Toronto 2011’s spectacular, star-studded first wave announced – TIFF ’11

By Sean O’Connell Programmers for the Toronto International Film Festival pulled back the curtains on the first wave of films scheduled to be shown at this year’s event, and as expected, it was a staggeringly impressive blend of star-studded dramas, anticipated international features, and awards hopefuls.

Among the names of the filmmakers bringing their latest to the 36th Toronto International Film Festival are Alexander Payne (“The Descendents”), George Clooney (“The Ides of March”), Fernando Meirelles (“360”), Roland Emmerich (“Anonymous”), Michel Hazanavicisu (“The Artist”), David Cronenberg (“A Dangerous Method”), Todd Solondz (“Dark Horse”), Pedro Almodovar (“The Skin I Live In”), Francis Ford Coppola (“Twixt”), Terence Davies (“The Deep Blue Sea”), Luc Besson (“The Lady”), Lars Von Trier (“Melancholia”) and Bennett Miller (“Moneyball”).

The majority of those films, in addition to the rest of the titles that were announced this morning, will be positioning themselves for lengthy Oscar races, just as TIFF veterans “The King’s Speech,” “Black Swan,” “127 Hours” and more did last year.

TIFF also has distinct musical presence this year. In addition to launching with Davis Guggenheim’s U2 documentary, “From the Sky Down,” this year’s fest will feature Cameron Crowe’s eagerly anticipated Pearl Jam documentary “Pearl Jam Twenty.”

TIFF also will be bringing titles that made major splashes at competing festivals to North America, including the controversial “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” the unnerving “Martha Marcy May Marlene,” the souped-up “Drive” with Ryan Gosling, and Paddy Considine’s “Tyrannosaur,” which earned raves at Sundance.

Other titles that immediately make it to the top of out Must See list at TIFF ’11 at Steve McQueen’s “Shame,” a follow up to “Hunger” with the amazing Carey Mulligan; Madonna’s “W.E.;” the apocalyptic “Take Shelter” wih the always impressive Michael Shannon; Sarah Polley’s directorial effort “Take This Waltz,” which we hope is as fantastic as “Away From Her;” the star-studded police thriller “Rampart,” directed by “The Messenger” helmer Oren Moverman; the ensemble comedy “Butter;” and Ralph Fiennes’ Shakespeare drama “Coriolanus.”

And this is just the first wave of films that will be playing at Toronto when the fest kicks off on Sept. 8. Be sure to click here for more details on every film announced this morning. And stay with us for extensive TIFF coverage as we lead up to the festival, cover TIFF from the ground in Toronto, and continue to write about the amazing films from the festival all during the annual awards race.

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