This year's Toronto International Film Festival is almost here, and there's a lot of great stuff happening.
Looking for a reason to hit the Festival (provided geography and timing allow you to get there)? Here are 10:
1) You Can Travel The World Without Leaving Your Seat
Every year, TIFF brings together films from around the globe, and 2012 is no exception. For a rundown of exactly which countries are represented, check out this interactive map from CBC News. Click the image to see the full map.
2) You Can Experiment
The Wavelengths programme showcases "films that expand our notions of cinema," according to the TIFF site. What does that mean? This section of the Fest focuses on movies - both fictional and documentary - that break out of the usual narrative style, and feature new ways of telling stories and expressing ideas. If you're looking for some recommendations on which films to catch, BlogTO's got five right here.
3) You Can Brag About Discovering The Next Cool Director First
The TIFF Discovery programme presents work from first-time directors. If you pick wisely, you can be the annoying person at the cocktail party in early 2013 who keeps telling everyone, "oh I saw that back when it premiered at TIFF." If that's who you want to be.
4) You Can Catch A Live Table Read Of 'American Beauty'
Back in 1999, 'American Beauty' played at TIFF, before going on to win Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Original Screenplay and Best Cinematography at the 2000 Academy Awards. Now director Jason Reitman (he didn't direct 'American Beauty,' Sam Mendes did) is staging a table read of the film's screenplay at the Ryerson Theatre. So far, Jason's announced some cast members: Woody Harrelson, Adam Driver, Sarah Gadon, Nick Kroll, and oh yeah, George (yes, George Stroumboulopoulos) in the role of Jim. Watch his Twitter feed to find out who else will participate. Not to be missed.
5) You Can Stare At Famous People
This is kind of the main reason TIFF exists, isn't it? Waiting in line outside a screening in the hopes of catching a brief glimpse of the back of Penelope Cruz's head is the best way to demonstrate your deep-seated love of cinema. Or at least, it's one way. And the backs (and fronts!) of some pretty awesome heads will be here this year along with Penelope: Johnny Depp, Zhang Ziyi, Ryan Gosling, Bryan Cranston, William H. Macy, Rachel McAdams and Halley Berry, to name a very few. Something for everyone.
6) You Can Be Up On The Buzz
Every film that's playing TIFF is exciting, but as always, some of them are getting more buzz than others. This year, some of the most buzzworthy flicks are Ben Affleck's 'Argo,' a film about U.S. diplomats kinapped in Iran in 1979; 'The Master' by Paul Thomas Anderson (which isn't about Scientology, if anyone asks - but it probably is); some more lyrical crane shots from Terrence Malick in the form of 'To the Wonder'; the Wachowskis' ambitious production of David Mitchell's novel, 'Cloud Atlas'; and another superhero ensemble piece from Joss Whedon (sort of): 'Much Ado About Nothing.'
7) You Can Party Like A Movie Star (With Movie Stars) For A Good Cause
There are always tons of parties at TIFF. One of this year's highlights will definitely be the Artists for Peace and Justice Festival Lunch on Saturday (George is co-hosting with Paul Haggis, Jude Law and Trudie Styler, and the party will raise money for a high school in Haiti). But that's just one party: the whole city will be buzzing for all 11 days of the Fest, so keep your wallet full and your eyes open and you might find yourself mingling with some stars of stage and screen.
8) You Can Remain Mainstream
TIFF's lineup always includes lots of auteurs and challenging films. But the Festival is for movie lovers of all stripes, so they're not short on fun and explosions, if that's your thing. For instance: 'Looper,' the film that's kicking off the whole Fest. It somehow fits time travel, the mob, assassination, Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as young Bruce Willis, and Emily Blunt into one movie. Or how about 'Seven Psychopaths,' billed as a "canine-crime comedy" and starring Colin Farrell, Christopher Walken and a shih-tzu? Not all great movies are serious.
9) You Can Dance With Sir Elton John
Well, sort of. Sir Elton's hosting the M*A*C Viva Glam Fashion Cares 25 event, alongside Dean and Dan Caten of Dsquared2 and Linda Evangelista, with musical performances from Janelle Monae, Scissor Sisters and Sky Ferreira at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts on September 9. Impossible to say whether Sir Elton will get out on the floor, but it promises to be a great dance party either way.
10) You'll Be At TIFF
Reasons are all well and good, but let's be honest: if you like movies even a little, you shouldn't need any convincing. TIFF is one of the world's greatest film fests. The city will be packed with talent, fun, parties, good causes, and high energy. If you can be here, you should.
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