Detroit figures into at least three selections in the Toronto International Film Festival, which kicks off today.
The fall festival, currently in its 34th year, is a launching pad for Oscar contenders and important independent and art films -- a way for big-ticket films to build buzz and smaller projects to land deals with distributors.
With 312 films showing over the next week-and-a-half, creating separation from the pack is no easy feat. But here are a couple of films with local angles that are trying to do just that:
• "Detroit Metal City" is a live-action comedy, based on a popular Japanese graphic novel, about a mild-mannered musician who finds himself in full demon makeup fronting the notorious Detroit Metal City, known for vile lyrics and smashing hotel rooms. A midnight premiere late Friday night will be followed by screenings Saturday and Sept. 11.
• In "Flash of Genius," Greg Kinnear plays real-life Richard Kearns, the Wayne State University and University of Detroit grad who successfully sued Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler for $30 million over allegations that they stole his idea for the intermittent windshield wiper. Alan Alda, Lauren Graham and Dermot Mulroney costar. It shows Sunday, Tuesday and Sept. 11 before a national release in October.
• Former Detroiter Jack White is generating festival buzz over "It Might Get Loud," a documentary that pairs the White Stripes front man, Jimmy Page and U2's the Edge in an examination of how to play the electric guitar. The highlight of the film, directed by Davis Guggenheim ("An Inconvenient Truth"), comes when the trio gets together for a jam session and combines their many influences. All are expected to attend the Friday night premiere, though the film also screens Sunday and closing night, Sept. 13.
The fest's complex ticket system is harder to decipher than the tax code, but you may still be able to attend. 416-968-3456 or 877-968-3456. http://www.tiff08.ca/.
Doc uses humor, dignity to discuss death: The makers of "Except for Six" want nothing less than to change the way that people think about death and end-of-life care. The documentary, screening at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Emagine Novi and produced in conjunction with Hospice of Michigan, uses emotion and humor to humanize the dying process and hospice's role in it. The title refers both to the six months that patients typically require hospice care and the importance of the six people enlisted to carry you to your final resting place. After premieres here and in Grand Rapids, the film will be shown on PBS affiliates in Michigan. 44425 W. Twelve Mile Road, Novi. 888-466-5656. Tickets $50, with business attire recommended.
Classics return to Northville Marquis: Friday's screening of the 1974 Agatha Christie thriller "Murder on the Orient Express" ushers in a monthlong classic film series at the historic Marquis Theatre in downtown Northville. The event marks the 30th anniversary of the 1925 theater's renovation. All tickets are $5 (including a box of popcorn) for the 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday screenings, all projected on digital video. On the bill: Saturday: "Operation Petticoat." Sept. 12: "The Natural." Sept. 13: "The Great Gatsby." Sept. 19: "Gaslight." Sept. 20: "Funny Girl." Sept. 26: "The Sundowners." Sept. 27: "Out of Africa." 135 E. Main Street, Northville. 248-349-7640. http://www.northville.org/
Magic seeks movie reviewer: Auditions for a hometown movie reviewer at Jim Harper's Morning Magic Show (WMGC-FM, 105.1) continue Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Art & Apples Festival at Municipal Park in downtown Rochester. The position is unpaid, but the winner will get to attend advance screenings of films and broadcast their reviews on the show each week from January to June. Applicants (21 and over) also can send a recording to the station. Complete details at http://www.detroitmagic.com/.