The Toronto International Film Festival will open on September 9 with the world premiere of the hit Canadian musical film Score: A Hockey Musical.
The 35th edition of the world's premier film festival runs September 9-19 at its new venue of TIFF Bell Lightbox.
TIFF organisers said Wednesday Score: A Hockey Musical, directed by Michael McGowan, will kick off the film festival with its opening night gala at Roy Thomson Hall.
Since the choice of the British film Creation on the life of Charles Darwin to open last year's festival had ruffled many feathers here, the organisers have chosen such an opener this year which captures the quintessential Canadian identity through the country's favourite pastime of ice hockey.
"In advance of making this announcement, I was on Twitter and Facebook, asking people: 'Should we open with a Canadian film or not?' And the response that I got was overwhelmingly: 'Yes, Canadian'," said TIFF co-director Cameron Bailey."But then one or two dissenters said, 'It should be just whatever film you think is the best for opening'," he added.
He said: "I can't think of a better way to kick off our 35th festival than with Score: A Hockey Musical. It continues our tradition of launching the very best in Canadian filmmaking, although in 35 years this is our first musical romance about hockey. Plan for a fun night on September 9."
The film tells the story of 17-year-old Farley who lives the Canadian hockey kids' dream of going from obscurity to fame overnight. He is signed to a hockey league, where he achieves instant stardom, throwing him into a world of hype.
The film stars Canadian musical icon Olivia Newton-John, singer/songwriter Marc Jordan, newcomers Noah Reid and Allie MacDonald, and many Canadian music, broadcast and hockey stars.
For the first time, two Bollywood films - Yash Raj Films' Dil Bole Hadippa and Ashutosh Gowariker's What's Your Rashee? - had their world premiere at the film festival last year.
More than two Bollywood films are expected to be among the more than 300 films from around the world to be screened at this year's festival.