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30 Jul 2014 - 4:29 PM  UPDATED 24 Feb 2015 - 10:28 AM

The Toronto International Film Festival has announced its programs for Midnight Madness and other sidebars, TIFF Docs, Contemporary Masters of Cinema and Vanguard. And finally there’s one Australian film. What follows are my picks:

Midnight Madness

• After it’s MIFF premiere, Australian Mark Hartley’s documentary Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films will have its international premiere in Midnight Madness (where fellow MIFF entry Oculus, starring Aussie Brenton Thwaites, took out the audience award last year), Hartley’s film marks the second documentary this year about the rise and fall of the now defunct 1980s action-exploitation studio Cannon films, which produced illustrious titles like American Ninja, The Delta Force, Death Wish II and Masters of the Universe (pictured). The similarly themed French film The Go-Go Boys: The Inside Story of Cannon Films (2014) was well-received when it premiered in Cannes.

Big Game, a Finland/UK/German production by Finnish director Jalmari Heleander (Rare Exports) stars Samuel L. Jackson as the US President and Felicity Hoffman as the director of the CIA. The fate of the most powerful man in the world rests in the hands of a young teenager camping in the woods after Air Force One is shot down near his campsite.  

• Conceived from one of his own ‘Smodcasts’, internet pioneer Kevin Smith debuts his labour of love, Tusk. It stars Justin Long as a podcaster who thinks he has found the story of a lifetime in Howard Howe (Michael Parks), an adventurer with amazing stories and a curious penchant for walruses. When Howe’s true desires unfold, things take a dark turn. Youngsters Alison and Teddy (Hollywood hottie Genesis Rodriguez and Haley Joel Osment) search the backwoods of Canada to rescue their friend, yet they discover a nightmare from which there is no escape. As usual, there’s humour with the horror.
 

Contemporary Masters of Cinema

• As is so often the case, Britain’s Michael Winterbottom is world premiering his latest film, The Face of an Angel, in Toronto. Inspired by the killing of British student Meredith Kercher in Italy, it looks beyond the salacious headlines to explore both the media and the public's obsession with violent stories, whether fictional or real. The film stars Daniel Brühl, Kate Beckinsale, Valerio Mastandrea and Cara Delevingne.

• The eccentric and always original Norwegian Bent Hamer (Eggs, O’Horten) will world premiere 1,001 Grams, about a Norwegian scientist who falls in love with a colleague while delivering a seminar in Paris.

Vanguard

• SBS favourite Sidse Babett Knudsen stars in the UK film The Duke of Burgundy, Peter Strickland’s eagerly anticipated follow up to Berberian Sound Studio and Katalin Varga. It follows two women, played by Knudsen and Chiara d’Anna, as they test the limits of their intense romantic relationship.  

TIFF Docs

• One of documentary film’s greatest directors and much loved by Australians, Nick Broomfield, a champion of the downtrodden who delivered riveting movies on the deceased grunge singer Kurt Cobain and the seriously abused serial killer Aileen Wuornos, presents the world premiere of Tales of the Grim Sleeper. In this US/UK production, Broomfield investigates the 2010 arrest of Lonnie Franklin following a 25-year killing spree in South Central Los Angeles, in which it is thought he could have killed over a 100 victims, potentially making him the most prolific serial killer in history. Broomfield, a US based Brit, always manages to include himself in the action and we expect the same thing here.