After securing a historical entry at next month’s Venice Film Festival, Ahmed Maher’s directorial full-length debut feature “El-Mosafer (The Traveler) starring Egyptian screen legend Omar Sharif has landed a coveted spot at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).
“The Traveler, screening in the Special Presentations section, will be joined in the same section with Yousry Nasrallah’s “Ehky ya Scheherazade (Tell Me a Story Scheherazade), starring Mona Zaki.
In the Discovery sidebar, showing the first works of filmmakers from around the globe, the festival will host the world premiere of Ahmad Abdallah’s indie production “Heliopolis starring Khaled Abol Naga and Wust El-Bald front-man Hany Adel.
Abdallah’s debut film was met with a warm reception last May at the Cannes film market. Variety film critic Jay Weissberg called it “a labor of love for all concerned boosted by Abdallah’s “generally skillful handling of the story’s choral nature.
The significant Egyptian representation this year is, by far, the largest in Toronto’s history. Largely considered as the gate for North American distribution, Toronto could possibly aid Egyptian films to crack the North American market, an endeavor that has long eluded the country’s homegrown film industry.
TIFF is hosting an enormous number of both world and North American premiers of some of the biggest filmmakers in the world. In the Special Presentations section, Nasrallah and Maher’s films will be joined with Giuseppe “Cinema Paradiso, Tornatore’s “Baaria, Werner Herzog’s “Bad Lieutenant, Oscar winner Jane Campion’s “Bright Star, Pedro Almodóvar’s “Broken Embraces, Michael Moore’s “Capitalism, Lone Scherfig’s Sundance sensation “An Education, Ricky Gervais’ comedy “The Invention of Lying, Steven Soderbergh’s “The Informant! and Neil Jordan’s “Ondine.
Participating also in the same section are Jacques Audiard’s 2009 Cannes Grand Prix winner “A Prophet, John Hillcoat’s adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s best-seller “The Road starring Viggo Mortensen and Charlize Theron, Fatih Akin’s “Soul Kitchen, Johnnie To’s “Vengeance starring Johnny Hallyday, Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut “Whip It starring Ellen Page, Jason “Juno Reitman’s “Up In The Air and Ruba Nadda’s Cairo set “Cairo Times starring Patricia Clarkson.
The Masters’ sidebar will showcase “Eccentricities of a Blonde-Haired Girl, the latest film by the oldest working director in the world, Manoel de Oliveira; great French filmmaker Alain Resnais’s “Wild Grass; “The Others’ Spanish helmer Alejandro Amenabar’s Roman Egypt “Agora starring “Rachel Weisz; Jon Amiel’s Darwin biopic “Creation starring Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany; Toronto’s favorite Atom Egoyan’s “Chloe; Jan Kounen’s “Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky; Terry Gilliam’s “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus featuring the last performance by Heath Ledger; Gaspar “Irreversible Noé’s controversial “Enter the Void; and Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-liang’s first French production “Visage among several other films.
Toronto International Film Festival is held from Sept. 10-19. Full schedule of the screenings will be released on Aug. 25.