Wednesday, August 6, 2014

2014 TIFF announces selections for Talent Lab Toronto, Telefilm Canada’s PITCH THIS!, Rising Stars

20 Canadian and international participants in 2014 Talent Lab Contenders unveiled for feature film pitch competition

The Toronto International Film Festival® continues to support the development of a vibrant and competitive Canadian film industry with its essential industry programming, revealing participants for the 2014 editions of Talent Lab and Telefilm Canada PITCH THIS!. Produced by TIFF’s Industry Office, these programmes provide a valuable springboard for emerging Canadian filmmakers to further develop their talent for Canadian and international audiences.

Now in its 11th year, the 2014 Talent Lab is a comprehensive four-day programme led by esteemed governors who will guide 20 emerging filmmakers in group discussions that focus on creativity, the artistic process and independent voices. This year's governors include Jim Stark (Coffee and Cigarettes), Claire Denis (Beau travail), Sandra Oh (Sideways) and Ramin Bahrani (99 Homes).

Additional guests will be announced in the coming weeks. Open to both Canadian and international filmmakers, Talent Lab is designed to connect homegrown filmmakers with emerging talent from other countries at a time when the film industry is becoming increasingly international. Talent Lab runs from September 3 to 6, 2014.

“For over 10 years, the Toronto International Film Festival has been dedicated to the success of emerging Canadian film talent at the most crucial point in their careers with Talent Lab,” said Piers Handling, Director and CEO, TIFF. “We are proud to continue to offer an invaluable opportunity to access the creative knowledge and experience of the world’s leading film artists to inspire our Canadian filmmakers, and also emerging international filmmakers, to become tomorrow’s leaders in the industry.”

Now in its 15th year, Telefilm Canada PITCH THIS! provides six teams with six minutes each to pitch their dramatic or documentary feature film idea to a jury of experts in front of a live audience of over 250 industry professionals, in the hopes of winning a coveted $15,000 development award for their project.


Talent Lab Toronto is an intensive four-day programme that gives emerging filmmakers at a pivotal stage of their careers theopportunity to partake in the knowledge and experience of some of the world’s most established and master film artists.

The 2014 Talent Lab participants are:

Canadian Participants
Andrew Cividino
Benjamin Schuetze
Elisia Mirabelli
Danilo Baracho
Deanne Foley
Dylan Reibling
Genevieve Dulude-De
Kate Melville
Maxwell McCabe-Lokos
Remi St-Michel

International Participants
Alireza Khatami (USA)
Aneta Kopacz (Poland)
Dea Kulumbegashvili (Georgia)
Fabio Mollo (Italy)
Joan Chemla (France)
Marietta von Hausswolff von Baumgarten (Sweden)
Mattie Do (Laos)
Siam (Mohamed) Mahmoud (Egypt)
Tomasz Wasilewski (Poland)
Vera Sölvadóttir (Iceland)

Congratulations to Talent Lab participant, director Andrew Cividino, on the selection of his film Sleeping Giant in the 2014 Short Cuts Canada programme, and to the following Talent Lab alumni with films in the Festival’s 2014 selection:

Feature Films:
 Jeffrey St. Jules, Director, Bang Bang Baby
 Daniel Bekerman, Producer, Bang Bang Baby
 Pat Mills, Director, Guidance
 Igor Drljaca, Producer, In Her Place
 Lindsay Mackay, Director, Wet Bum
 Kris Elgstrand, Director, Songs She Wrote About People She Knows
 Jordan Canning, Director, We Were Wolves
 Andrea Dorfman, Director, Heartbeat

Short Cuts Canada:
 Michelle Latimer, Director, The Underground
 Hugh Gibson, Producer, A Tomb with a View
 Matthew Rankin, Director, Mynarski Death Plummet
 Elizabeth Lazebnik, Director, Liompa
 Kevan Funk, Director, Bison
 Jordan Tannahill, Director, Father
 Sarah Galea-davis, Director, An Apartment
 Tony Elliott, Director, Entangled
 Catherine Chagnon, Producer, CHAINREACTION

Talent Lab participants will be guided through the Lab by governors including:

Ramin Bahrani
Writer/director Ramin Bahrani’s films have screened at the Venice, Cannes, Sundance, Berlin and Toronto Film Festivals. Bahrani has won numerous awards including the FIPRESCI prize for best film in Venice (Goodbye Solo, 2009) and a Guggenheim Fellowship,among many others. He has been the subject of retrospectives in venues such as the MoMA in NYC. In 2010, legendary film critic Roger Ebert proclaimed Bahrani as “the director of the decade.”

