Asian Titles Join Lineup for 33rd Toronto International Film Festival

Aug 6th 2008
Toronto - The Toronto International Film Festival announces 13 Asian titles to screen as part of TIFF08, running September 4 through 13, 2008. Three titles will screen as Special Presentations; one each will join Masters, Visions and Vanguard, and seven as Contemporary World Cinema titles. Purchase online at tiff08.ca, by phone at 416-968-FILM or 1-877-968-FILM or in person at the Festival Box Office at Manulife Centre, 55 Bloor Street West (main floor, north entrance). Box Office hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

"The Festival has always been dedicated to showcasing the best in films from Asia for our diverse Toronto audiences," says Co- Director Cameron Bailey. "With programmer Raymond Phathanavirangoon now selecting our films from Southeast Asia, TIFF has increased its focus on the vibrant film communities in these regions, paving the way for a significant presence of Asian cinema at this year's Festival."

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

Kanchivaram Priyadarshan, India
World Premiere
Vengadam is a born optimist and weaver of saris, but his lowly status means he can never afford the fashions he creates. At the birth of his daughter he pledges to wrap her in the finest silk on the day of her wedding, dismaying his community who believe that, if such a promise is not fulfilled, a curse will follow. Desperate to keep his word, he steals a thread of silk each day, weaving secretly each night. But when his access to the silk is jeopardized, Vengadam must find a way to keep from breaking his promise.

Still Walking Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan
International Premiere
A son and daughter return to the family home where their parents have lived for decades, bringing their own young families along with them. They have gathered to commemorate the tragic death of the eldest son, who drowned in an accident fifteen years earlier. Although the roomy house is as comforting and unchanging as the mother's homemade feast, everyone in the family has changed subtly. From the director of After Life (TIFF 1998) and Hana (TIFF 2006) comes the story of a dysfunctional family - full of resentments and secrets - which unfolds over the course of a single summer's day.

Plastic City Yu Lik-wai, Brazil/China
North American Premiere
In the São Paulo neighbourhood of Liberdade - home to one of world's largest populations of Japanese immigrants - Yuda, a feared Chinese outlaw, and his adopted son Kirin, an impulsive young dreamer, together rule the pirated goods racket in the ultra-liberal Brazilian metropolis. But a conspiracy between politicians and the mafia begins to threaten Yuda's power. Tired of the bloodshed and feeling the weight of his years, Yuda returns to the jungle in a last attempt to put an end to his life as a criminal.

MASTERS

Achilles and the Tortoise Takeshi Kitano, Japan
North American Premiere
Written, directed and edited by Takeshi Kitano, Achilles and the Tortoise tells the story of Machisu (Kitano), an aging man determined to fulfill his life-long dream of becoming a painter. Faced with feelings of frustration and failure, Machisu persists in living out his passion with the help of his wife (Kanako Higuchi), who continues to support her husband amid the harsh realities of success; or, in Machisu's case, lack thereof. Featuring roughly 70 pieces of Kitano's own artwork, Achilles and the Tortoise is the final film in the acclaimed Japanese filmmaker's self-reflective trilogy.

VISIONS

The Sky Crawlers Mamoru Oshii, Japan
North American Premiere
Celebrated animated film director Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell) delves into a world that is eradicated by war, where private contractors enlist fighter pilots known as Kildren to perform in an endless war that people watch on TV. Kildren do not age, living in a state of eternal adolescence until they die in action. Embracing the reality with which they are faced, the Kildren are conscious that each new day could very well be their last.

VANGUARD

Ocean Flame Liu Fendou, Hong Kong/China
North American Premiere
Recently released from prison, shameless blackmailer Yao relives the story of how he came to meet and fall in love with Li Chuan, a waitress at a quaint beachfront coffee shop. Pulling her out of her simple existence, Yao quickly lures Li Chuan into his criminal world, forcing her to join his prostitution ring in order to keep him in her life. As romance gives way to jealousy and heartache, Yao's actions lead to fatal consequences - consequences he must desperately find peace with so many years later.

CONTEMPORARY WORLD CINEMA

Firaaq Nandita Das, India
World Premiere
The directorial debut of celebrated Indian actress Nandita Das, Firaaq traces the emotional journey of those caught up in the religious clashes that took place in the Indian state of Gujarat in early 2002. Set one month after the violent events came to an end, Das's story unfolds over 24 hours, exploring the impact of violence on the human psyche, on relationships, and on one's ability to remain hopeful in the face of tragedy.

