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Toronto eyes the Netherlands

No fewer than ten Dutch productions and co-productions have been selected for the upcoming edtion of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

Layla M.*, by director Mijke de Jong, will have its world premiere in TIFF's prestigious Platform competition section. The film, produced by Topkapi Films, is about Layla (18), a Dutch girl with Moroccan roots, who joins a group of radical Muslims. She encounters a world that nurtures her ideas initially, but finally confronts her with an impossible choice. Sales are handled by Beta Cinema. It's not the first time Mijke de Jong is selected for Toronto. Her previous films Frailer (2014), Katia's Sister (2008), Stages (2007) and Bluebird (2004) were also presented at the Canadian festival.

Martin Koolhoven's Brimstone* is part of Toronto's Special Presentations. The thriller, produced by N279 Entertainment (NL) and X-Filme (DE) (sales: Embankment Films), will first celebrate its world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival, where it will be in the running for a Golden Lion in Main Competition. Brimstone is a suspenseful tale of guilt and retribution that unfolds at the end of the 19th Century in the American West. An epic thriller told in four chapters about a young women and her family whose lives change drastically when a diabolical preacher comes to town.
Koolhoven's earlier film Winter in Wartime (2008) was selected for the TIFF Kids International Film Festival (Sprockets) and was shortlisted for the Best Foreign Language Oscar.

Bezness as Usual*, directed by Alex Pitstra and produced by Selfmade Films, will be presented in TIFF Docs. The story revolves around the filmmaker and his decade long quest not only to overcome the intercultural misunderstandings and failed expectations between him and his long absent Tunisian father, but also to repair the relationship with his Dutch mother. The documentary premiered earlier this month at Locarno in the Critic's Week section.

The world premiere of Nicole van Kilsdonk's The Day My Father Became a Bush*, produced by Lemming Film (sales: Beta Cinema), takes place in TIFF KIDS section. The youth film is about young girl Toda who must undertake a long journey on foot after war breaks out in her country.

Import* by Ena Sendijarevic (produced by Pupkin Film) is selected for the Short Cuts competition. The short, which was selected for Cannes' Directors' Fortnight, tells the story of a young Bosnian refugee family who, after obtaining a residence permit in 1994, arrive in a small village in the Netherlands. Absurd situations arise as the family members try to make this new world their home.

Furthermore five minority Dutch co-productions have also been selected for Toronto. Thomas Vinterberg's The Commune* (NL co-producer: Topkapi Films) will get a Special Presentation. Blessed Benefit* by Mahmoud Al Massad (NL co-producer: New Amsterdam) is included in Discovery. White Sun* by Deepak Rauniyar (NL co-producer: The Film Kitchen) is selected for Contemporary World Cinema while both By the Time It Gets Dark, by Thai director Anocha Suwichakornpong, and Ayhan and Me, directed and produced by the Amsterdam-based Turkish artist belit sag, are presented in Wavelengths.

*films have been supported by the Netherlands Film Fund.

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) takes place September 8-18: http://tiff.net/tiff/