At least two Chinese movies, including Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke's latest one -- Mountains May Depart -- will be screened at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), scheduled to be held in September, as the event is going back to its Canadian roots for its 40th anniversary.
Mountains May Depart, together with Hong Kong director Johnnie To's film -- Office -- were among the 49 special presentations titles announced Tuesday at the Bell Lightbox, the TIFF headquarters in downtown Toronto, Canada, as the initial portion of the estimated 300-film lineup in September, mostly world, international or North American premieres.
"We are celebrating our 40th anniversary in 2015 and this first round of films offers a taste of the incredible lineup at this year's Festival," said Piers Handling, CEO and director of TIFF. " Made by both established and emerging filmmakers from around the world, these films offer a global snapshot of our times."
"This year we are thrilled to share a diverse array of filmmakers from Australia, India, France, China, the United Kingdom and the USA," said Cameron Bailey, artistic director of the film festival. "We look forward to sharing these fantastic films with Toronto audiences -- the most engaged and enthusiastic in the world."
Starring Chow Yun Fat, Sylvia Chang, Eason Chan and Tang Wei, Office, the movie, is set to make its international debut in Toronto. The movie is an adaptation of the theater play by Sylvia Chang of Taiwan.
For its North American premiere, Jia's Mountains May Depart jumps from the recent past to the speculative near-future as it examines how China's economic boom has affected the bonds of family, tradition, and love.
Earlier in July, it was announced that Jia will lead the inaugural jury for TIFF 2015's Platform, a new program to champion film directors' works from around the world.
This year's Toronto film festival will open with Demolition, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Naomi Watts, and with Jean-Marc Vall e, who is from Quebec, as director, according to Piers Handling, the CEO and director of TIFF.
Valle is not the only Canadian director to be featured at the festival. Other well-known Canadian filmmakers are in the spotlight too. Toronto-based Deepa Mehta's Beeba Boys, about gang violence among young Indo-Canadian men, will be highlighted, as will be Remember, another film by director Atom Egoyan, also a longtime friend of the festival.
After a strong showing at Cannes, the film Sicario by French- Canadian director Dennis Villeneuve will have its North American premiere at TIFF 2015. The film, starring Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro, is about a young FBI agent drawn into a violent war on drugs on the U.S.-Mexican border.
And Gyllenhaal is just one of the many A-list stars who have become fan favorites at the Toronto festival. After her Oscar- winning turn in Still Alice, Julianne Moore will walk the red carpet again for Freeheld, a movie she stars in alongside Canadian Ellen Page. The film focuses on the real-life love story and fight for justice by two New Jersey women and is likely to be especially poignant in a year where same-sex marriage became legal in the United States.
Benedict Cumberbatch fans may get a chance to see their idol for a third year in a row: the British actor is expected to attend the festival as part of the star-studded film Black Mass. Directed by American Scott Cooper, the mob thriller co-stars Johnny Depp, Kevin Bacon and Joel Edgerton.
Festival-goers can also expect to catch a glimpse of Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain. After co-starring in Insterstellar, the actors are back in space in iconic director Ridley Scott's new film The Martian.
The Toronto film festival, which was founded in 1976, now is seen as one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world. Organizers are expected to unveil more of its lineup in the next few weeks for the 40th festival, which runs Sept. 10-20.