TIFF 2013: 10 Films to Watch For

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Last week, we got a look at over 70 films that will premiere at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. As always, there are some big names to be found among the list. But while it’s exciting to see recognizable faces and names, movies like Prisoners, Gravity, Rush, and August: Osage County will be widely released in theatres just weeks after playing at TIFF. Sometimes, it can be worthwhile taking a chance on smaller films; you never know how long it might be before you have another chance to see them.

So, after scanning the list of galas and special presentations, here are 10 movies that I’m interested in seeking out that that you may not have heard of and (to the best of my knowledge) have no current plans for immediate major release after TIFF.

1. Devil’s Knot

Atom Egoyan is one of Canada’s most acclaimed directors, so it makes sense that he would choose TIFF for the world premiere of his latest project, Devil’s Knot. The film stars Colin Firth, Reece Witherspoon, and Dane DeHaan and tracks the fallout of the infamous West Memphis Three trial. I haven’t heard much about it for a while, so it’s great to see that it’ll be ready in time for TIFF.

2. Night Moves

Deliberately paced dramas are kind of Kelly Reichardt’s thing (see: Meek’s Cutoff, Wendy and Lucy), so it’s a bit surprising to hear that she’s directing a film that…well, seems to have a plot. The film stars Jesse Eisenberg, Peter Sarsgaard, and Dakota Fanning as a group of radical environmentalists who plot to blow up a dam.

3. The Past

Asghar Farhadi’s last project, 2011’s A Separation, earned him wide acclaim. Now, he continues to explore themes of divorce with The Past. Starring two of the best young actors working in world cinema, Tahar Rahim (A Prophet) and Berenice Bejo (The Artist), this one is surely a must-see.

4. Starred Up

I hadn’t even heard of this U.K. film until yesterday, but any film starring Ben Mendelsohn (Animal Kingdom) is bound to catch my attention. Starred Up tells the story of a young man sent to prison, only to find that one of his fellow inmates (Mendelsohn) happens to be his long-estranged father

5. Joe

David Gordon Green (All the Real Girls, George Washington) seems to have gotten his penchant for stoner comedies out of his system (at least, for now). He premiered the critically adored Prince Avalanche on the festival circuit earlier this year, and now he’s back and embracing the Southern gothic tradition again with Joe. It stars Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan (Mud).

6. The Art of the Steal

Homegrown favourite Jay Baruchel stars in this Canadian flick about brotherhood and crime, which also stars Matt Dillon, Kurt Russell, and Terrence Stamp, from director Jonathan Sobol (A Beginner’s Guide to Endings)

7. The Double

Jesse Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska star in this comedic update of Dostoevsky’s novella about a man haunted by his doppelganger. Submarine helmer Richard Ayoade writes and directs.

8. Hateship Loveship

Another one that was not on my radar. Kristen Wiig, Guy Pearce, Nick Nolte, and Hailee Steinfeld star in an adaptation of Alice Munro’s short story of the same name. Canada!

9. Ida

How about some international contributions? In Ida, Polish-born Pawel Pawlikowska (My Summer of Love, The Woman in the Fifth) tells a grim tale of a young nun in 1960s Poland who discovers a deep family secret stemming back to the Nazi occupation

10. Tracks

If you like Mia Wasikowska, this is your movie. She stars in this drama based on the true story of a woman who set out on a 2700 km trek across the Australian outback in the 1970s.

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