Youth Activists and Diverse Voices Lead New TIFF Doc Additions

I Am Greta
Courtesy of TIFF


By Pat Mullen

More documentaries join the line-up for the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival. TIFF announced today the addition of two more doc-focused special events, as well as a doc-heavy panel that should be among the industry highlights. The feature documentary I Am Greta, directed by Nathan Grossman, brings a portrait of teenage Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg and her fight that inspired a global youth movement. The addition of I Am Greta brings the overall number of documentaries to 20, which represents nearly 40 percent of TIFF’s overall feature film line-up.

Youth activism takes centre stage in TIFF’s other newly announced selection The Water Walker. The short film spotlights Autumn Peltier and her mission to bring clean drinking water to Indigenous communities. The portrait of the Canadian activist adds to the presence of Indigenous voices at the festival as Peltier, who is Anishinaabe-kwe and a member of the Wiikwemkoong First Nation, joins writer/activist Naomi Klein in an extended conversation as part of the event. Peltier’s talk with Klein will be free for audiences.

On the industry side of TIFF, the festival brings several Black filmmakers together in a conversation to mark the 25th anniversary of the Planet Africa program. The filmmakers’ panel Planet Africa 25: Black Film Now will feature filmmakers directors Charles Officer (Akilla’s Escape), Dawn Porter (The Way I See It), Dieudo Hamadi (Downstream to Kinshasa), and Tommy Oliver (40 Years A Prisoner). The free panel will occur September 16.

Additionally, TIFF announced retrospectives for several past festival favourites. A restored digital version of Stanley Kubrick’s war classic Full Metal Jacket will get the drive-in treatment, while TIFF’s first-ever People’s Choice Award winner Girlfriends will be celebrated with a conversation featuring director Claudia Weill and star Melanie Mayron. Special events for Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird and Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream round out the Best of TIFF events, which will be simulcast on TIFF’s Twitter and YouTube channels.

TIFF runs September 10 to 19.