If you’re more interested in the typical fall slate of festival entrees than summer’s glut of tentpole action fare, this is a great week. The Toronto International Film Festival announced the first wave of films that will play the fest in September. This is a batch of about 50 titles, which makes up only a small chunk of the programming. Usually TIFF features between two and three hundred films. But these are some of the highest-profile entries.

Below you’ll find rundowns on the new films from George Clooney, Bennett Miller, Jay & Mark Duplass, Todd Solondz, Francis Ford Coppola, Cameron Crowe, Sarah Polley, Fernando Meirelles, Lars von Trier, Marc Forster, Steve McQueen, Alexander Payne, and Lynne Ramsay. No announcement yet of the Midnight Madness programming choices, always some of my faves, but this is a great start. Read More »

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The Toronto International Film Festival has just announced the first fifty or so films from its 2011 line-up today, including new works by Alexander Payne, the Duplass Brothers, Sarah Polley, and Madonna, and many, many others. In the process, TIFF also released a crop of brand-new photos from several films from the schedule. Hit the jump for new photos from the following:

  • Derick Martini’s Hick, starring Blake Lively and Chloe Moretz
  • The Duplass Brothers’ Jeff Who Lives at Home, starring Jason Segel and Ed Helms
  • Terence Davies’ The Deep Blue Sea, starring Rachel Weisz and Tom Hiddleston
  • Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz, starring Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, Luke Kirby, and Sarah Silverman

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Mark and Jay Duplass have steadily moved forward from their early ‘mumblecore’ movies to slightly more mainstream fare, culminating with last year’s film Cyrus and the upcoming Jeff Who Lives at Home, starring Jason Segel and Ed Helms.

Now they’ve got a new film percolating, as a script has been making the studio rounds this week. The movie is reportedly called Pitchfork (named after the standard-setting music web magazine) and the subject matter is (at least in part) the anonymity and potentially damaging reach of the internet. Read More »

Funny folks Jeff Garlin and Mary Lynn Rajskub have signed on for Safety Not Guaranteed, which will also star Kristen Bell, Aubrey Plaza (Parks & Recreation), Lynn Shelton (Humpday), Jenica Bergere (Rat Race), Jake Johnson (No Strings Attached), Mark Duplass, and newcomer Karan Soni. The comedy centers around “three magazine employees sent to investigate a classified ad from a man seeking a partner for time travel” and is based on an actual ad that was once featured on the Jay Leno Show.

Safety Not Guaranteed will be the first feature by Colin Trevorrow, who is directing from Derek Connolly‘s original screenplay. Big Beach Films (Little Miss Sunshine) and Duplass Brothers Productions (The Puffy Chair) are producing, which should probably give you some hint as to what kind of humor and general vibe we can expect. The film is currently shooting in Seattle. [The Hollywood Reporter]

After the jump, Hilary Swank considers co-starring with Jeremy Renner and a Silence of the Lambs parody musical hits Off Broadway.

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Let’s hear it for film as the people’s medium! Katie Aselton, who made The Freebie, is directing and starring in a thriller called Black Rock, written by her husband, Mark Duplass (Baghead, Cyrus). The film is about “what happens when three childhood friends meet for a weekend getaway on an isolated island and discover that they have company.” The cast is pretty much set, and also includes Lake Bell, Kate Bosworth, Jay Paulson, Anslem Richardson and Will Bouvier. But this isn’t a big-budget deal; as the involvement of Mark Duplass would suggest, it’s a pretty small film that comes from a personal space. And it is looking for audience help to take the final step to creation. Read More »

Briefly: Add one more to the increasingly intriguing cast of Alex Kurtzman‘s directorial debut Welcome to People. Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks lead the cast in a story where “a young man (Pine) is directed by his father’s will to deliver $150,000 to a sister (Banks) he didn’t know he had.” That’s actually more detail than we’d previously known, and it still isn’t a lot. Now actor/writer/director Mark Duplass will play a neighbor who is interested in Elizabeth Banks’ character. Olivia Wilde and Michelle Pfeiffer are in the cast as well.

Alex Kurtzman has made a career out of big budget, high-concept stuff so far, but when I spoke to his co-writer Roberto Orci on the set of Cowboys & Aliens (which they wrote and produced) Mr. Orci said they were looking to do something a bit different when one or the other segued into directing. This picture was no doubt already in the works, but I’m glad to see the pair (who both wrote this script along with Jody Lambert) making good on their intent to develop their own cinematic vocabulary. [Variety]

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Though he’s been announced as attached to a few projects over the past couple years, Lawrence Kasdan hasn’t written or directed a produced film since Dreamcatcher in 2003. (He has done script work, like the polish on the script for the action version of Paradise Lost that Alex Proyas just signed to direct.)

But now Kasdan will direct Darling Companion from a script he wrote with Meg Kasdan, and he’s just added Mark Duplass, Dianne Wiest and Sam Shepard to the cast. Read More »

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Lots of cool film-related stuff happens in Boston, Massachusetts and not that many people are here to document it, preserve it and spread the word about it. Special screenings, Q&As, panel discussions — we have them all, and frequently too. /Film Boston aims to be a bi-weekly column that will bring you audio and video content from film-related events around the Boston area. If you don’t live in Boston, I hope that this column will give you a window into some of the cool stuff that happens here regularly. If you do live here, hopefully you’ll come here to get the heads-up on what’s been going on, and what is to come. As always, every edition of /Film Boston is available at http://www.slashfilm.com/boston.

After the break, a hilarious interview with Jay and Mark Duplass, the directors of Cyrus (at least, it was hilarious for us). Plus, your chance to get free tickets to a screening of Cyrus this Wednesday at the Boston Commons AMC at 7 PM.
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