Les Interdits) -- Anne Weil and Philippe Kotlarski, France/Germany/Canada/Russia (World Premiere)
1979: Cousins Carole and Jerome go on an organized trip to Odessa, behind the Iron Curtain. During the day, posing as tourists celebrating their engagement, they visit monuments and museums. In the evening they slip away from the group and meet"refuseniks", Jews persecuted by the Soviet regime for wanting to leave the country. While Carole is motivated by political commitment and a taste for risk, Jerome's motivation is Carole.
Hotell -- Lisa Langseth, Sweden/Denmark (World Premiere)
Mentally bruised Erika starts group therapy and enters a new world with new acquaintances. In the pursuit of a life-changing adventure, the group seeks a place of absolute anonymity. Starring Alicia Vikander, David Dencik and Mira Eklund.
Ningen -- Guillaume Giovanetti and Cagla Zencirci, Japan/Turkey (World Premiere)
Filmmaking partners Guillaume Giovanetti and Cagla Zencirci immersed themselves in the magical world of Japanese folklore to create this intricate and delightfully amusing modern-day parable. Starring Masahiro Yoshino, Masako Wajima, Xiao Mu Lee and Megumi Ayukawa.
Old Moon (Luna Vieja) -- Raisa Bonnet, Puerto Rico (World Premiere)
Elsa lives in the mountains of the Caribbean Island of Vieques, Puerto Rico. A visit from her teenage granddaughter, Mina, and her son-in-law, Alei, brings a sweet and bitter taste into her life. In order to protect her granddaughter, Elsa makes a decision that will change Mina's life forever. Starring Maria Velazquez, Laura Cristina Cardona and Julio Ramos.
The Selfish Giant -- Clio Barnard, United Kingdom (North American Premiere)
The Selfish Giant is a contemporary fable about 13-year-old Arbor and his best friend Swifty. Excluded from school and outsiders in their own neighbourhood, the two boys meet Kitten, a local scrap dealer. They begin collecting scrap metal for him using a horse and cart. Kitten favours Swifty, driving a wedge between the boys. As Arbor becomes increasingly greedy and exploitative, tensions start to build, leading to a tragic event that transforms them all.
Something Necessary -- Judy Kibinge, Kenya/Germany (North American Premiere)
Anne, is struggling to rebuild her life after the civil unrest that swept Kenya following the 2007 elections, during which her husband was killed, her son injured and farm burnt. Joseph, an unemployed young man, who was dragged into the gang violence, is tormented with regret and wants to make another life for himself. Something Necessary is a compelling original take on atonement, forgiveness and coming to terms with trauma.
Under the Starry Sky (Des Etoiles) -- Dyana Gaye, France/Senegal (World Premiere)
The debut feature from Franco-Senegalese filmmaker Dyana Gaye charts the interconnected destinies of three far-flung sojourners across three continents. A quiet drama, about the anxieties of negotiating journeying to foreign countries and making a place for oneself in the world.
White Lies (Tuakiri Huna) -- Dana Rotberg, New Zealand (International Premiere)
In a small New Zealand town in the early 20th century, three very different women -- a Maori medicine woman, a wealthy, sharptongued white housewife, and a controlling housekeeper -- are brought together by a scandalous secret, in this complex and mesmerizing tale of culture clash and social mores based on a novella by the author of Whale Rider.
Kwaku Ananse -- Akosua Adoma Owusu, Ghana/Mexico/USA (North American Premiere)
Kwaku Ananse is an intensely personal project that combines contemporary semi-autobiographical elements with the traditional West African folk tale of Kwaku Ananse, a sage who appears as both spider and man. (Part of the To Repel Ghosts: Urban Tales from the African Continent)