TIFF Adds New Docs by Heineman, Porter, Lee

The Boy from Medellín is among the new docs added to the TIFF line-up

By Pat Mullen

New documentaries by Matthew Heineman, Dawn Porter, and Stacey Lee join this year’s TIFF line-up. The Toronto International Film Festival announced the final selections for the fall event. The films include Heineman’s The Boy from Medellín about Colombian reggaeton singer J Balvin; Stacey Lee’s portrait of the electronic dance music (EDM) scene Unerplayed; and Porter’s look at photographer Pete Souza, The Way I See It. Other docs added to the line-up include Sundance sensation The Truffle Hunters, Tommy Oliver’s wrongful conviction doc 40 Years a Prisoner, and Dieudo Hamadi’s legal saga Downstream to Kinshasa.

The newly added films will not screen as part of the TIFF Docs program, but rather as Special Events and selections in a 25th anniversary celebration of Planet Africa, the Festival’s popular programming stream that spotlighted African cinema. Many of the newly added docs feature performances and conversations, including a live-streamed talk with J Balvin in conjunction with the screening of The Boy from Medellín and a performance by Canadian DJ/producer REZZ, one of the subjects of Underplayed. TIFF’s screening of The Truffle Hunters, about the search for the elusive white truffle, features an optional custom menu from Oliver & Bonacini, which allows truffle lovers to indulge with dinner and a show.

Today’s announcements also include the selections for TIFF’s Short Cuts, which include a number of non-fiction works. New films by Igor Drljača, Sofia Bohdanowicz, Sophy Romvari, and Tiffany Hsiung are among the selections. The Planet Africa 25 selections also include Charles Officer’s new drama Akilla’s Escape on the Canadian front. TIFF also announced a star-studded line-up of conversations with filmmakers and actors, including 13th director Ava DuVernay.

TIFF’s unveiling of the final selections and schedule brings a few notable changes in the downscaled festival. The festival announced three awards for this year’s event: the People’s Choice Award; the IMDb Pro Awards honouring three Short Cuts selections with the prizes for the best short film, best Canadian film, and the Share Her Journey Award (best film by a female director); and the Amplify Voices Award for diversity in Canadian filmmaking, which honours three self-identified BIPOC filmmakers among the official selections. The previously announced Isabel Bader theatre at the University of Toronto will no longer serve as an official venue, but additional screenings will occur at TIFF Bell Lightbox.

The complete line-up of films and schedule for TIFF 2020 is now online.