Dean Spanley set for Toronto

[release from NZFC}

Confirming its position as the prime North American launch pad, the Toronto International Film Festival has added more world premieres to its line-up. Among the new titles announced today is director Toa Fraser’s Dean Spanley starring 8-times Academy Award nominee, Peter O’Toole.

The film will have a red carpet Gala screening during the opening weekend in Toronto, on Saturday 6 September.

Dean Spanley joins a select list of others premiering at Toronto, including new films from critically acclaimed filmmakers Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Mira Nair, Brett Ratner, Caroline Link and Anees Bazmee and feature performances by Brad Pitt, Rachel McAdams, John Malkovich, Julie Christie, Vincent Cassel, Ellen Burstyn, Edward Norton, Christina Ricci, Colin Farrell, Akshay Kumar, Jon Voight, Scarlett Johansson, James Caan, Natalie Portman, George Clooney, Jeremy Northam, Kate Beckinsale, Alan Alda, Matt Dillon, Tim Robbins, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and Angela Bassett.

The Gala programme is described by the Festival as a ‘high profile showcase of films with major impact’. The film will premiere at the 2,600 seat theatre, the Roy Thomson Hall. This is the first time a NZ feature film will have a Gala screening at Toronto, which is the most exalted slot the festival offers.

"The gala screening represents a spectacular launching pad for Dean Spanley” says director Toa Fraser. “We put our hearts and souls into making the movie and I can’t wait to see it up there on the big screen at one of the world’s most prestigious festivals."

Toa Fraser will be in Toronto to introduce his film along with his cast – Peter O’Toole, Jeremy Northam, Sam Neill and Bryan Brown. They will be joined by screenwriter Alan Sharp and producers Matthew Metcalfe and Alan Harris.

Set in the early 1900s, Dean Spanley is a whimsical, poignant tale of a father and son, and their encounters with an eccentric stranger.

NZ Film, which is the sales arm of the NZ Film Commission, is handling world sales of the film.

Dean Spanley will be released in Australia and New Zealand early 2009 by Transmission Films in association with Paramount Pictures.

Following Toronto, the subsequent Canadian release of the film is being handled by of Alliance Pictures (The World’s Fastest Indian; The Lord of the Rings).

A UK-NZ co-production, Dean Spanley was financed by Aramid Entertainment, the NZ Film Commission’s Film Fund 2, Lipsync Productions and Screen East. Executive Producers are David Parfitt, Finola Dwyer, Simon Fawcett and Alan Sharp.

The thirty-third annual Toronto International Film Festival will be held from September 3 to 13, 2008.