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The films forming the nucleus of the early awards season narrative are coming to the fore thanks to the 41st Toronto International Film Festival: "La La Land," "Arrival," "Moonlight," "Jackie" and others are making their cases, with the final verdict coming with the Academy Awards next February. Here are early looks, exclusive interviews, videos and photo shoots from our film team.

Q&A: 'Best in Show's' Christopher Guest on 'Mascots,' shoelaces and why he hates the word 'mockumentary'

Filmmaker Christopher Guest's "Mascots" has its world premiere as part of the Toronto International Film Festival. (Christina House / For The Times)
Filmmaker Christopher Guest's "Mascots" has its world premiere as part of the Toronto International Film Festival. (Christina House / For The Times)

No one makes movies quite like Christopher Guest. His deadpan explorations of unusual cultural corners take the form of documentaries and feature improvised dialogue to give them a hybrid, high-wire energy. From his work in “This Is Spinal Tap,” directed by Rob Reiner, to the films Guest has made on his own, including “Waiting for Guffman” and “A Mighty Wind,” he has crafted an ongoing, warmhearted celebration of human enthusiasms and failures.

His new film “Mascots,” his first since 2006’s look at ego and awards season with “For Your Consideration,” has its world premiere Saturday as part of the Toronto International Film Festival. Co-written by Guest and Jim Piddock, the new film, as the name implies, is a look at the world of sports mascots centered around a worldwide competition.

The film’s examinations of the characters’ lives out of costume have Guest’s signature mix of sweetness and melancholy, while the actual competition performances are inventively hilarious. The cast features many returning performers from Guest’s earlier films, including Parker Posey, Fred Willard, John Michael Higgins, Jane Lynch, Jennifer Coolidge, Ed Begley Jr. and Bob Balaban. Chris O’Dowd, Sarah Baker, Zach Woods and Susan Yeagley all make spirited contributions as relative newcomers to the fold. “Mascots” will be in theaters and on Netflix beginning on Oct. 13.

Guest recently took some time to sit down in Santa Monica for a conversation just ahead of the film’s premiere in Toronto to talk about filmmaking, what draws him to his subjects and, surprisingly, shoelaces. (Just don’t use the term “mockumentary.”)

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