x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Sci-fi film to kick off Toronto festival

North America's largest festival to open with time-travelling gangster movie.

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) will open this year with Rian Johnson's time-travelling mob thriller Looper, starring Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels and Bruce Willis.

It's the first science fiction film to open the Toronto event, North America's largest film festival, which runs from September 6 to 16.

TIFF will also feature the most diverse gala presentations to date from Japan, China, India, Britain, Denmark, Italy, the US and Canada.

The new fare also includes a father's hunt for his missing daughter in Damascus in Canadian director Ruba Nadda's Inescapable.

Ben Affleck's Argo, about six Americans' escape after militants storm the US embassy in Tehran in 1979, gets a screening, and the British royals' 1939 plea to US president Franklin Roosevelt (Bill Murray) for support as war with Germany is imminent in Hyde Park on Hudson.

Unlike the Cannes and Berlin festivals, Toronto does not have an official competition or award jury prizes, but an audience prize is handed out and the winners often go on to win big at the Academy Awards.

Billy Bob Thornton will also unveil Jayne Mansfield's Car, while the Wachowski Brothers explore how a single act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution in Cloud Atlas, starring Tom Hanks.

Joss Whedon takes a jab at Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, with a contemporary spin, and Dustin Hoffman makes his directorial debut with the high-drama comedy Quartet, starring Maggie Smith.