Toronto film festival to debut films on Mandela, Assange

"The Fifth Estate" will open the 28th annual Toronto Film Festival. Credit: DreamWorks
“The Fifth Estate” will open the 28th annual Toronto Film Festival. Credit: DreamWorks

The world premiere of “The Fifth Estate,” a ripped-from-the-headlines drama about Julian Assange and the creation of WikiLeaks, will open the 38th Toronto International Film Festival, which typically yields a number of Oscar contenders.

Widely considered the kick-off to Oscar season, the 2013 festival will feature films starring Meryl Streep, Idris Elba, Colin Firth, Chiwetel Ejiofor, George Clooney and others, organizers said on Tuesday. The 11-day event opens Sept 5.

Elba takes on the lead role in “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” a dramatization of the life of legendary anti-apartheid South African leader Nelson Mandela, who has been hospitalized with a lung infection for the last six weeks.

“The Fifth Estate,” directed by Bill Condon, stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange, the founder of anti-secrecy website Wikileaks.

This marks the third straight year the festival has opened with a high-profile title, after years of using the opening slot to highlight smaller Canadian films.

“As soon as we saw it, we knew that it would set the right tone for opening night. It’s a movie about what we thought is one of the most important issues of the day — information and who controls it,” said Cameron Bailey, the festival’s artistic director.

In addition to his turn as Assange, Cumberbatch also stars in “August: Osage County,” a star-studded family drama set in Oklahoma that also features Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Ewan McGregor, Abigail Breslin and Chris Cooper.

“Gravity,” a thriller set in space starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, will be screened at the festival. The film is director Alfonso Cuaron’s first feature-length project since “Children of Men” in 2006.

“Arrested Development” actor Jason Bateman will make his directorial debut with “Bad Words,” a comedy in which he stars as a 40-year-old who enters a national spelling competition and dominates his prepubescent challengers.

“Blue Is the Warmest Color,” the lesbian love story that won the Palme d’Or for best film at the Cannes Film Festival, will have its North American debut at the festival.

Launched in 1976, Toronto’s film festival ranks among the world’s top movie events and often serves as a launchpad for international films seeking North American distribution.

The Toronto festival has a solid track record of unearthing films that go on to succeed at the Academy Awards, such as “Slumdog Millionaire” and “The King’s Speech,” which won best film Oscars. Last year’s winner of the People’s Choice award, the festival’s top prize, was “Silver Linings Playbook,” an Oscar nominee for best picture.

Last year, the event screened 372 features and short films.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

National

Divers struggle in search for South Korean ferry…

By Jungmin Jang and Narae KimMOKPO/JINDO, South Korea (Reuters) - Rescuers struggled with strong waves and murky waters on Thursday as they searched for hundreds…

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

NHL

Rangers' speed versus Flyers' size makes interesting playoff…

Among the myriad aspects that will make this Metropolitan Division semifinal series fascinating will be the battle between the Rangers' speed and the Flyers' size,…

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.