The US doesn't have a big A-list film festival on the east coast - so it has one in Canada instead. The Toronto International Film Festival attracts a clutch of American stars, producers and sales agents eager to promote their new releases. It also provides a serviceable selection of international and Canadian films. This year, the festival displayed its closeness to the US with a short film to mark the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The festival was in full swing in 2001 when the World Trade Centre's twin towers were destroyed. The well-judged work, which was touching and unsentimental, provided some comfort for New Yorkers away from home on the anniversary. A host of Hollywood stars made the trip to promote their new releases. George Clooney made the trip to promote two films: The Descendants, a family drama directed by Sideways' Alexander Payne, and The Ides of March, which had just premiered at the Venice Film Festival. Madonna, fresh from being derided in Venice for the royal story W.E., which she directed, also made the trip. She was also derided in Toronto. Glenn Close turned up to tout Albert Nobbs, a project about a cross-dresser that took her almost 30 years to get off the ground. Thankfully, critics seemed to like it. Indeed, critics were in a mellow mood this year, even praising Roland Emmerich's cheesy but entertaining Anonymous, a film that claimed Shakespeare's works weren't written by the bard himself. The Oranges, a comedy drama about a young girl's affair with an older man (played by House star Hugh Laurie) in New Jersey, fared less well. Films from Asia added art and innovation to the mix. Revolving around an ultra-protective, ultra-violent mother, Shinya Tsukamoto's Kotoko was another brutal and provocative offering from the Japanese director. By contrast, Hong Kong director Ann Hui On-wah's A Simple Life - about the relationship between a middle-class man and his ailing housemaid - was thoughtful and moving without melodrama. Reminiscent of films by the legendary King Hu, The Sword Identity brought a novelistic intensity to a historical story about a new kind of sword. Korean megastar Jeon Do-yeon added glamour when she strolled out for Countdown, a wild but entertaining Korean film about crime and revenge. Luc Besson's The Lady, a drama about Aung San Suu Kyi that starred Michelle Yeoh, also screened. The audience prize went to Where Do We Go Now?, a film about religious tension in Lebanon. But the best film of the festival was fittingly Canadian. Guy Maddin's Keyhole was an innovative pastiche of 1930s gangster movies and Jean Cocteau, linked vaguely to Homeric stories. It was a thoroughly unpretentious slice of art-house cinema. Maddin manages to get such films made with the aid of Canadian state funding - something that indie filmmakers south of the border would dearly love to benefit from back home.