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Midnight Madness has been going on for 25 years at the Toronto International Film Festival and has hosted such directors as Quentin Tarantino, George A. Romero, John Carpenter, Dario Argento, Eli Roth, Rob Zombie, Don Coscarelli, Richard Linklater, Peter Jackson, Barry Levinson, Ben Wheatley, James Gunn, and Bong Joon-ho.
“Since its 1988 launch, the Midnight Madness programme emerged as a touchstone of cinematic shock, satiating the adventurous palate of bloodthirsty cinephiles from all over the world,” stated Colin Geddes, International Programmer for the Festival. “When the witching hour strikes and the human brain starts slipping into dream mode, the Ryerson Theatre will once again serve up a feast of phantasmagorical characters and jaw-dropping scenes, playing host to bizarre biological monstrosities, ruthless dominatrix gangs, paranormal mirrors, and the hijinks of supernatural cheerleaders.”
Carrying on the tradition of being a global showcase the 2013 edition features films from USA, Japan, Hong Kong, and Austria. Receiving a World Premiere as well as serving as the opening night film is All Cheerleaders Die directed by Lucky McKee and Chris Sivertson which revolves around a supernatural roller coaster ride caused by rebellious outsider joining a high school cheerleading squad.
Other movies in the line-up include the paranormal duo of Almost Human (Joe Begos) and Oculus (Mike Flanagan), cannibalistic The Green Inferno (Eli Roth), vampire action tale Rigor Mortis (Juno Mak), mysterious thriller R100 (Hitoshi Matsumoto), eco-horror The Station (Marvin Kren) and love feud Why Don’t You Play in Hell? (Sion Sono).
TIFF Cinematheque will be presenting seven restored classics during the festival including Shivers(David Croneberg), An Autumn Afternoon (Yasujiro Ozu), Gun Crazy (Joseph H. Lewis), Hiroshima mon amour (Alain Resnais), The Lovely Month of May (Chris Marker and Pierre Lhomme), Manila in the Claws of Light (Lino Brocka), and Rome, Open City (Roberto Rossellini).
“We are thrilled to present some of the great masterpieces in the history of world cinema in wonderful new restorations at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival,” stated Brad Deane, Manage of Film Programmes. “Seeing these films alongside the rest of the Festival selection not only reaffirms their important influence but also proves Jean-Luc Godard’s adage that classic = modern.”
Receiving the spotlight in the City to City series is Athens. 10 movies are scheduled with the opening night slot serving as the world premiere of Standing Aside, Watching directed by Yorgos Servetas which is a meta-Western about a quiet small town that has a silent violent undercurrent. Also scheduled are The Daughter (Thanos Anastopoulos), The Eternal Return of Antonis Paraskevas (Elina Psykou), J.A.C.E. – Just Another Confused Elephant (Menelaos Karamaghiolis) and Miss Violence (Alexandros Avranas).
Combining genre and arthouse films together is the Vanguard Programme which will be screening The Sacrament (Ti West), Sex, Drugs & Taxation (Christoffer Boe), Celestial Wives of the Meadow Mari (Alexey Fedorchenko), The Fake (Yeon Sang-ho), and We Gotta Get Out of This Place (Simon Hawkins and Zeke Hawkins).
“From revenge and ruin to sex, drugs and taxation, this programme challenges audiences to go places that no audience has gone before,” stated Colin Geddes. “Where Midnight Madness opens up audiences to a world of fear and fantasy, Vanguard plunges them into a confrontational and unnerving one that sometimes comes a bit too close to reality for comfort.”
And let us not forget that there will be no shortage of documentaries getting the world premiere treatment in particular works by Penn & Teller (Tim’s Vermeer), artist Chris Jordan (Midway), Jehane Noujaim (The Square), Alanis Obomsawin (Hi-Ho Mistahey!) and Leanne Pooley (Beyond the Edge) as well as North American premieres by Errol Morris (The Unknown Known), Frederick Wiseman (At Berkeley), Marcel Ophüls (Ain’t Misbehavin’) and Claude Lanzmann (The Last of the Unjust).
Here are some brief summaries:
At Berkeley. A documentary film about the University of California at Berkeley. The film explores the major aspects of university life of America’s premier public university with particular emphasis on the administrative efforts to maintain the academic excellence, public role, and the economic, racial and social diversity of the student body in the face of severe budgetary cuts imposed by the California legislature.
Beyond the Edge. It was an event that stunned the world and defined an era. Sir Edmund Hillary’s incredible achievement remains one of the greatest adventure stories of all time: the epic journey of a man from modest beginnings who overcame adversity to reach the highest point on Earth. Screening in 3D.
Hi-Ho Mistahey! Alanis Obomsawin tells the story of Shannen’s Dream, a national campaign to provide equitable access to education for First Nations children, in safe and suitable schools. She brings together the voices of those who have successfully brought the Dream all the way to the United Nations in Geneva.
Tim’s Vermeer. Tim Jenison, a Texas-based inventor, attempts to solve one of the greatest mysteries in all art: How did 17th century Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer (Girl with a Pearl Earring) manages to paint so photo-realistically 150 years before the invention of photography? The epic research project Jenison embarks on to test his theory is as extraordinary as what he discovers.
The Unknown Known. Errol Morris offers a mesmerizing portrait of Donald Rumsfeld, one of the key architects of the Iraq War. Although Rumsfeld has held lofty positions of American political power for half a century, most people know little about him. When Rumsfeld wrote, as part of his most famous meditation, that an “unknown known” refers to “things you think you know that it turns out you do not,” he could have been speaking about himself. The Unknown Known is not intended as yet another postmortem on the Iraq War, but rather an illumination of a mystery.
“This year’s documentaries are rich with obsessive and impassioned characters — in pursuit of art, democracy and insatiable appetites — both on screen and behind the camera,” stated TIFF documentary programmer Thom Powers. “They inspire a range of emotions from awe-stricken to angry and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny.”
Purchase Festival ticket packages online 24 hours a day at tiff.net/festival, by phone Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET at 416.599.TIFF or 1.888.599.8433, or visit the box office in person from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET at TIFF Bell Lightbox, Reitman Square, 350 King Street West, until August 19.
The 38th Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 5 to 15, 2013.