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Toronto Discovery Line-Up Announced

This year's Discovery line-up at the 29th Toronto International Film Festival® presents 28 features from 23 countries, all of which are either world, international, or North American premieres. This year's line-up includes the highly anticipated OFF BEAT, from Hendrik Hölzemann, Lori Silverbush and Michael Skolnik's ON THE OUTS, Pete Travis' OMAGH, and Xiao Jiang's ELECTRIC SHADOWS. Launched in 1996, Discovery presents films by gifted and innovative first or second feature filmmakers. Last year's Discovery Award recipient was Aaron Woodley's RHINOCEROS EYES.

Twelve films in Discovery are world premieres. In OFF BEAT (Germany), Hendrik Hölzemann's feature debut, a melancholy young rescue-team medic meets the woman who keeps appearing in his dreams. Lori Silverbush and Michael Skolnik's ON THE OUTS (USA) follows three teenage New Jersey girls from the same Latino neighbourhood whose lives briefly intersect in juvenile detention. Eschewing the clichés of ghetto life, the film offers a powerful and unique glimpse into their particular slice of America. Xiao Jiang's accomplished feature debut, ELECTRIC SHADOWS (China), blends a simple, heartwarming narrative reminiscent of Chinese films of the 1970s with a lucid investigation of the maimed emotional lives of unwanted children. Set in Australian-style frontier country OYSTER FARMER (Australia/ UK), a romantic comedy from Anna Reeves, follows Jack Flange, a young, inept thief who stumbles into a wonderful community replete with eighth-generation oyster farmers, Vietnam vets with shotguns and impressive outboard motors, and a girl with amazing footwear. Lucile Hadzihalilovic's INNOCENCE (France) is a haunting and fantastical coming-of-age tale about Iris, a beautiful six-year-old girl who emerges from a coffin and steps into a bizarre, netherworld boarding house where obedience is paramount and the outside world is a looming threat. A charming lacquered box of a romantic comedy, Alice Wu's SAVING FACE (USA) follows Wil, a lesbian Chinese-American surgeon who finds her life turned upside down when her single and pregnant mother (Joan Chen) unexpectedly arrives at her door.

Also a world premiere, Aksel Hennie's UNO (Norway) is the story of a shiftless young man who is given a second chance at leading a productive life, but not before he loses what is most important to him. HARI OM (India), from Bharatbala, follows a happy-go-lucky rickshaw driver who is content with the status quo until the rickshaw mafia seeks him out and turns his life upside-down. In Brad McGann's IN MY FATHER'S DEN (New Zealand/UK), a prize winning war journalist returns to his remote New Zealand hometown after a 16-year absence and is forced to confront the secret that has surrounded him for his entire adult life. Macedonian filmmaker Svetozar Ristovski's MIRAGE explores the tragic impact of the political collapse and economic depression of the Former Yugoslav Republic, as a young boy with a talent for writing succumbs to defeat and turns to a life of crime. In Ra'up McGee's blacker-than-noir thriller AUTOMNE (France/USA), three childhood friends find themselves reunited in adulthood, all of them pursuing criminal careers. An incendiary glimpse into the horrendous social problems of Welsh society, Amma Asante's A WAY OF LIFE (UK) focuses on a teenage mother whose misplaced anger and racist sentiments lead her to commit a heinous murder.

Ten titles are international premieres. A powerful and intense story about the unsung victims and the grieving families left behind by a catastrophe, Pete Travis' OMAGH (Ireland/UK) examines the tragic 1998 IRA bombing of the small Irish market town of Omagh. A sensitive story about the complexities of growing up, Marco Kreuzpaintner's SUMMER STORM (Germany) centres around long-time friends Tobi and Achim, two young men who learn that love can sometimes cleave the most solid friendship. Filled with exhilarating musical performances and set in Siam in the early 1900s, Itthi-sunthorn Wichailak's THE OVERTURE (Thailand) follows the life of a gifted wooden xylophone virtuoso from his humble beginnings to his rise to court musician in the King's palace. LE COU DE LA GIRAFE (France/Belgium), from Safy Nebbou, is the subtle and intimate story about Paul, his daughter HélPne, and his precocious grand-daughter Mathilde, who take a road trip across France to locate Madeleine, the ex-wife, mother, and grandmother who walked out of their lives decades earlier. Ahmet Uluçay's charming, autobiographic BOATS OUT OF WATERMELON RINDS (Turkey) follows Recep and Mehmet, two young boys from a Turkish village who share an earnest love for movies and who dream of becoming filmmakers. Santi Amodeo's ASTRONAUTS (Spain) is a sensitive and affectionate story about a junkie trying to repair his life and fit into mainstream society.

Also an international premiere, Maren Ade's THE FOREST FOR THE TREES (Germany) focuses on Melanie, an idealistic high school teacher whose dreamy notions of the perfect life in the big city unravel once she is confronted with reality. Vincenzo Marra's VENTO DI TERRA (Italy) is a finely wrought and understated story of a young Neopolitan man and the gradual but profound changes he undergoes as his family slowly comes apart. The question in Alexandros Voulgaris' CRYING? (Greece) is whether Bill and Nadia, amidst an ensemble cast of equally lost and lonely friends, will discover that each has what the other lacks. Enrique PiZeyro's WHISKY ROMEO ZULU (Argentina) recounts the troubling events that preceded a disastrous plane crash in Buenos Aires that killed 67 people.

Six films in Discovery receive their North American premiere. Konrad Niewolski's SYMMETRY (Poland) examines what happens to an ordinary man when he is subjected to the brutal realities of life in a Polish prison. Set in the lowlands of South Vietnam during the French occupation in 1940, Minh Nguyen-Vo's BUFFALO BOY (Belgium/Vietnam/Germany) follows a fifteen-year-old boy's passage into adulthood as he herds two starving buffaloes toward higher pastures, away from the massive flooding resulting from the rainy season. In Robin Campillo's LES REVENANTS (France), dead people all over the world have left the cemeteries and entered the towns. One central question remains: can the living and the dead manage to co-exist? Aleksi Salmenperä's PRODUCING ADULTS (Finland/Sweden) is a comedy about Venla, a psychologist working at an infertility clinic who decides to have a baby without telling her husband. A visual rumination on love and loss, Marina Razbezhkina's HARVEST TIME (Russia) is set in an impoverished Russian village after the Second World War and recounts the fate of a beautiful woman who works as a tractor driver to support her young son and invalid husband. Based on a true story, Saverio Costanzo's PRIVATE (Italy) examines the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the tale of a well-educated Palestinian family who are suddenly imprisoned in their own home when it is commandeered by Israeli soldiers.


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