Claire Denis
Claire Denis was born in Paris, raised primarily in West Africa, and graduated from France's Institut des Hautes Études Cinématographiques (IDHEC). Many of her films have screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, including her debut feature, Chocolat (1988), the documentary Man No Run (1989), No Fear, No Die (1990), I Can't Sleep (1994), Nenette and Boni (1996), Beau travail (1999), Trouble Every Day (2001), Friday Night (2002), The Intruder (2004), 35 Shots of Rum (2008), and White Material (2009). Les Salauds (2013) is her latest feature film.

Sandra Oh
Sandra Oh won her first Genie for her leading role in Double Happiness in 1994. Her second Genie for Best Actress came in 1999 with Don McKellar’s Last Night. For Alexander Payne’s Sideways she received a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. Other film credits include Under the Tuscan Sun, The Princess Diaries, The Night Listener, Hard Candy and Dancing at the Blue Iguana. Most recently, Oh starred alongside Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart in the drama Rabbit Hole, and in the children’s film Ramona and Beezus. She has been nominated for multiple Emmy Awards and won a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Diversity Award for her portrayal of Cristina Yang on TV’s Grey’s Anatomy.

Jim Stark
Jim Stark is an independent American producer who has been involved in writing, developing, financing, producing, selling, distributing and marketing low budget fiction feature films since 1983. His films have won numerous prizes and have been selected to premiere in major festivals such as Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Sundance and Toronto, and have been exhibited theatrically and broadcast on television in countries around the world.


Telefilm Canada’s PITCH THIS! challenge takes place on Monday, September 8 at 1 p.m. and is open to all Festival Industry and Press delegates.

The 2014 Telefilm Canada PITCH THIS! finalists are:

A Tomb with a View Hugh Gibson and Ryan Noth
A Tomb with a View is a feature documentary that examines stories of ambition and the human desire to create a legacy, starting with a cemetery in the sky.

Dog Beach, Florida Dane Clark and Linsey Stewart
Noah is all set to take his sick dog on one last adventure before he dies when his ex-girlfriend and co-owner of the dog decides she should come along too.

Lake 239 Karen Harnisch and Sarah Goodman
A young graduate student journeys to a remote research facility in the wilderness of Northern Ontario hoping to come to terms with the death of her twin sister, but has to fight to keep both the facility and her own voice alive.

Ten Thousand Happiness Johnny Ma and Sarah Stallard
When the grandparents of a powerful Chinese family suddenly announce their divorce after 65 years of marriage, three generations of relatives must dig deep within themselves to re-evaluate their own relationship with love, marriage, and ultimately happiness. A story of family and pollution in modern Beijing.

Trance Jason DaSilva, Leigh DaSilva and Alice Cook
Paolo and Jaya, two teenagers coming of age in Goa during Goa Trance's peak of popularity, are torn apart by social and political upheavals beyond their control. Caught between two worlds, their actions will set in motion a chain of events that will change the community, and their lives, forever.

X Quinientos Yanick Létourneau and Juan Andrés Arango
Set in Mexico, Canada and Colombia, X Quinientos’ three intertwining stories revolve around individuals who go through a radical physical transformation following the death of a loved one.

Purchase Festival ticket packages online 24 hours a day at, by phone from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET daily at 416.599.TIFF or1.888.599.8433, or visit the Gupta Box Office person from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET daily at TIFF Bell Lightbox, Reitman Square, 350 King Street West, until August 20 while quantities last.

The 39th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 4 to 14, 2014.

Sophie Desmarais, Shannon Kook, Alexandre Landry and Julia Sarah Stone

The Toronto International Film Festival® today revealed the four actors selected to participate in the 2014 TIFF Rising Stars programme – Sophie Desmarais, Shannon Kook, Alexandre Landry and Julia Sarah Stone. Now in its fourth year, the intensive professional development programme immerses participants in a series of public events and industry meetings during the Festival.

“The 2014 Rising Stars are a diverse group of actors, each carving his or her own path in the industry with unique projects,” said Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director of the Toronto International Film Festival. “We are thrilled to welcome them to the programme and look forward to charting their trajectory in the Canadian industry and abroad.”The four Rising Stars will take part in a series of specialized programming organized by the TIFF Industry Office that includes media training, seminars with international casting directors, one-on-one meetings with filmmakers, as well as a series of unique networking opportunities.

Sophie Desmarais
Sophie has worked with some of the luminaries of Canadian cinema, including Denis Villeneuve, Denis Coté, Xavier Dolan, and Sébastien Pilote. She garnered critical acclaim for her portrayal of Sarah, a young runner determined to succeed on the track team in the Toronto International Film Festival hit Sarah Prefers to Run. Directed by Chloé Robichaud, the film secured Sophie a Vancouver Film Critics Award for Best Actress in a Canadian Film, a RiverRun Spark Award, and rocketed her to the top of Indiewire’s “10 Actors to Watch” list at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. She made her English-language feature film debut in the 2004 period drama Head in the Clouds, cast opposite Charlize Theron and Penélope Cruz. Sophie can next be seen in Julie Hivon’s Qu’est-ce qu’on fait ici?, Martin Tallbot’s Henri Henri and Rafaël Ouellet’s forthcoming feature, Gurov and Anna.

