Rian Johnson’s Looper to open TIFF

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The 2012 Toronto International Film Festival will test time on opening night, with the world premiere gala presentation of futuristic action-thriller Looper, from director Rian Johnson.

And just two Canadian films – Ruba Nadda’s Inescapable and Deepa Mehta’s Midnight’s Children – will screen as part of the fest’s official gala selection.

Looper (pictured), from the U.S.’ TriStar Pictures, FilmDistrict and Endgame Entertainment, will open the festival on Sept. 6 with a red-carpet event at Roy Thomson Hall.

“Rian Johnson is a film auteur known for combining different genres to give his project an original spin,” said TIFF director and CEO Piers Handling Tuesday morning at the opening press conference.

Looper will set a very important tone for the festival,” Handling added.

“This is a new kind of opening night: an exciting, thinking-person’s action film from a director who really understands genre,” said TIFF artistic director Cameron Bailey.

And while Looper bends the rules of time, the TIFF execs are sticking with a star-studded opening film, as with last year’s opener, U2 doc From The Sky Down.

Looper stars Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt, along with Paul Dano, Noah Segan, Piper Perabo and Jeff Daniels.

The film is exec produced by Douglas E. Hansen, Julie Goldstein, Peter Schlessell, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Dan Mintz.

Nadda’s Inescapable and Mehta’s Midnight’s Children will receive their world bows at this year’s festival.

Inescapable is Nadda’s third feature, a follow-up to her critical and commercial success Cairo Time.

The film, which stars Alexander Siddig, Marisa Tomei and Joshua Jackson, was shot earlier this year in Canada, South Africa and Lebanon, and is exec produced by Christine Vachon of Killer Films, Kirk D’Amico of Myriad Pictures and Mark Slone at Alliance Films, and produced by Daniel Iron and Lance Samuels.

Midnight’s Children, Mehta’s film adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s novel, was shot earlier this year in Sri Lanka.

The film has already racked up international sales, having been sold into France, Germany, Spain, Australia and New Zealand.

Shabana Azmi, Irrfan Khan, Soha Ali Khan, Nandita Das, Chandan Roy Sanyal and Seema Biswas top-line the film.

Midnight’s Children is produced by David Hamilton, with exec producers Doug Mankoff and Andrew Spaulding from Echo Lake Entertianment and Steven Silver and Neil Tabatznik from Toronto-based Blue Ice Entertainment.

And as part of the special presentations program, Canada-France copro Foxfire, Laurent Cantet’s adaptation of the Joyce Carol Oates story, starring Canadian actresses Ali Liebert and Tamara Hope, will receive its world bow.

Other films that will have their world premieres in gala screenings at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival include Ben Affleck’s Argo, Billy Bob Thornton’s Jayne Mansfield’s Car, Mike Newell’s Great Expectations, Sergio Castellitto’s Twice Born, and Gauri Shinde’s Bollywood film English Vinglish, which marks the comeback of Indian actress Sridevi.

And Mira Nair’s Reluctant Fundamentalist and Robert Redford’s The Company You Keep will have their North American premieres at TIFF after Venice.

The special presentations selections include the world premiere of Cloud Atlas, from Tom Twyker and Andy and Lana Wachowski, starring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry and Hugh Grant; Stephen Chbosky’s film adaptation of his novel, The Perks of Being a Wall Flower; and Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut, Quartet.

Terence Malick’s To The Wonder and Jacques Audiard’s Rust and Bone, which bowed at Cannes, will get their North American premieres in the special presentations program.

The festival will announce its City to City lineup next week, and the Canadian film lineup on Aug. 8.

The Toronto International Film Festival runs Sept. 6 to 16, 2012.

