Ben Wheatley’s ‘High-Rise’ Joins TIFF’s New Platform Competition
Today came as a bit of a surprise for TIFF fans, as the festival unveiled twelve selections for its brand new programme Platform. For years, the Toronto International Film Festival has put its emphasis on audiences, as the fest’s major awards were based on votes by audience members. This year, for their 40th anniversary, TIFF has changed gears, introducing a new programme that will be overseen by a three-member jury. And for its first year, TIFF has started things off with a bang: the jury will comprise of filmmakers Claire Denis, Jia Zhang-Ke, and Agnieszka Holland. Piers Handling, director and CEO of TIFF, describes the 12 filmmakers selected for Platform as “the next generation of masters whose personal vision will captivate audiences, industry members and media from around the world.” And to make things more interesting, at the end of the festival the jury will give a $25,000 prize to the winning film.
Based on that description, and looking at the selection, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that some of these names might fly over the heads of some people (but hey, the purpose of this programme is to help establish these directors as the new generation of major filmmakers). But some big films did find their way into Platform, with the biggest of all being Ben Wheatley’s High-Rise, which has a huge cast including Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons and Elisabeth Moss. Other notable films include new works by Argentinian director Pablo Trapero (Carancho, White Elephant) and Canadian documentarian Alan Zweig (Vinyl). We’ll obviously be looking forward to Wheatley’s latest effort here, as he’s an indie filmmaker we’ve all been quite fond of ever since his debut Down Terrace, but we’re looking forward to seeing what new and/or underappreciated talent TIFF showcases with this new programme.
Read on below for more information on the twelve films selected for Platform. The Toronto International Film Festival will run from September 10th to 20th in Toronto, Canada. And be sure to come back to Way Too Indie over the next few weeks leading up to and during the fest, as we have plenty of coverage coming your way.
Bang Gang (A Modern Love Story)
Eva Husson, France (World Premiere)
Biarritz. Sixteen-year-old George, a beautiful high-school student, falls in love with Alex. To get his attention, she initiates a group game with Alex, Nikita, Laetitia and Gabriel during which they will discover, test, and push the limits of their sexuality. Through scandals, love and the breakdown of their value systems, each of them manages this intense period in radically different ways. Starring Daisy Broom, Fred Hotier, Lorenzo Lefebvre, Marilyn Lima, and Finnegan Oldfield.
The Clan (El Clan)
Pablo Trapero, Argentina/Spain (North American Premiere)
Within a typical family home in the traditional neighbourhood of San Isidro, a sinister clan makes its living off kidnapping and murder. Arquímedes, the patriarch, heads and plans the operations. Alejandro, his eldest son, is a star rugby player who gives into his father’s will and identifies possible candidates for kidnapping. To a greater or lesser extent, the members of the family are accomplices in this dreadful venture as they live off the benefits yielded by the large ransoms paid by the families of their victims. Based on the true story of the Puccio family, this film full of suspense and intrigue takes place in the context of the final years of the Argentine military dictatorship and incipient return to democracy. Starring Guillermo Francella and Peter Lanzani.
French Blood (Un Français)
Diastème, France (International Premiere)
This is the story of a Frenchman, born in 1965 on the outskirts of Paris. The story of a skinhead, who hates Arabs, Jews, blacks, communists and gays. An anger that will take 30 years to die out. A bastard, who will take 30 years to become someone else. And he will never forgive himself for it. Starring Alban Lenoir, Paul Hamy, Samuel Jouy and Patrick Pineau.
David Verbeek, Netherlands/Croatia (World Premiere)
A contemporary tale of a man who accidentally bombed a school through a remotely operated drone plane. Modern warfare keeps Ivan safe and disconnected from his prey. But after this incident, this disconnectedness starts to apply to everything in his life. He is unable to process his overwhelming feelings of guilt, but needs to open up to his new love Cindy. Only by facing his victims can he rediscover his humanity and find a new purpose in life. Starring Grégoire Colin, Lizzie Brocheré and Slimane Dazi.