Shannon Kook
Shannon Kook, a graduate of the prestigious National Theatre School of Canada, began his career on the stage at Factory Theatre and at the Citadel Theatre, where he starred in the Dora-nominated production of The Forbidden Phoenix. Shannon made guest appearances on the popular CBC series The Border and Being Erica, Disney XD’s Aaron Stone, and the award-winning HBO series Durham County. He appeared as a new recruit in Global’s hit show Rookie Blue, and starred in the Emmy-nominated series Degrassi: The NextGeneration, playing the role of Zane for three seasons. His first major film break came when he was cast in a supporting role in James Wan’s 2013 box-office hit, The Conjuring. Shannon was cast opposite TIFF Rising Stars alumna Cara Gee in Peter Stebbings’ Empire of Dirt, an Official Selection of the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. Shannon can next be seen in the upcoming adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s best-selling 2009 thriller, Dark Places, which also stars Chloë Grace Moretz, Charlize Theron, Christina Hendricks, Nicholas Hoult and Corey Stoll.

Alexandre Landry
Alexandre studied theatre and singing at the National Theatre School of Canada before landing significant stage roles in Montreal productions of Les Aventures de Lagardère, Chambre(s), and Tom à la ferme. Soon after, he appeared in the popular Québec television series Destinées. His major break came when he was cast in a supporting role in his first feature film Gabrielle directed by Louise Archambault. For his performance as Martin, Alexandre garnered critical acclaim and international awards including the Jean-Claude Jean Award for Most Promising Talent at the Dieppe Canadian Film Festival, the Valois Magelis Award for Best Actor at France’s Festival du film francophone d'Angoulême, Best Actor at Spain’s Festival de Gijón, and the Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor in a Support Role in a Canadian film. Alexandre can be seen at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival in a starring role in Rodrigue Jean’s L’amour au temps de la guerre civile.

Julia Sarah Stone
Julia had her breakout performance in the 2011 hit Canadian indie The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mom for which she won the prize for Best Performance in an International Feature at the LA Young Artist Awards. In 2013, Julia captivated audiences as a series regular on AMC’s critically acclaimed series The Killing, playing an emotionally troubled teen living on the streets. Julia starred in the Lifetime Movie Network’s The Pastor’s Wife, The Hub Network’s R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour, and played a brilliant nerd battling peer pressure in the Canadian indie feature Vampire Dog. Julia currently stars in the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival selection Wet Bum, directed by Lindsay McKay. Upcoming projects include roles in Wim Wenders’ Every Thing Will Be Fine, Werner Herzog’s Vernon God Little, and Charlie Kaufman’s F/X pilot, How and Why.

Rising Stars alumni include household names like Sarah Gadon (Maps to the Stars, Belle and the upcoming The Girl King), Tatiana Maslany (two-time Critic's Choice Award-winner for Best Actress in a Drama Series for Orphan Black), Cara Gee (the upcoming Strange Empire) and Evelyne Brochu (Orphan Black, Pawn Sacrifice) among others.

The 2014 jury who helped select the 2014 Rising Stars include Lucie Robitaille, Larissa Giroux, Peter Stebbings, Helen du Toit and alumna Sarah Gadon.

In 2014, TIFF Rising Stars embarks on a relationship with the Casting Society of America (CSA), working together to promote Canada’s acting talent.

Purchase Festival ticket packages online 24 hours a day at, by phone from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET daily at 416.599.TIFF or 1.888.599.8433, or visit the Gupta Box Office person from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET daily at TIFF Bell Lightbox, Reitman Square, 350 King Street West, until August 20 while quantities last. The 39th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 4 to 14, 2014.

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About TIFF
TIFF is a charitable cultural organization whose mission is to transform the way people see the world through film. An international leader in film culture, TIFF projects include the annual Toronto International Film Festival in September; TIFF Bell Lightbox, which features five cinemas, major exhibitions, and learning and entertainment facilities; and innovative national distribution program Film Circuit. The organization generates an annual economic impact of $189 million CAD. TIFF Bell Lightbox is generously supported by contributors including Founding Sponsor Bell, the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, the City of Toronto, the Reitman family (Ivan Reitman, Agi Mandel and Susan Michaels), The Daniels Corporation and RBC. For more information, visit

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