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London takes the stage at TIFF

Date posted: 03.09.2014

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) kicks off tomorrow, bringing 10 days of the best of international cinema to Canadian shores.

This year's line-up sees a strong contingent of period dramas, which see modern-day London cut a convincing double for the capital in a bygone age, as well as a selection of films which base themselves in today's bustling capital.

Film London was on hand to help these productions from early stages of pre production through to their shoots in the capital, providing advice, location suggestions and troubleshooting services.

Blasts from the past

Mike Leigh's much-anticipated Mr. Turner follows its barnstorming premiere in Cannes earlier this year with a screening in the festival's Special Presentation strand. Timothy Spall takes the lead as the titular grand artist, who travels the country looking for inspiration for his work. The production found its way to the capital, and utilised locations including Westminster's Lord North Street, which convincingly stood in for early 19th Century London.

The Imitation Game, due to open the 58th BFI London Film Festival next month, stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the famous Engima codebreaker Alan Turing. Shooting extensively in London, the crew made use of sites including King's Cross Station and The Law Society to reconstruct life in the capital during the World War II.

The Theory of Everything sees Eddie Redmayne play a young Stephen Hawking in yet another London-shot biopic. The film charts the scientist's university years, as he meets his future wife (Felicity Jones) while his physical health begins to decline. Audiences will recognise the Pall Mall and St. James' Park, among other London locations which feature in the film.

You can also see some of the capital's landmarks on the big screen in Matthew Warchus' Pride, which shot some of its key scenes on Westminster Bridge, as well as the Aylesbury Estate in Southwark. Set in the Thatcher era, the film follows the unlikely union between gay and lesbian activists and protesting miners in1984.

Finally, London doubles for Louis XIV-era Versailles as Alan Rickman returns to directing with A Little Chaos, the festival's Closing Gala. The second feature from the Acton-born actor/director, the film follows a female landscape gardener (Kate Winslet), who is given a unique insight into the royals' private lives when she is contracted to shape the palace's grand gardens. Many would assume it would be a hard task to match the beauty and decadence of the Chateau de Versailles, but Richmond's Ham House proved a good match.

The day today

Toronto audiences will also get a chance to catch modern-day London locations in a number of Festival titles.

Second Coming, directed by Film London alumni Debbie Tucker Green, will be screening in the Discovery strand. Starring Idris Elba and Nadine Marshall as a successful London couple who find their world turned upside down by an immaculate conception, the film includes a host of London locations including Tooting High Street.

Gerard Johnson's Hyena tells the story of an undercover policeman as he attempts to liberate a young Albanian woman from being sold into sexual slavery. This gritty thriller, set in the dark side of the capital's criminal underworld, was shot on London streets in the boroughs of Kensington & Chelsea and Ealing.

Lone Scherfig sends up the Bullingdon Club in The Riot Club, her screen adaptation of Laura Wade's play 'Posh'. The shoot used a number of London locations, including the perfect setting for a drinking session scene at Jamaica Wine House, our Location of the Month.

Life in central London proves too much for Simon Pegg in romantic comedy Hector and the Search for Happiness. Pegg plays a disaffected psychiatrist who leaves the city on a worldwide hunt for inner peace.

Finally, documentary fans can see the past and present collide in Frederick Wiseman's National Gallery, which takes an unprecedented look at one of the world's greatest art collections.  

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