In the Shadow of the Naga Phawat Panangkasiri, Thailand
World Premiere
After hiding a large sum of money on temple grounds, three robbers return to find that a monastery has been built on top of their stash. To retrieve their booty, they have no choice but to become ordained as monks. But can Buddha's teachings free them from their dark impulses, or will their violent nature force them into drastic measures? With tense action and charismatic leads, this film arrives at an answer that is as unexpected as it is thrilling.

Under the Tree Garin Nugroho, Indonesia
World Premiere
Indonesian filmmaker Garin Nugroho (Opera Jawa, TIFF 2006) tells a story of three women coming to terms with issues of paternity: Maharani, an adopted child, who seeks the true meaning of motherhood; Nian, who is in search of a new father figure; and expectantmother Dewi, who faces a tough choice regarding her unborn baby. Set entirely on the mystical island of Bali, the film is intercut with mesmerizing Balinese dances from five powerful choreographers.

Treeless Mountain So Yong Kim, South Korea
World Premiere
Inspired by her own life, writer and director So Yong Kim follows up her directorial debut, In Between Days (TIFF 2006), with the story of Jin, a feisty six-year-old who lives with her mother and little sister in a cramped apartment in Pusan, South Korea. When their mother decides to leave in search of her estranged father, Jin and her sister are forced to spend the summer living with their alcoholic aunt in the rural countryside.

Adela Adolfo Alix Jr., Philippines
International Premiere
Adela is celebrating her 80th birthday. She tries to treat it like any other day, going out on her normal daily routines. But, desperately longing for her family, Adela cannot hide her loneliness. Director Adolfo Alix Jr. has crafted a deeply compassionate portrait of the plight of the elderly in the Philippines, anchored by a bravura lead performance by veteran actress Anita Linda.

All Around Us Ryosuke Hashiguchi, Japan
International Premiere
At work, Kanao, a courtroom portrait artist, silently observes the highest-profile crimes and scandals of the 1990s. At home, amid the joys of marriage, he quietly observes his wife's first pregnancy. But when their child dies, Kanao must support his ailing spouse as she sinks into depression, guiding her toward recovery in the face of tragedy.

Machan Uberto Pasolini, United Kingdom/Italy/Germany/Sri Lanka
North American Premiere
Convinced that submitting a bogus application to the German Embassy is not the worst thing one can do, a group of young Sri Lankans set out to assemble the Sri Lanka National Handball Team from a mismatched collection of friends, colleagues, creditors, policemen - anyone willing to stretch the truth in exchange for a one way ticket to the West. Based on a true story, Machan is the first film from The Full Monty producer Uberto Pasolini.

The Special Presentations programme is made possible through the generous sponsorship of American Movie Classics Company LLC.
The Masters programme is made possible through the generous sponsorship of BMO Nesbitt Burns.
The Vanguard programme is made possible through the generous sponsorship of Motorola and MTV.
The Contemporary World Cinema programme is made possible through the generous sponsorship of Sun Life Financial.

Bell Lightbox
Bell Lightbox is soon to be the world's leading destination for film lovers, and a major cultural institution on the Canadian and international landscape. A five-storey podium building located on Reitman Square in the heart of Toronto's downtown entertainment district, Bell Lightbox is designed by world-renowned Toronto-based architectural firm KPMB. The building includes five cinemas, two galleries, three learning studios, and an enhanced film reference library and archive. Bell Lightbox programming will give context to films through innovative cross-media exhibitions, lectures, new technology showcases and film-related learning opportunities for all ages.

The campaign to build Bell Lightbox is generously supported by founding sponsor Bell. The Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario each have contributed $25 million to realize Bell Lightbox. A gift of more than $22 million has been confirmed from the Reitman family - acclaimed filmmaker Ivan Reitman and his sisters Agi Mandel and Susan Michaels - and The Daniels Corporation, who together form the King and John Festival Corporation. The project is also supported by RBC as Major Sponsor and Official Bank, Visa†, Copyright Collective of Canada, NBC Universal Canada, The Allan Slaight Family, The Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation, CIBC, and many other individuals and corporations. The Board of Directors, staff and many generous individuals have also contributed to the campaign. The total amount raised to date is $147 million, three quarters of the total campaign of $196 million. For more information on the Bell Lightbox campaign, visit belllightbox.ca

We are a charitable, not-for-profit, cultural organization whose mission is to transform the way people see the world through film. Our vision is to lead the world in creative and cultural discovery through the moving image.

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