"Submergence," the latest from noted German director Wim Wenders, is set for its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. It won't be the only German content at TIFF. Even Netflix has something to show.
In recent years, the success of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) appears to have left the venerable Venice Film Festival in the dust.
TIFF has offered distributors and producers, predominantly from North America, better working conditions and more promising business prospects, burnishing its reputation as a film city.
Today, many well-known directors prefer traveling to Canada over Italy for the nearly simultaneous film festivals - this year, TIFF, which kicks off on Thursday, overlaps Venice by two days.
A trend reversed
But a glance at both programs for this year's festivals reveals that this trend seems to have slowed, at least for now. This year's Venice festival (the 74th edition ends on Saturday) has featured many more star directors than expected in Toronto.
Nonetheless, the Canadian event, which takes place from September 7-17, has plenty on offer. The festival's many sections will feature plenty of established talent and newcomers, veteran directors from all over the globe and even a few artistic heavyweights.
Germany has remained in the shadows at Venice this year, but will be in the spotlight in Toronto when the renowned director Wim Wenders presents his latest effort, "Submergence" (top photo). Featuring an international cast, with Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander and James McAvoy, "Submergence" is part love story, part thriller.
Wenders will also be part of the jury in Toronto, in the Platform section, where the new film by Austrian director Barbara Albert, "Mademoiselle Paradis," will debut. The historical drama is based on the best-selling book by German author Alissa Walser, "Am Anfang war die Nacht Musik."
The German Netflix series 'Dark' will premiere on the big screen before hitting the streaming service
German director Robert Schwentke, busy for the last decade or so in Hollywood, will also celebrate the world premiere of his latest work in Toronto. His film "The Captain" tells the story set in the last weeks of World War II. A 19-year-old soldier, played by Max Hubacher, is hunted down in northern Germany as a deserter - until he stumbles across the uniform of an officer and slips it on. Suddenly, everything changes for him.
The new Netflix series "Dark," by Swiss director Baran bo Odar, will also premiere on the big screen in Toronto. "Dark" was produced and shot entirely in Germany, and is thematically linked to the director's successful 2010 feature film "The Silence.". As in the film, "Dark" will focus on the mysterious disappearance of children, dark family secrets and interlinking timelines.
Another German co-production, the new film by Danish director and two-time Palme d'Or winner Bille August, is also on the schedule at TIFF. "55 Steps," starring Hilary Swank and Helena Bonham Carter, deals with the fate of patients in psychiatric care and calls for more humane treatment.
Diane Kruger (left), honored for her work at Cannes earlier this year, stars in Akin's 'In the Fade'
Akin, Grisebach, Tabak
A total of 41 German films and co-productions will be shown at TIFF. New German films by Fatih Akin ("In the Fade") and Valeska Grisebach ("Western"), along with smaller productions like "The Garden" by Sonja Maria Kröner, will also premiere in North America, after showing at several European festivals.
Against the background of the current tensions between Germany and Turkey, the latest work by the young German-Turkish director Hüseyin Tabak is also likely to be of interest.
In "The Legend of the Ugly King," Tabak follows the life of Turkish director Yilmaz Guney, who before his death in 1984 had repeated struggles with the authorities over his work. Guney spent several years in prison, before fleeing for France.
His 1982 film "Yol," was shot by proxy while he was in jail. Strongly critical of Turkey and its military government at the time, the film went on to win the Palme d'Or in Cannes.