The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) opened on Thursday with the premiere of Jake Gyllenhaal-starrer Demolition, the story of a banker whose life changes after the death of his wife. The line-up at TIFF 2015 has an impressive list of films which includes topical movies on transgender youth and gay rights among the usual Oscar hopefuls.
Now in its 40th year, the 10-day festival has become a key launching pad for Hollywood's award season, with films like 12 Years a Slave, The King's Speech and Slumdog Millionaire all gaining critical momentum at the event before going on to win the Academy Award for best picture.The festival started with the world premiere of Demolition, starring Gyllenhaal and Naomi Watts.
Directed by Canadian Jean-Marc Vallee, it tells the story of an investment banker whose life unravels following the death of his wife. An unlikely connection with a vending machine company employee, played by Watts, helps him rebuild.
Vallee previously won praise for Dallas Buyers Club and Wild. Gyllenhaal said, to give the movie a realistic feel, the director allowed him to tear apart a house during one of his character's key scenes.
Read: Meghna Gulzar's Talvar to be screened at Toronto Film Fest
"It's what happened to the United States by not listening to Dwight Eisenhower, by not listening to his warning," Moore said.
The festival, which runs from September 10 to 20, will go on to screen nearly 300 feature films from more than 70 countries.
Notable themes this year include the political and legal battles fought for gay rights, the subject of two movies in the festival's high-profile gala programme.
Roland Emmerich, best known for Hollywood blockbusters like The Day After Tomorrow, directs Stonewall, a drama about the 1969 New York riots which became a landmark event in North America's gay rights movement.
Read: A flavour of India as Toronto film festival celebrates 40 years
Freeheld stars Ellen Page and Julianne Moore, fresh off winning an Oscar for last year's Still Alice, in the true story Laurel Hester. Dying of cancer, the New Jersey police officer fought a legal battle to pass her pension benefits on to her same-sex partner.
The festival will also screen the world premiere of About Ray, which stars Elle Fanning as a teenager whose decision to transition from female to male triggers family turmoil.