Toronto International Film Festival starts tonight

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Thursday, September 7, 2006

The 31st annual Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is starting tonight. The festival, runs until Sept. 16. Hundreds of stars will be there. Including Reese Witherspoon, Brad Pitt, Russell Crowe and more.

"Even if the film isn't bought, it's just the industry [is] seeing your film, recognizing the name," festival director and CEO Piers Handling said. "Financiers, agents are all here. It's amazing the number of filmmakers who will get American agents out of being at the festival. Even a Canadian agent."

The festival has a 352-film lineup, and includes selections from 61 countries, ranging from dramas and horror movies to documentaries, independent features and short films.

"Toronto offers the widest breadth of any of the major festivals," said Tom Ortenberg, president of Lionsgate Films.

Filmmakers like Michael Moore, John Waters and John Cameron Mitchell will be among the participants of the festival's Maverick program, during which filmmakers discuss their latest works.

Winnipeg filmmaker Guy Maddin will also screen his new silent film, The Brand Upon the Brain, with accompaniment from the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, two sound-effects artists, a narrator and a singer.

The world premiere of Amazing Grace, based on the story of 18th-century British abolitionist, William Wilberforce, and his campaign to end the slave trade will be shown on the last day.