The Toronto International Film Festival has, through its run, divided the films into numerous programmes to better identify and group together like-minded features. One of the new additions to the programme in 2015 will be the Platform selection, which will showcase films with a strong directorial vision. What is unique about this programme is that the selected films, twelve in total, will be judged by a three-person jury during the event, with the top film taking home a $25,000 prize. The first ever group of judges at the 2015 event will be comprised of filmmaker Jia Zhang-ke, whose 2000 film Platform was cited as the inspiration for the programme, alongside filmmakers Claire Denis and Agnieszka Holland. The lineup for the Platform was announced today, and can be seen below, alongside their official synopses.
- Bang Gang, directed by Eva Husson, making its World Premiere
Biarritz. Sixteen-year-old George, a beautiful high-school student, falls in love with Alex. To get his attention, she initiates a group game with Alex, Nikita, Laetitia and Gabriel during which they will discover, test, and push the limits of their sexuality. Through scandals, love and the breakdown of their value systems, each of them manages this intense period in radically different ways.
- The Clan, directed by Pablo Trapero, making its North American Premiere
Within a typical family home in the traditional neighbourhood of San Isidro, a sinister clan makes its living off kidnapping and murder. Arquímedes, the patriarch, heads and plans the operations. Alejandro, his eldest son, is a star rugby player who gives into his father’s will and identifies possible candidates for kidnapping. To a greater or lesser extent, the members of the family are accomplices in this dreadful venture as they live off the benefits yielded by the large ransoms paid by the families of their victims.
- French Blood, directed by Diastème, making its International Premiere
This is the story of a Frenchman, born in 1965 on the outskirts of Paris. The story of a skinhead, who hates Arabs, Jews, blacks, communists and gays. An anger that will take 30 years to die out. A bastard, who will take 30 years to become someone else. And he will never forgive himself for it.
- Full Contact, directed by David Verbeek, making its World Premiere
A contemporary tale of a man who accidentally bombed a school through a remotely operated drone plane. Modern warfare keeps Ivan safe and disconnected from his prey. But after this incident, this disconnectedness starts to apply to everything in his life. He is unable to process his overwhelming feelings of guilt, but needs to open up to his new love Cindy. Only by facing his victims can he rediscover his humanity and find a new purpose in life.
- High-Rise, directed by Ben Wheatley, making its World Premiere
1975. Two miles west of London, Dr. Laing moves into his new apartment seeking soulless anonymity, only to find that the building’s residents have no intention of leaving him alone. Resigned to the complex social dynamics unfolding around him, Laing bites the bullet and becomes neighbourly. As he struggles to establish his position, Laing’s good manners and sanity disintegrate along with the building. The lights go out and the elevators fail but the party goes on. People are the problem. Booze is the currency. Sex is the panacea.
- HURT, directed by Alan Zweig, making its World Premiere
Steve Fonyo is a one-legged cancer survivor who completed a cross-Canada run raising $13 million in 1985. The next 30 years were straight downhill: petty theft, larceny and drug addiction. The run has nothing to do with the life of this one-time hero, and everything to do with it.
- Land of Mine, directed by Martin Zandvliet, making its World Premiere
A story never told before. WWII has ended. A group of German POWs captured by the Danish army, boys rather than men, are forced into a new kind of service under the command of a brusque Danish Sergeant. Risking life and limbs, the boys discover that the war is far from over.
- Looking for Grace, directed by Sue Brooks, making its North American Premiere
Grace, 16, runs away from home. Her parents, Dan and Denise, head off on the road across the Western Australian wheat belt with a retired detective, Norris, to try and get her back. But life unravels faster than they can put it back together. Grace, Dan and Denise learn that life is confusing and arbitrary, but wonderful.
- Neon Bull, directed by Gabriel Mascaro, making its North American Premiere
Iremar and his makeshift family travel through Northeast Brazil taking care of bulls at the Vaquejadas, a Brazilian rodeo. But the region’s booming clothing industry has stirred new ambitions and filled Iremar’s mind with dreams of pattern-cutting and exquisite fabrics.
- The Promised Land, directed by He Ping, making its World Premiere
Ai Ling, growing up in a small town, loses her fiancé Jiang He in Beijing. After returning to her hometown with a broken heart, she has to face all the complications life and love have in store for her.
- Sky, directed by Fabienne Berthaud, making its World Premiere
Romy is on holiday in the USA with her French husband, but the journey quickly turns into a settling of old scores for this worn out couple. After a huge argument, Romy decides to break free. She cuts her ties to a stable and secure life that has become alienating and escapes to the unknown. Drifting through a noisy Las Vegas to the wondrous high desert, she goes on with her solitary journey, abandoning herself to her sole intuitions and making it up as she goes. Liberated, she will cross paths with a charismatic and solitary man, with whom she’ll share an inconceivable but pure love.
- The White Knights, directed by Joachim Lafosse, making its World Premiere
Critically acclaimed Joachim Lafosse brings to the screen the Zoe’s Ark controversy which made headlines in 2007: a story about the limits of the right of interference. Jacques Arnault, head of Sud Secours NGO, is planning a high impact operation: he and his team are going to exfiltrate 300 orphans, victims of Chadian civil war and bring them to French adoption applicants. Françoise Dubois, a journalist, is invited to come along with them and handle the media coverage for this operation. Completely immersed in the brutal reality of a country at war, the NGO members start losing their convictions and are faced with the limits of humanitarian intervention.