Gyllenhaal film for Toronto fest

Office, starring Chow Yun Fat and Sylvia Chang (both above), will make its international debut at the Toronto festival in September.
Office, starring Chow Yun Fat and Sylvia Chang (both above), will make its international debut at the Toronto festival in September.PHOTO: EDKO FILMS

TORONTO • The Toronto International Film Festival will kick off its 40th year with the world premiere of Canadian director Jean-Marc Vallee's Demolition, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Naomi Watts, organisers said on Tuesday.

The festival, a frequent launch pad for Oscar contenders, announced about 50 of the hundreds of films it will showcase between Sept 10 and 20. Demolition follows the unravelling of a successful investment banker after the death of his wife.

Vallee had won wide acclaim with Dallas Buyers Club (2013).

Other world premieres include Ridley Scott's The Martian, starring Matt Damon, and Stephen Frears' The Program, starring Ben Foster and Dustin Hoffman, which tracks the rise and fall of cyclist Lance Armstrong.

Johnnie To's film, Office, starring Chow Yun Fat, Sylvia Chang, Eason Chan and Tang Wei, will make its international debut. It is adapted from Chang's play, Design For Living.

Making his return after more than five years is Oscar-winning documentary director Michael Moore with Where To Invade Next.

Peter Sollett's Freeheld, starring Julianne Moore and Ellen Page, is based on the true story of a lesbian couple's struggle for equal rights after one is diagnosed with cancer and wishes to leave her pension to her partner.

Organisers said they had tweaked last year's controversial format of excluding films during Toronto's high-profile opening weekend that have already been screened at the more intimate, industry-focused Telluride festival.

This year, the limitation is that films shown at the three red-carpet venues during the first four days must be world or North American premieres. This allows moviegoers to catch buzzy films already shown elsewhere at other venues during the opening days.

The festival's top prize, the People's Choice Award, is voted on by festival attendees. The 1999 winner, American Beauty, was the first to eventually win a Best Picture Oscar and helped the festival generate greater attention.

Six of the last seven audience favourites became Best Picture nominees or winners, including 12 Years A Slave (2013).

REUTERS, XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 30, 2015, with the headline 'Gyllenhaal film for Toronto fest'. Print Edition | Subscribe