Magazine article Screen International

Toronto 2016: Cameron Bailey Talks TIFF Highlights and Telluride

Magazine article Screen International

Toronto 2016: Cameron Bailey Talks TIFF Highlights and Telluride

Article excerpt

Toronto International Film Festival's early autumn avalanche of programming raises the curtain on the North American awards season and sparks a traditional round of prognostication from experts. Roughly 300 films will play in the festival's 41st edition (Sept 8-18), but if the artistic director feels he may be about to buckle under the weight of expectation with only a few weeks to go, he isn't showing it. As always, Cameron Bailey is cool as a cucumber.

He has reasons to be cheerful. There is a pop and fizz to this year's selections, led by a star-studded opening night selection that, for the first time in years, feels appropriate given the festival's scale and exuberant nature. "We open with The Magnificent Seven, which is a terrific film," says Bailey. "It's Antoine Fuqua and Denzel Washington working together again after they launched Training Day here 15 years ago. We're a big public festival and while this is totally a popcorn movie, it's a reinvention of that and, as westerns do, it reflects the times we live in."

Joining Fuqua's blockbuster western will be Garth Davis's awards hopeful Lion, JA Bayona's A Monster Calls, Peter Berg's eco-disaster story Deepwater Horizon, Oliver Stone's Snowden and Amma Asante's A United Kingdom. "It's always a big job to put this together and we never know exactly where we're going until we see the film," says Bailey. "We started in the winter with Sundance and Berlin. Then we saw newer films in April, May and June and it got more and more exciting with film-makers like Barry Jenkins, who has finally delivered with Moonlight."

The latter screens in the Platform showcase for international directors and marks the first in-house production from New York-based distributor A24. Platform will also feature Pablo Larrain's Jackie after its Venice premiere; Bailey classes it as "a very intimate" film that casts a new perspective on the assassination of President John F Kennedy.

Platform opens with Bertrand Bonello's drama Nocturama, a potentially tricky choice about a Paris terror attack. "Piers [Handling, TIFF CEO] and I were both incredibly impressed by what Bertrand was able to do," he says. "It plays in part like a procedural but there's this strong undercurrent with what's going on right now and the response we're all having to the political instabilities of our times. …

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