TIFF 2011: The line-up so far including George, Brad, Madonna and U2

George Clooney’s latest directorial offering and a hotly anticipated baseball film starring Brad Pitt are among the star-studded films set to screen at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.

On Tuesday morning, TIFF revealed a glimpse of the films to be featured during the 36th annual festival, which will run from Sept. 8 to 18.

There will be gala screenings of Clooney’s The Ides of March, a political drama starring Ryan Gosling and Paul Giamatti; Moneyball, a movie based on the story of the Oakland Athletics baseball team and their general manager Billy Beane (Pitt); and Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding, a comedy directed by Oscar-nominated Bruce Beresford. Madonna’s directorial debut, W.E., is also among the mix. As well, for the first time in 36 years, the festival is going to open with a documentary: Davis Guggenheim’s film about U2, From the Sky Down.

Handling and TIFF co-director, Cameron Bailey, revealed 10 galas and 43 special presentations, including David Cronenberg’s Freudian drama, A Dangerous Method, starring Viggo Mortensen and Keira Knightly.

Clooney has two projects featured in the festival — The Ides of March and Alexander Payne’s The Descendants, in which he stars. He last attended TIFF in 2009 for the premieres of The Men Who Stare at Goats and Up in the Air.

Sarah Polley’s directorial debut, Away From Her, premiered at the festival in 2006 and she is returning with Take This Waltz starring Michelle Williams and Seth Rogan as a long-term couple.

“The Toronto Film Festival has been such a huge part of my career both as an actor and as a filmmaker. It would be really hard for me to imagine premiering a film at another festival,” Polley said. “This film really belongs here. It’s a film about Toronto. It’s shot in Toronto neighbourhoods.”

She said this year, she is looking forward to checking out Lynne Ramsay’s film, We Need To Talk About Kevin which stars Tilda Swinton as the mother of a murderous teenager.

“I always like to see the movies that don’t have celebrities in them, films that you might not get to see released…Canadian films, independent foreign films,” Polley said.

“The happiest moments I have at TIFF are when I’m lucky enough to get an industry pass and I just wander between theatres and see four or five films a day.”

Of the films announced at the festival’s opening press conference, here are a few more notables:

Pearl Jam Twenty: Created from more than 1,200 hours of footage spanning the band’s career, the film is the “definitive portrait” of Pearl Jam.

50/50: Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a young man dealing with cancer in this funny, touching dramedy. It also stars Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard and Anjelica Huston.

Drive: Ryan Gosling is a Los Angeles stunt driver by day and getaway driver by night. This loner falls in love with his neighbour (Carey Mulligan) while being tailgated by murderous criminals.

Friends With Kids: Kristen Wig, Megan Fox, Maya Rudolph and Jon Hamm star in this ensemble comedy. The last two single people in a circle of friends decide to have a kid together while dating other people.

Take Shelter: Curtis begins having dreams about an encroaching apocalyptic storm and builds a shelter in his backyard.

Melancholia: Lars von Trier’s beautiful movie about the end of the world, starring Kirsten Dunst, alexander Skarsgard and Kiefer Sutherland.

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