It will always be “The Festival Of Festivals” to me

Toronto Film Fest Promises Plenty of Star Power
TORONTO (Reuters) – The Toronto International Film Festival pledged on Tuesday to deliver plenty of star power, with Nicolas Cage, Nicole Kidman, Denzel Washington and Meg Ryan set to help the city shake off a SARS and blackout-induced slowdown.
Unveiling the final lineup for the Sept 4-13 event, organizers said the recent SARS outbreak failed to scare off stars or filmmakers and ticket sales were already ahead of last year’s record levels.
“The fact they’re here is obviously for us a great sigh of relief … their presence at the festival is going to electrify this city,” Toronto festival director Piers Handling told reporters.
“I think it’s just a recognition of how important the festival has become in the eyes of the international industry.”
Anthony Hopkins, Ian McKellen, Sean Penn, Robert Downey Jr., Val Kilmer, Cate Blanchett, Tim Robbins, Isabella Rossellini and Omar Sharif were also confirmed to attend, Handling said.
Ridley Scott will present his director’s cut of science fiction classic “Alien,” complete with never before seen footage. Francis Ford Coppola will also attend to show and discuss his 1982 film, “One from the Heart.”
This year’s festival will present 336 films from 55 countries, including 252 features, about 60 percent of which are in a language other than English.
The event will be a much welcomed injection of tourism and business for a city hit hard by the SARS outbreak, which ran from mid-March until early May in Toronto. The city remains the only place outside Asia where people have died from the disease.
Organizers said they had no fears about further power outages during the festival even as Ontario remained under the threat of power blackouts on Tuesday. Supplies remain low in the province five days after the worst outage in North American history, even though U.S. cities were fully recovered.
“We’ve been through some pretty major crises over the last little while as a festival. Air strikes and postal strikes and projectionist strikes and we went through 9/11 in the middle of our festival. I think we’ll roll with the punches,” Handling said.
Organizers said they will close off this year’s festival with “Danny Deckchair,” an Australian film about a man whose life changes after he takes flight in a deck chair tied to balloons.
Other gala films announced on Tuesday included “Girl With a Pearl Earring,” based on the popular novel, Richard Linklater’s “The School of Rock,” with comedian Jack Black and Joan Cusack, Ireland’s “The Boys from County Clare” and “Nathalie” and “Bon Voyage” from France.