Kopple, Berliner, Guzmán, Stevens, and Orner Headline 2019 TIFF Docs Line-up

Barbara Kopple’s Desert One is one of the major world premieres in the impressive 2019 TIFF Docs line-up
Photo courtesy of TIFF


By Pat Mullen

The Toronto International Film Festival dropped the line-up for the 2019 TIFF Docs programme today. As usual, programmer Thom Powers looks to have come out swinging. TIFF Docs boasts a formidable line-up of international directors, many of whom are bringing world premieres to the festival. Two-time Oscar winner Barbara Kopple returns to TIFF with the world premiere of Desert One, a gripping new film about a covert mission to rescue hostages captured during the Iranian revolution. Kopple was last at Hot Docs with her hit music doc Miss Sharon Jones!.

TIFF Docs will open with the world premiere of Last Men in Aleppo director Feras Fayyad’s The Cave, which sees the director return to Syria and turn his lens to an underground network of female doctors saving lives while battling systemic oppression. Oscar winner Alex Gibney will present his latest, Citizen K, about the rise and fall of Putin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky, while Eva Orner, who won an Oscar for producing Gibeny’s Taxi to the Dark Side, follows up her powerful 2016 doc Chasing Asylum with Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator about the tumultuous career of hot-yoga evangelist Bikram Choudhury.

Doc master Patricio Guzmán brings the North American premiere of his Cannes L’OEil d’or winner The Cordillera of Dreams to TIFF, while new films by Alan Berliner, Lauren Greenfield, Gabe Polsky, and Fisher Stevens, also headline the fest. The TIFF Docs line-up finds additional star power in Bryce Dallas Howard, who makes her doc debut with Dads, an exploration of fatherhood that includes her Oscar-winning papa Ron Howard. The arts world is also well represented in the 3D dance doc Cunningham, a portrait of Merce Cunningham by Alla Kovgan, and in Mark Cousins’ 14-hour opus Women Make Movies, which previewed a mere four-hour cut at last year’s festival.

These films join previously announced Canadian selections in the TIFF Docs programme This is Not a Movie by Yung Chang_, Coppers by Alan Zweig, and There is Something in the Water by Ellen Page and Ian Daniel.

The newly announced TIFF Docs films are:

And We Go Green – Fisher Stevens, Malcolm Venville | USA
World Premiere

The Australian Dream – Daniel Gordon | Australia/United Kingdom
International Premiere

Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator – Eva Orner | USA
World Premiere

The Capote Tapes – Ebs Burnough | United Kingdom
World Premiere

*TIFF Docs Opening Film *
The Cave – Feras Fayyad | Syria/Denmark/Germany/USA/Qatar
World Premiere

Citizen K – Alex Gibney | USA/United Kingdom
North American Premiere

Collective (Colectiv) – Alexander Nanau | Romania/Luxembourg
North American Premiere

The Cordillera of Dreams (La Cordillera de los Sueños) – Patricio Guzmán | France/Chile
North American Premiere

Dads – Bryce Dallas Howard | USA
World Premiere

Desert One – Barbara Kopple | USA
World Premiere

I Am Not Alone – Garin Hovannisian | Armenia/USA
World Premiere

Ibrahim: A Fate to Define – Lina Al Abed | Lebanon/Palestine/Denmark/Qatar/Slovenia
North American Premiere

The Kingmaker – Lauren Greenfield | USA/Denmark
Canadian Premiere

Letter to the Editor – Alan Berliner | USA
World Premiere

Love Child – Eva Mulvad | Denmark
World Premiere

My English Cousin – Karim Sayad | Switzerland/Qatar
World Premiere

Paris Stalingrad – Hind Meddeb | France
International Premiere

Ready for War – Andrew Renzi | USA
World Premiere

Red Penguins – Gabe Polsky | USA/Russia
World Premiere

Sing Me A Song – Thomas Balmès | France/Germany/Switzerland
World Premiere

Women Make Film: A New Road Movie Through Cinema – Mark Cousins | United Kingdom
World Premiere

TIFF runs Sept. 5 to 15.