(Rewrites throughout to add details on films, quotes,
background on premieres)
By Cameron French
TORONTO, July 22 Noah Baumbach's "While We're
Young" and Ed Zwick's "Pawn Sacrifice" will be among the world
premieres at this year's Toronto International Film Festival,
one of the top movie showcases and a favored platform to unveil
The festival on Tuesday announced about 60 titles, including
many of the high-profile gala presentations that will unspool at
the 39th version of the Sept. 4-14 event. Departing with recent
practice, festival organizers did not announce the opening film,
and said that would be determined closer to the event.
"While We're Young", by indie darling Baumbach, stars Ben
Stiller and Naomi Watts as a middle aged couple whose lives are
disrupted when a free-spirited younger couple enters the
picture. "Pawn Sacrifice" stars Tobey Maguire as American chess
legend Bobby Fischer, locked in a world championship match in
1972 with Soviet rival Boris Spassky, played by Liev Schreiber.
All told, nearly 300 films are expected to screen at the
festival, which ranks with Cannes, Sundance, Venice, and Berlin
as leading movie events.
The festival is tightening its scheduling criteria this year
to include only true world premieres during its first four days,
when media and industry attention is brightest, although
organizers said that was not the cause of the delay of naming
the opening night film.
"Absolutely not. We have a lot of movies to watch... and
they're not always ready on our timeline," festival artistic
director Cameron Bailey said.
The tougher criteria is meant to halt recent occurrences of
films touted as "world premieres" appearing days previously at
the smaller Telluride Film Festival, a largely industry-only
event that unveils its screenings at the last minute.
Telluride's growing media profile in recent years has led to
some Toronto films billed as world premiers having their thunder
stolen by the smaller festival.
"It was always a little strange, because the films were
going to Telluride, some of them were being snuck into
Telluride, so... I think the media and public and industry just
wanted clarity about what a world premiere was," festival
director Piers Handling said following the announcement.
He said industry reaction has been favorable.
"We're having conversations with all of the rights owners of
the films and making it very very clear what the policy is."
Other films announced on Tuesday include the world premiere
of James Marsh's "The Theory of Everything", which tells the
story of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, and the
international premiere of "Wild", starring Reese Witherspoon as
a recovering heroin addict who sets out on a 1,000-mile hike up
the U.S. west coast.
"Wild" director Jean-Marc Vallee scored strong reviews at
last year's Toronto festival and eventual Oscar glory, with
"Dallas Buyers Club".
The festival will close with historical drama "A Little
Chaos", directed by "Harry Potter" actor Alan Rickman and
starring Kate Winslet as a landscaper appointed to design one of
the fountains at the Palace of Versailles.
(Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson and Grant McCool)