TIFF Announces More Docs, Plus VR and Guests
By Pat Mullen
There are even more docs coming to this year’s Toronto International Film Festival! Today’s final wave of programming announcements includes an additional three docs, which brings the total number of feature documentaries to nearly 50. The release also includes the new POP VR programming stream to give audiences a test drive in the latest trend in film and media. The total number of films screening at TIFF this year comes to a staggering 397 titles.
Also on today’s radar is the list of filmmakers and guests expected to attend. On the doc front, expect to see the following names on the red carpet, behind the velvet ropes, and hopefully doing some Q&As: Jonathan Demme, Justin Timberlake, Werner Herzog, Gianfranco Rosi, Jim Jarmusch, Iggy Pop, Alanis Obomsawin, Raoul Peck, and Errol Morris.
Gringo: The Dangerous Life of John McAfee
Nanette Burstein | USA | World Premiere
Oscar-nominated filmmaker Nanette Burstein (On the Ropes, The Kid Stays in the Picture) delves into the strange story of John McAfee, who went from millionaire software mogul to yogi, Kurtz-like jungle recluse to potential murderer, and most recently a prospective presidential candidate for the American Libertarian Party.
Off Frame AKA Revolution Until Victory
Mohanad Yaqubi | Palestine/France/Qatar | World Premiere
(Kharej Al-Itar aw Thawra Hata el Nasser)
Showcasing an unprecedented depth of research and access, Off Frame AKA Revolution Until Victory is a unique historical portrait of the Palestinian people’s struggle to produce their own image. Using material long hidden in archives across the globe, the film reaches back through the modern history of Palestine and reverses decades of colonial dominance with a mosaic of struggle from the perspective of the colonized.
The Terry Kath Experience
Michelle Sinclair | USA | World Premiere
One of the original members of the band Chicago, Terry Kath has been praised by icons like Jimi Hendrix and Joe Walsh for his voice and guitar playing. Michelle Sinclair, first-time filmmaker and Terry’s daughter, searches for the truth surrounding the life and untimely death of her father, in this look at one of the most underrated guitarists in rock history.
Ch’aak’ S’aagi (Eagle Bone)
Tracy Rector | USA | International Premiere
Unapologetically Indigenous in nature and theme, Ch’aak’ S’aagi (Eagle Bone) represents a collective step in a new direction for visual storytelling. Through freestyle spoken word and lush Pacific Northwest scenery, this raw, point-of-view documentary experience brings the viewer into a VR journey of remembrance and reflection on the lessons of the old ones — teachings that remind us we are all individual vessels of spirit and change, yet inextricably connected.
Maureen Fan, Eric Darnell, Michael Hutchinson | USA | Canadian Premiere
Directed by Eric Darnell (Madagascar, Antz), Invasion! is an interactive animation in which Earth is overrun by malevolent aliens hellbent on destroying anything that stands in their way. Despite the aliens’ superior technology and firepower, two brave citizens of Earth rise up to defend our planet. But these Earthlings aren’t human. Rather, they are two of Earth’s meekest creatures — two adorable little white bunnies — and you are one of them! This exciting VR adventure is narrated by Ethan Hawke.
Michael Beets | Australia | North American Premiere
Every Friday afternoon, an African Australian man can be found in the middle of Melbourne’s busiest intersection, standing silently yet challenging the beliefs of passersby. Jafri is a VR documentary that explores the man behind the signs as he guides us through his daily life and the intimate moments that have shaped his views on society and himself. This is not an activist piece, but rather an opportunity to observe a man who, like all of all us, is trying to find his place in our world.
KÀ The Battle Within
Félix Lajeunesse, Paul Raphaël, François Blouin | Canada | World Premiere
Enter the world of KÀ The Battle Within, a gravity-defying VR saga of heroism and martial arts. Two rival clans from an ancient and mythical world confront one another in a furious clash of vertiginous acrobatics and breathtaking combat. The very fabric of reality is transcended, as the physical world is broken into horizontal and vertical choreographies. KÀ The Battle Within pushes the narrative and experiential boundaries of the universe of KÀ, the colossal theatrical production by Cirque du Soleil, to epic new heights.
Right to Pray
Khushboo Ranka | India | World Premiere
In the western Indian city of Trimbak, home of the ancient Hindu temple of Trimbakeshwar, a group of female activists fight against the regressive institutional forces of patriarchy and tradition that bar their entry into the shrine’s sanctum sanctorum and deny them the right to pray. This film documents one of many struggles as the women demand equality in the face of a 450-year-old tradition.
TIFF runs Sept. 8-18.
Please visit tiff.net for more information.