News / Arts & Entertainment

    No Shortage of Star Power at Toronto Film Festival

    Director Madonna arrives on the red carpet for the film "W.E." during the 36th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in Toronto September 12, 2011.
    Director Madonna arrives on the red carpet for the film "W.E." during the 36th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in Toronto September 12, 2011.

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Alan Silverman

    There was no shortage of star power at the Toronto International Film Festival or "TIFF" as it's known locally. Celebrities from Brad Pitt to George Clooney to Madonna walked the red carpet at the premieres of their latest titles.



    But with more than 250 features from 65 countries screened during its 10 days, the 2011 TIFF was also a major showcase for smaller, independent films.

    The top award, selected by audience ballots, went to Where Do We Go Now? a bittersweet piece by Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki about Muslim and Christian women finding common ground in their war-torn village.

    Nigerian-born writer-director Akin Omotoso was also at TIFF with his film,  Man on Ground, set in South Africa.



    "I'm a fan of the festival. I have come here over the years, and it's just a real honor to have my feature film premiere here," says Omotoso.

    TIFF co-director Cameron Bailey heads a programming team that travels the world year-round to select entries for the festival. Bailey says, like audience favorite Where Do We Go Now?, Omotoso's violent and disturbing drama shows how films can spotlight current issues.

    "The film Man on Ground by Akin Omotoso is about a very real issue that is happening in South Africa today which is the conflict between South Africans and migrants who have come into the country from other parts of Africa looking for better lives and facing incredible hostility and in some cases quite brutal violence. It's a real conflict and something that the director wanted to address and addressed it truthfully," Bailey explains.

    While there is no formal theme to the festival, Bailey acknowledges that many of this year's choices tackled the ticklish topic of sex.



    "Steve McQueen's new film Shame, about a sex addict, is a powerful film …very intense and graphic in some ways. A film from France, Elles, by Polish director Malogoska Szumowska, with Juliet Binoche giving one of her best performances in many, many years [is] also very confrontational, in a way, about sex," notes Bailey. " There are a number of films like that where I think filmmakers are taking more risks. As a festival programmer and director, I like to see the filmmakers pushing the limits of what they are comfortable with and what their audiences might be comfortable with, as long as it's in the aim of greater truth."

    That search for "greater truth" can run up against political obstacles. As Bailey explains, the government in Tehran prevented the makers of an Iranian film from attending this year's festival.

    "The Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi is under a ban in Iran and is forbidden from making films and is not allowed to leave the country. But he made a documentary in his apartment with a co-director, Mojtaba Murtahmasb," Bailey says. "The co-director was scheduled to come to Toronto. He had a plane ticket and at the airport he was detained and he was also not allowed to leave the country. We were very disappointed, but we were lucky that Panahi's wife was able to travel to Toronto with their daughter, so they were able to present the film to the audience here. But it was a fairly stark reminder that what filmmakers do …what artists do generally …is often under political constraints and that is really unfortunate."

    With the 2011 TIFF now over, Cameron Bailey and his team are already starting their search for new works to present at next year's event.

    You May Like

    Republicans Struggle With Reality of Trump Nomination

    Despite calls for unity by presumptive presidential nominee, analysts see inevitable fragmentation of party ahead of November election and beyond

    Nielsen's, Sina Weibo Team Up for Closer Look at Chinese Social Media

    US-based rating agency reaches deal with China's Twitter-like service to gauge marketing effectiveness on platform which has more than 200 million users

    Despite Cease-fire, Myanmar Landmine Scourge Goes Unaddressed

    Myanmar has third-highest mine casualty rate in the world, according to Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, which says between 1999 to 2014 it recorded 3,745 casualties, 396 of whom died

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    New in Music Alley

    Border Crossings: Bannersi
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    May 04, 2016 1:07 PM
    Singer and Songwriter, Michael Nelson better known as "Banners" sits down with Border Crossings host Larry London in Studio 4 to talk and perform songs from his debut self titled EP.

    Singer and Songwriter, Michael Nelson better known as "Banners" sits down with Border Crossings host Larry London in Studio 4 to talk and perform songs from his debut self titled EP.