TIFF Announces International Docs for 2017 Festival

Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami
Courtesy of TIFF

By Pat Mullen

The TIFF Docs line-up is out! The Toronto International Film Festival unveils its line-up of international documentaries today with a star studded mix of topic issues, profiles, and big name directors.

This year, TIFF Docs opens with Sophie Fiennes’ Grace Jones: Bloodlight & Bami about the iconic singer, model, and Bond girl Grace Jones. The TIFF Docs closing film is Emmanuel Gras’ Makala, which won the Grand Jury prize at Cannes’ Critics Week and portrays the heroic struggles of a subsistence labourer in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The official selection of opening and closing night films in programming streams outside of the Galas is new this year.

“Resistance is a key theme in this year’s documentaries,” said TIFF Docs Programmer Thom Powers in a statement from the festival. “We pay witness to rebels challenging the status quo in art, politics, sexuality, religion, fashion, sports and entertainment. They speak powerfully to our times as audiences seek inspirations for battling powerful and corrupt systems.”

Other notable entries include Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!, a follow up to his hugely successful Super Size Me. Detropia pair Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing return with One of Us while the prolific Fred Wiseman unveils his latest three-hour opus
Ex Libris – The New York Public Library. Brett Morgen of Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck offers the Jane Goddall profile Jane and Sara Driver premieres BOOM FOR REAL The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Lili Fini Zanuck and Sam Pollard drop the world premieres of their films about Eric Clapton and Sammy Davis, respectively.

Two Canadian co-productions appear on the list with Chris Smith’s JIM & ANDY: the Great Beyond – the story of Jim Carrey & Andy Kaufman featuring a very special, contractually obligated mention of Tony Clifton and Anjali Nayar and Hawa Essuman’s Silas making early splashes of Canadian content. The list of Canadian docs drops August 9th. TIFF previously announced the Tragically Hip doc Long Time Running in last week’s wave of Gala and Special Presentations titles.

The newly announced TIFF Docs titles are:

Azmaish: A Journey through the Subcontinent
Sabiha Sumar, Pakistan | North American Premiere

BOOM FOR REAL The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat
Sara Driver, USA | World Premiere

The China Hustle
Jed Rothstein, USA | World Premiere

Cocaine Prison
Violeta Ayala, Australia/Bolivia/France/USA | World Premiere

Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars
Lili Fini Zanuck, United Kingdom | World Premiere

Ex Libris – The New York Public Library
Frederick Wiseman, USA | North American Premiere

The Final Year
Greg Barker, USA | World Premiere

The Gospel According to André
Kate Novack, USA | World Premiere

Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami
Sophie Fiennes, United Kingdom/Ireland | World Premiere

JIM & ANDY: the Great Beyond – the story of Jim Carrey & Andy Kaufman featuring a very special, contractually obligated mention of Tony Clifton
Chris Smith, USA/Canada | North American Premiere

Brett Morgen, USA | World Premiere

The Judge
Erika Cohn, Palestine/USA | World Premiere

The Legend of the Ugly King
Hüseyin Tabak, Germany/Austria | World Premiere

Lots of Kids, a Monkey and a Castle
Gustavo Salmerón, Spain | North American Premiere

Love Means Zero
Jason Kohn, USA | World Premiere

Emmanuel Gras, France | North American Premiere

Karim Sayad, Switzerland/Qatar | World Premiere

One of Us
Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady, USA | World Premiere

The Other Side of Everything
Mila Turajlić, Serbia/France/Qatar | World Premiere

Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me
Sam Pollard, USA | World Premiere

Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood
Matt Tyrnauer, USA | World Premiere

Anjali Nayar and Hawa Essuman, Canada/South Africa/Kenya | World Premiere

Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!
Morgan Spurlock, USA | World Premiere

International documentaries screenings as part of the short cuts programme are:

Drop by Drop (Água Mole)
Xá, Laura Gonçalves, Portugal | North American Premiere

Everlasting MOM (Ima Lanetzah)
Elinor Nechemya, Israel | International Premiere

Mon amour mon ami
Adriano Valerio, Italy/France | International Premiere

Roadside Attraction
Patrick Bresnan, Ivete Lucas, USA | World Premiere

Waiting for Hassana
Ifunanya Maduka, Nigeria | Canadian Premiere

This year’s Toronto International Film Festival runs Sept. 7 – 17.