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World’s Largest Public Film Festival Opens in Toronto

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Several Turkish films in all-star viewing line-up

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) – the biggest public film festival in the world – kicks off in Canada’s largest city Thursday with a bevy of stars and a line-up of possible Oscar winning movies.

Among the A-list celebrities expected to attend are Daniel Craig (James Bond), Christian Bale (‘Batman’) and Jim Carey (‘Dumb and Dumber’) as well as George Clooney, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry and Matt Damon, organizers said.

Oscar winning films are often premiered at TIFF. The past list of winners includes last year’s La La Land (14 Oscar nominations) and Moonlight (best picture Oscar). Other Oscar winners from previous years are ‘The King’s Speech’, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and ‘12 Years a Slave’.

One of the films creating Oscar buzz at the 2017 TIFF is ‘Kings’, starring Halle Berry and Daniel Craig.

Craig aids former Bond girl Berry as she makes a dash for safety during the L.A. riots in 1992, according to the TIFF synopsis of the film.

‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri’ depicts a mother (played by four-time Oscar nominee Frances McDormand) trying to convince a small-town police chief (two-time nominee Woody Harrelson) to investigate the unsolved murder of her daughter.

Former Oscar nominee Gary Oldman plays Winston Churchill in ‘Darkest Hour’, and it is the actor’s transformation into the former British prime minister that has some predicting Oldman as a Best Actor nominee.

Also at TIFF are both short and featured length flicks with a Turkish flare, including Sevince (When You Love), directed by Suheyla Schwenk. It is the story of a Turkish housewife and mother living in Germany who reacts badly when her husband “brings home news that will uproot the family yet again”, said the TIFF synopsis.

‘Ayhan and Me’ is a short 14-minute look at the interaction of art and politics. It is directed by belit sag, a former Turkish math student who was involved in artist groups in Ankara and Istanbul.

Turkish writer-director Yesim Ustaoglu debuts a film, ‘Clair-Obscur’, a powerful, complex portrait of two women struggling to escape unhappy lives.

And then there is ‘Ember’.

“In this slow burning psychological drama from Turkish director Zeki Demirkubuz, an Istanbul seamstress struggling with the debts left behind by her vanished husband rekindles an old friendship that escalates into an affair,” according to the TIFF synopsis.

The film festival runs to Sept. 17.

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