Ben Wheatley, United Kingdom (World Premiere)
1975. Two miles west of London, Dr. Laing moves into his new apartment seeking soulless anonymity, only to find that the building’s residents have no intention of leaving him alone. Resigned to the complex social dynamics unfolding around him, Laing bites the bullet and becomes neighbourly. As he struggles to establish his position, Laing’s good manners and sanity disintegrate along with the building. The lights go out and the elevators fail but the party goes on. People are the problem. Booze is the currency. Sex is the panacea. Starring Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans and Elisabeth Moss.
Alan Zweig, Canada (World Premiere)
Steve Fonyo is a one-legged cancer survivor who completed a cross-Canada run raising $13 million in 1985. The next 30 years were straight downhill: petty theft, larceny and drug addiction. The run has nothing to do with the life of this one-time hero, and everything to do with it. Starring Steve Fonyo.
Land of Mine (Under Sandet / Unter dem Sand)
Martin Zandvliet, Denmark/Germany (World Premiere)
A story never told before. WWII has ended. A group of German POWs captured by the Danish army, boys rather than men, are forced into a new kind of service under the command of a brusque Danish Sergeant. Risking life and limbs, the boys discover that the war is far from over. Starring Roland Møller, Louis Hofmann, Joel Basman, Emil Buschow, Oskar Buschow and Mikkel Boe Følsgaard.
Looking for Grace
Sue Brooks, Australia (North American Premiere)
Grace, 16, runs away from home. Her parents, Dan and Denise, head off on the road across the Western Australian wheat belt with a retired detective, Norris, to try and get her back. But life unravels faster than they can put it back together. Grace, Dan and Denise learn that life is confusing and arbitrary, but wonderful. Starring Richard Roxburgh, Radha Mitchell, Odessa Young and Terry Norris.
Neon Bull (Boi Neon)
Gabriel Mascaro, Brazil/Uruguay/Netherlands (North American Premiere)
Iremar and his makeshift family travel through Northeast Brazil taking care of bulls at the Vaquejadas, a Brazilian rodeo. But the region’s booming clothing industry has stirred new ambitions and filled Iremar’s mind with dreams of pattern-cutting and exquisite fabrics. Starring Juliano Cazarré, Aline Santana, Carlos Pessoa and Maeve Jinkings.
The Promised Land (Hui Dao Bei Ai De Mei Yi Tian)
He Ping, China (World Premiere)
Ai Ling, growing up in a small town, loses her fiancé Jiang He in Beijing. After returning to her hometown with a broken heart, she has to face all the complications life and love have in store for her. Starring Jiajia Wang, Yi Zhang, and Zhiwen Wang.
Fabienne Berthaud, France/Germany (World Premiere)
Romy is on holiday in the USA with her French husband, but the journey quickly turns into a settling of old scores for this worn out couple. After a huge argument, Romy decides to break free. She cuts her ties to a stable and secure life that has become alienating and escapes to the unknown. Drifting through a noisy Las Vegas to the wondrous high desert, she goes on with her solitary journey, abandoning herself to her sole intuitions and making it up as she goes. Liberated, she will cross paths with a charismatic and solitary man, with whom she’ll share an inconceivable but pure love. Starring Diane Kruger, Norman Reedus, Gilles Lellouche, Lena Dunham and Q’orianka Kilcher.
The White Knights (Les Chevaliers Blancs)
Joachim Lafosse, France/Belgium (World Premiere)
Critically acclaimed Joachim Lafosse brings to the screen the Zoe’s Ark controversy which made headlines in 2007: a story about the limits of the right of interference. Jacques Arnault, head of Sud Secours NGO, is planning a high impact operation: he and his team are going to exfiltrate 300 orphans, victims of Chadian civil war and bring them to French adoption applicants. Françoise Dubois, a journalist, is invited to come along with them and handle the media coverage for this operation. Completely immersed in the brutal reality of a country at war, the NGO members start losing their convictions and are faced with the limits of humanitarian intervention. Starring Vincent Lindon, Valérie Donzelli, Reda Kateb, Louise Bourgoin and Rougalta Bintou Saleh.