The 40th Toronto International Film Festival® shines its spotlight on eight bold features from the city of London, England for the seventh edition of the City to City programme. The lineup showcases adventurous new works by contemporary directors living and working in the global city, and will expose audiences to the fearless cinema emerging from the region.
Already known as a cultural capital and a hotbed for internationally acclaimed film — and contemporary arts in general — England’s capital is home to a number of up-and-coming filmmakers poised to contribute to the future of cinema.
The lineup of City to City films was programmed by Piers Handling, Director and CEO of TIFF, and Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director of the Toronto International Film Festival. The annual City to City series focuses on the films and filmmakers from a selected international hot spot breaking new ground in cinema. Past programmes featured films from Tel Aviv, Istanbul, Buenos Aires, Mumbai, Athens and Seoul.
“We’re thrilled to shine an international spotlight on these up-and-coming filmmakers out of London, by sharing these exciting and provocative films with our audiences in September,” said Handling. “The Festival has a long relationship with British cinema, and we couldn’t be happier to be continuing this tradition,” continued Bailey.
“We have an excellent relationship with TIFF, and it’s a real pleasure to be partnering on this year’s City To City programme,” said Adrian Wootton, Chief Executive of Film London and the British Film Commission. “As ever, the lineup is incredibly strong, from the London strand to the wider programme which features films like High-Rise, The Program, LEGEND, The Danish Girl, Sunset Song and The Martian, all of which made use of United Kingdom locations, facilities and expertise. It is a fantastic year for UK film at the Toronto International Film Festival, one of the world’s best film festivals, and it is set to be all the more exciting thanks to London House and the opportunity it gives us to showcase the UK’s incredible offer when it comes to talent, versatility and innovation.”
Couple in a Hole Tom Geens, United Kingdom/Belgium/France World Premiere
A middle class British couple end up living like feral creatures in a camouflaged hole in the middle of a vast forest in France. Starring Paul Higgins and Kate Dickie.
The Hard Stop George Amponsah, United Kingdom World Premiere
Over several years The Hard Stop features Marcus and Kurtis, childhood friends of Mark Duggan, the young man whose death ignited the UK riots in 2011. Marcus was sentenced for starting the riots in Tottenham that turned into the worst civil unrest in recent British history. The film reflects the current class divisions in British society as it charts the everyday challenges Marcus and Kurtis face as they grieve the loss of their dear friend, and negotiate incarceration and unemployment while the media debate about who their friend was and the inquest into his killing plays out in the background.
Kill Your Friends Owen Harris, United Kingdom North American Premiere
Set in 1990s London, Kill Your Friends follows a 27-year-old A&R man — Steven Stelfox — slashing his way through the music business. Fueled by greed, ambition and inhuman quantities of drugs, Stelfox searches for his next hit record. But as the hits dry up and the industry changes, Stelfox takes the concept of “killer tunes” to a murderous new level. Starring Nicholas Hoult, James Corden, Rosanna Arquette and Ed Skrein.
Kilo Two Bravo Paul Katis, United Kingdom International Premiere
Set in Afghanistan in 2006, a group of British soldiers find themselves trapped in an unmarked minefield, setting into motion a desperate rescue mission. Based on a harrowing real life event, this suspenseful drama sheds light on the bravery, selflessness and heroism soldiers must have to avoid severely tragic consequences. Starring David Elliot and Mark Stanley.
London Road Rufus Norris, United Kingdom International Premiere
A film adaptation of the National Theatre’s ground-breaking musical by Alecky Blythe and Adam Cork about the “Suffolk Strangler” murders in Ipswich in 2006. London Road follows the community who found themselves at the epicentre of these tragic events, and uses their own words set to an innovative musical score. Starring Tom Hardy and Olivia Colman.
Northern Soul Elaine Constantine, United Kingdom North American Premiere
John and Matt are changed forever when they discover American soul music. No longer satisfied with the prospect of a dead-end factory job, they dream of finding the American soul record which will make them famous DJs. Northern Soul was phenomenally popular with British youth in the 1970s, taking the north of the country by storm. This is the story of a youth culture that changed a generation and influenced songwriters, producers, DJs and designers for decades to come. This is the story of Northern Soul. Starring Elliot James Langridge, Joshua Whitehouse, Antonia Thomas and Steve Coogan.
The Ones Below David Farr, United Kingdom World Premiere
Kate and Justin are a successful working couple in their mid-30s whose lives are destined to change forever when the seemingly charming Teresa and Jon move into the flat downstairs. Kate and Teresa become especially close when they both discover that they are pregnant. But when Teresa loses her baby in an accident, she blames Kate. After that, nothing is ever the same. Starring Clémence Poésy, David Morrissey and Stephen Campbell Moore.
Urban Hymn Michael Caton-Jones, United Kingdom World Premiere
Urban Hymn is a redemptive coming-of-age story which follows a neglected and wayward teen, Jamie, whose incredible singing voice offers an escape to a better life until she finds her loyalties torn between her inspiring, unconventional care worker and her possessive and volatile best friend. Starring Letitia Wright, Isabella Laughland and Shirley Henderson.
The 40th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 10 to 20, 2015.
Purchase Festival ticket packages online 24 hours a day at tiff.net/festival, 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 at TIFF Bell Lightbox in person from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET daily at TIFF Bell Lightbox, Reitman Square, 350 King Street West, until August 26 while quantities last.