· The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) stands second in prestige to Cannes, and is avidly followed as a lead to next year’s Oscars. The last five Academy Award winners for Best Picture played at TIFF before their commercial release. TIFF 2012 has 289 feature films, (20 more than last year) and a bumper 146 world premieres, adding up to 515 hours of film from 72 countries.…
· Savvy India: Each producer/director team of the 15 films from India has hired a press agent and some have sales agents attached, indicating that Indian independent cinema has come of age.
· Docs that dare: Canadian actress/Oscar-nominated Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell reveals that her father wasn’t her biological dad: she knew this but he did not. She says, “Making this film was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It took five years and tormented me.”
· Temptation galore: Legendary Italian filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci presents his first film in 10 years returning to the subject of youth with his latest film Me and You. In his 45 years of filmmaking, the slow-paced Terence Malick surprises by presenting two consecutive films one is His Tree of Life last year is followed this year by To The Wonder. The 103-year-old Portuguese filmmaker, Manoel de Oliveira presents his latest, Gebo and the Shadow.
· Literary Adaptations: new versions of Dickens's Great Expectations, Tolstoy's Anna Karenina and Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing are major draws, as are the Southern gothic drama The Paperboy, based on Pete Dexter's novel; Stephen Chbosky's screen version of his young-adult novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower (with Emma Watson).
· Politics plays a key role: On screen, many films deal with politics, especially from the Middle East. Off screen, politics of this region matters. Toronto’s festival management decried the fate of Syrian producer Orwa Nyrabia, missing now for well over a month. Others endorsed, including Martin Scorcese, “I was alarmed by the news that the Syrian actor and producer Orwa Nyrabia has been arrested by the Syrian regime, held in an undisclosed location and denied any communication with the outside world, including his own immediate family.”