The full list of gala screenings is as follows:

  •  A Royal Affair Nikolai Arcel, Denmark/Sweden/Czech Republic/Germany North American Premiere
  •  Argo Ben Affleck, USA World Premiere
  •  The Company You Keep Robert Redford, USA North American Premiere
  •  Dangerous Liaisons Hur Jin-ho, China North American Premiere
  •  English Vinglish Gauri Shinde, India World Premiere
  •  Free Angela & All Political Prisoners Shola Lynch, USA/France World Premiere
  •  Great Expectations Mike Newell, United Kingdom World Premiere
  • Hyde Park on Hudson Roger Michell, United Kingdom World Premiere
  • Inescapable Ruba Nadda, Canada World Premiere
  • Jayne Mansfield’s Car Billy Bob Thornton, USA/Russia North American Premiere
  • Looper Rian Johnson, USA World Premiere
  • Love, Marilyn Liz Garbus, USA World Premiere
  • Midnight’s Children Deepa Mehta, Canada/ United Kingdom World Premiere
  • The Reluctant Fundamentalist Mira Nair, USA North American Premiere
  • Silver Linings Playbook David O. Russell, USA World Premiere
  • Twice Born Sergio Castellitto, Italy/Spain/Croatia World Premiere


Special presentations are as follows:

  • A Few Hours of Spring Stéphane Brizé, France North American Premiere
  • Anna Karenina Joe Wright, United Kingdom International Premiere
  • At Any Price Ramin Bahrani, United Kingdom/USA World Premiere
  • The Attack Ziad Doueiri, France World Premiere
  • Byzantium Neil Jordan, United Kingdom World Premiere
  • Capital Costa-Gavras, France World Premiere
  • Caught in the Web Chen Kaige, Japan/China International Premiere
  • Cloud Atlas Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski, USA World Premiere
  • The Deep Baltasar Kormákur, Iceland/Norway World Premiere
  • Dormant Beauty Marco Bellocchio, Italy/France International Premiere
  • Dreams for Sale: Nishikawa Miwa, Japan World Premiere
  • End Of Watch David Ayer, USA World Premiere
  • Everybody Has A Plan Ana Piterbarg, Argentina International Premiere
  • Foxfire Laurent Cantet, France/Canada World Premiere
  • Frances Ha Noah Baumbach, USA World Premiere
  • Ginger and Rosa Sally Potter, United Kingdom World Premiere
  • Hannah Arendt Margarethe von Trotta, Germany World Premiere
  • The Hunt Thomas Vinterberg, Denmark North American Premiere
  • The Iceman Ariel Vromen, USA North American Premiere
  • Imogene Robert Pulcini, Shari Springer Berman, USA World Premiere
  • The Impossible J.A. Bayona, Spain/USA World Premiere
  • In the House François Ozon, France World Premiere
  • Kon-Tiki Joachim Roenning and Espen Sandberg, United Kingdom/Norway/Denmark International Premiere
  • The Last Supper Lu Chuan, China World Premiere
  • A Late Quartet Yaron Zilberman, USA World Premiere
  • A Liar’s Autobiography — The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman
  • Lore Cate Shortland, Australia/United Kingdom/Germany North American Premiere
  • Mr. Pip Andrew Adamson, New Zealand World Premiere
  • Much Ado About Nothing Joss Whedon, USA World Premiere
  • No Pablo Larraín, Chile/USA North American Premiere
  • Outrage Beyond Takeshi Kitano, Japan North American Premiere
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower Stephen Chbosky, USA World Premiere
  • The Place Beyond the Pines Derek Cianfrance, USA World Premiere
  • Quartet Dustin Hoffman, United Kingdom World Premiere
  • Reality Matteo Garrone, Italy/France North American Premiere
  • Rust and Bone Jacques Audiard, France/Belgium North American Premiere
  • The Sapphires Wayne Blair, Australia North American Premiere
  • The Sessions Ben Lewin, USA Canadian Premiere
  • Tai Chi 0 Stephen Fung, China North American Premiere
  • Thanks for Sharing Stuart Blumberg, USA World Premiere
  • The Time Being Nenad Cicin-Sain, USA World Premiere
  • To The Wonder Terrence Malick, USA North American Premiere
  • Venus & Serena Maiken Baird, USA World Premiere
  • Writers Josh Boone, USA World Premiere
  • Zaytoun Eran Riklis, United Kingdom/Israel World Premiere