Toronto Film Festival 2012: Keira Knightley in Anna Karenina, Michael Jackson Movie by Spike Lee Take Center Stage

As festival season hits its stride after Venice and Telluride, the Toronto International Film Festival stakes its claim as a premier venue for international filmmakers to share their creations with the world. What a challenge to share only 5 films that are creating a buzz this season, especially given the diverse genres, styles and content covered by both feature-length, animated, and short films.

Of course Looper, directed by Rian Johnson and starring Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Emily Blunt premiered to immense audience delight. Opening in theaters on September 28, 2012, Looper may be one of the festival’s films that will later have broad commercial appeal. The Festival runs September 6-16, and you can check out trailers from festival features here.

1. Anna Karenina

Toronto International Film Festival Special Presentation Anna Karenina, directed by Joe Wright (Atonement) and starring favorites Keira Knightley and Jude Law, opened at the Visa Screening Room last night, and will hit U.S. theaters November 16. Bringing a stylized grace to Tolstoy’s masterpiece, Joe Wright again collaborates with Knightley to draw audiences into a vortex of complicated emotion amidst adroit production choices and stunning visuals. More Info.

2. Bad 25:

From the acclaimed and award-winning director Spike Lee, this year comes Bad 25, a documentary tribute to, and exploration of, Michael Jackson’s 1987 album Bad. Including interviews with musicians, choreographers, close-friends, and the mega music stars of today who were all deeply influenced by Michael Jackson, this film thoroughly saturates audiences the genius of the artist and international pop sensation whom the world still loves and misses. More Info.

3. The Attack: 

Director Ziad Doueiri will present another feature length film at the Toronto International Film Festival, following his lauded West Beirut (1998), which won the FIPRESCI International Critics Prize. Adapted from the acclaimed novel by pseudonymous Yasmina Khadra, Doueiri’s film this year, The Attack, spirals through psychological thrills and sharp political issues as Dr. Amin Jaafari (Ali Suliman), a respected surgeon, husband, and Palestinian citizen of Israel, is called to treat the victims of a suicide bomber’s attack on a Tel Aviv Café, only to discover that the bomber was his own wife. Shown in Hebrew and Arabic, The Attack is a Festival Special Presentation that premieres September 8 at 9pm. More Info.

4. Love, Marilyn: 

Academy Award nominated Director Liz Garbus has created an evocative documentary about America’s eternal sweetheart, Marilyn Monroe. Never-before-seen personal writings by Monroe and her closest friends are brought to life by acclaimed actors Marisa Tomei, Uma Thurman, Glenn Close, Adrien Brody, Paul Giamatti, just to name a few. Premieres Wednesday September 12, Roy Thomson Hall, 9:30pm. More Info.

5. Arthur Newman: 

Monday September 10 will mark the feature film debut of director Dante Ariola with his much-anticipated Arthur Newman. Starring Emily Blunt and Colin Firth, this Festival Special Presentation written by Becky Johnston (The Prince of Tides) takes audiences on the unusual ride of Wallace Avery (Colin Firth), who fakes his own death, takes on the identity of a deceased man and after meeting Mike (Emily Blunt) as she floats, nearly dead in a motel pool, the two of them travel across the country losing, yet also finding themselves as they take on other people’s lives and identities. More Info.