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Francis Ford Coppola, Neil Young, Tilda Swinton at Toronto Film Fest

August 23, 2011 |  7:46 am

Toronto International Film Festival organizers are calling this year's Mavericks program -- which features live conversations with industry luminaries -- their most ambitious program yet, and they may have a point. The festival, which starts Sept. 8, will feature nine programs, each with a different cultural icon, from filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola to singer-songwriter Neil Young.

Director Jonathan Demme will pull double duty during the Mavericks program, appearing as both moderator and guest during different events. The director will present his documentary "Neil Young Live," followed by an in-person conversation with Young. He will then moderate a panel centering on veteran film producers Michael Barker and Tom Bernard, who are celebrating their 20th year as the heads of Sony Pictures Classics. Demme, who worked with the duo most recently on "Rachel Getting Married," will moderate the conversation.

Tilda Swinton, the actress and executive producer of the film "We Need to Talk About Kevin," which played at Cannes and is coming to Toronto, will discuss her career, as will actor Christopher Plummer in a panel showcasing his performance as John Barrymore in the film adaptation of the Broadway play "Barrymore." Coppola also will go for a career retrospective after screening his latest film, "Twixt," at the festival.

Foreign affairs will be a topic of conversation as Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed will be in attendance for a showing of the documentary "The Island President," which chronicles the man's 20-year quest for the presidency only to face the unenviable challenge of having to save his nation from rising seas.

Two Cairo-based filmmakers will be on hand to discuss their timely documentary on the fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak this spring. Called "Tahrir 2011: The Good, the Bad and the Politician," the project is composed of three films, by three filmmakers, centered on everyday heroes from Cairo's Tahrir Square, four security guards assigned to crush the uprising, and a deconstruction of Mubarak's persona.

The Toronto International Film Festival runs through Sept. 18.


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Toronto film festival adds Jennifer Hudson, Nicole Kidman movies

--Nicole Sperling

Photo: Tilda Swinton and John C. Reilly in 'We Need to Talk About Kevin.' Credit: From Toronto International Film Festival.

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