TIFF Adds More Docs Including Malick and Rosi

Terence Malick’s Voyage of Time

By Pat Mullen

Good news for doc fans! Notable omissions from the previous announcement of docs for this year’s Toronto International Film Festival will be joining the party. Terence Malick’s long-awaited Voyage of Time: Life’s Journey, narrated by Cate Blanchett, joins the Special Presentations programme for its North American Premiere after dropping at the Venice Film Festival where it is the only documentary in competition for the Golden Lion. Meanwhile, Gianfranco Rosi, who previously won the Golden Lion for Sacro GRA, brings his winner of the Golden Bear at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, Fire at Sea, to TIFF for its Canadian Premiere. (So add more title to the list of anticipated Telluride flicks.) Fire at Sea reps documentary in the Masters side-bar along with Ulrich Seidl’s Safari, while a number of docs round out a surprisingly large slate of features in the experimental Wavelengths programme alongside a healthy bunch of unclassifiable shorts. This announcement brings the total number of feature documentaries to a whopping 42 titles, which must be a TIFF record. Today’s announcement also includes the Contemporary World Cinema line-up and City to City programme, which spotlights Nollywood cinema with a focus on Nigeria.

New docs playing at TIFF are:

Special Presentations:

Voyage of Time: Life’s Journey
Terrence Malick | Germany | North American Premiere
An exploration into our planetary past and a search for humanity’s place in the future. The universe unfolds before the audience’s eyes, melding innovative effects with awe-inspiring footage in this experience for the senses, mind, and soul. Working with scientific advisors and VFX artists, Terrence Malick shows an array of never-witnessed natural phenomena — macroscopic and microscopic — immersing audiences into a poetic journey full of open questions. Narrated by Cate Blanchett.


Fire at Sea (Fuocoammare)
Gianfranco Rosi | Italy/France | Canadian Premiere
Twelve-year-old Samuele lives on an island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. But Lampedusa is not an idyllic island setting. It is the first port of call for hundreds of thousands of African and Middle Eastern refugees hoping to make a new life in Europe. Glimpse into the daily lives of the island’s inhabitants as Samuele explores the land and attempts to master the sea.

Ulrich Seidl | Austria | North American Premiere
Documentary filmmaker Ulrich Seidl explores the world of trophy hunting in the wild expanses of Africa, where bushbucks, impalas, zebras, gnus and other creatures graze by the thousands. German and Austrian tourists drive through the bush and lie in wait, to stalk their prey. A vacation movie about killing and human nature.


Sergei Loznitsa | Germany | North American Premiere
The new film from Sergei Loznitsa (Maїdan, The Event) is a stark yet rich and complex portrait of tourists visiting the grounds of former Nazi extermination camps, and a sometimes sardonic study of the relationship (or the clash) between contemporary culture and the sanctity of the site.

General Report II. The New Abduction of Europe (Informe General II. El Nuevo Rapto de Europa)*
Pere Portabella | Spain | North American Premiere
Pere Portabella follows his masterful 1976 documentary General Report — an epic survey of the Spanish social and political landscape in the wake of Franco — with a sequel that examines contemporary Spain as a microcosm of the economic, political, social, and ecological crises currently affecting Europe.

Wang Bing | Hong Kong/France | North American Premiere
The urgent new documentary from acclaimed Chinese filmmaker Wang Bing (West of the Tracks, Three Sisters) takes us into the refugee camps on the Chinese border populated by those fleeing the ongoing civil war in Myanmar.

Free Installations and Special Screenings:

Ana Mendieta: Siluetas Ana Mendieta
International Premiere
Presented in partnership with CONTACT Gallery, this rare exhibition of film and photographic work by the late, Cuban-born multidisciplinary artist Ana Mendieta (1948-85), includes six restored films and two related suites of photographs that attest to the artist’s radical and influential practice and her inquiry into themes of the female body, violence, primal energy and displacement.

Sharon Lockhart | International Premiere
Presented in partnership with Gallery TPW, this major new film installation by American artist and filmmaker Sharon Lockhart is a deeply affecting and formally inventive collaborative work made with a group of adolescent girls living at the Youth Center for Socio-Therapy in Rudzienko, Poland.

Albert Serra | North American Premiere Commissioned for “Catalonia in Venice” at last year’s Venice Biennale by curator Chus Martínez, Albert Serra’s monumental five-screen film installation conjures a baroque, era-spanning epic about an exploitative, technology-dependent society where individual desires, everyday habits and general corruption work against the very idea of a “renaissance”. Presented at 99 Sudbury.

TIFF runs Sept. 8 – 18.
Please visit tiff.net for more information.