08 September, 2008
by Sandy Mandelberger, North American Editor
Midway through the Toronto International Film Festival, one cannot help but impressed by the sheer number of films on display. The facts and figures of this year's Festival go something like this: 312 films from 64 countries, including 249 feature-length films, 76 per cent of which are world, international or North American premieres, and 61 of which are feature directorial debuts. At least 40% of the films are European productions or co-productions, making Toronto a major showcase of the newest films from all over Europe.
Aside from close to 1500 international members of the press and the film industry, the Festival is also welcoming over 500 international stars and special guests on the red carpet, including some major European film directors, producers and actors.
European film talents include: Agnès Varda, Anne Fontaine, Antonio Banderas, Arnaud Desplechin, Barbet Schroeder, Ben Kingsley, Colin Farrell, Colin Firth, Daniel Brühl, Danny Boyle, Emmanuelle Beart, Fabrice Luchini, Ferzan Ozpetek, Guy Ritchie, Isabelle Huppert, Jan Troell, Javier Cámara, Jean-Marc Barr, Jeanne Moreau, Jeremy Irons, Keira Knightley, Kristin Scott Thomas, Liam Neeson, Michael Winterbottom, Mika Kaurismäki, Mike Leigh, Olivier Assayas, Peter O'Toole, Ralph Fiennes, Richard Eyre, Robert Carlyle, Terence Davies, Tilda Swinton, Tim Roth and Vincent Cassel.
The above list does not even include representatives of the European film promotion boards, distributors, sales agents, festival programmers and press. So, the European presence and Toronto's reputation as a "gateway to North America" remains extremely vibrant. I'm sure I may have left someone out from the above list, but it is still mightily impressive and a sign that lovers of European cinema have a lot to see this week in Toronto.
To access my Online Dailies coverage of the Festival, please visit: http://www.fest21.com/blog/toronto_film_festival