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Lucy Walker, Anand Patwardhan Among TIFF Industry’s Doc Day Highlights

DOC to unveil latest edition of Getting Real report

9 mins read

Lucy Walker and Anand Patwardhan are among the filmmakers leading the Doc Day programming during the Toronto International Film Festival’s Industry Conference. The filmmakers will both appear in the Visionaries talks to discuss their remarkable careers. and latest docs Both Walker and Patwardhan have new films premiering in the TIFF Docs programme with Mountain Queen: The Summits of Lhakpa Sherpa and The World Is Family, respectively. Walker’s film charts the journey of a fearless mountain climber, while Patwardhan’s doc is a personal study of family and India’s caste system.

In the Perspectives stream, TIFF’s Doc Day includes the unveiling of the latest edition of the Documentary Organization of Canada’s “Getting Real” report. The study surveys the ever-changing landscape for documentary production in Canada and will reveal information about the state of funding for feature docs, among other topics. Another look at the documentary marketplace comes in a panel discussion in the Dialogues series. The conversation will ask about the place for creative docs in a market that increasing favours formula among the commercial players. Programmed by Thom Powers, TIFF’s Doc Day will close out the Industry Conference on September 12.

Additional names coming to the Industry Conference include Academy Award winner Spike Lee, who also will also receive the TIFF Ebert Director Award at this year’s TIFF Tribute Awards in recognition of his prolific career in documentary and drama. Lee opened the 2020 edition of TIFF with the concert doc David Byrne’s American Utopia. Also joining the conference for extended conversations are Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water) and Oscar nominees Ladj Ly (Les misérables) and Nadine Labaki (Capernaum). The conference will also tackle topics such as A.I., series production, and the state of the marketplaces in the Korean diaspora and Africa.


The full list of TIFF Industry programming is as follows:


Inspirational onstage conversations with individuals who are forging creative and business pathways in the industry. The Media Partner for the programme is The Hollywood Reporter. Speakers include:

  • Spike Lee — An in-depth conversation discussing the process of forging a distinct filmic language throughout his expansive, multi-decade career.
  • Ladj Ly — A discussion on his bold approach and unwavering commitment to telling stories that explore deeply personal portraits about communities revolting against broken systems.
  • Guillermo del Toro — A conversation about the liberating potential of fantastical worlds; the magic that exists within the details; and his wide-spanning career crafting intricate and cinematic love letters. Made possible with the support of the Directors Guild of Canada.
  • See-Saw Films — A celebratory talk on the company’s remarkable 15 years of delivering critically acclaimed stories to global audiences, including The King’s Speech, Lion, The Power of the Dog, and many more.
  • Nadine Labaki — With more than a decade’s worth of accolades under her belt, director, writer, and actor Nadine Labaki will discuss her highly meticulous creative process, her devout interest in life’s peculiarities, and the capacity for cinema to bring about social change.
  • Lucy Walker — A discussion on Doc Day, focusing on Walker’s incredible career, including her long friendship with Doc Society co-founder Jess Search, who died this summer. Programmed by Thom Powers.
  • Anand Patwardhan — A talk on Doc Day with Patwardhan, a singular figure of independent documentary in India who has given inspiration to a flourishing of new directors today. Programmed by Thom Powers.

Conversations on the art and craft of storytelling, featuring screen-based creators (directors, producers, and series creators) and industry professionals.The Media Partner for Dialogues is Variety, and the programme is supported by Ontario Creates. Dialogues sessions include:

  • The Dead Don’t Hurt with Viggo Mortenson, Regina Solórzano, and Jeremy Thomas. Supported by Directors Guild of Canada Ontario.
  • Feature Film Development with Sara Rastogi (Hoorae Media) and Kate Oh (Monkeypaw Productions).
  • Directors Nora El Hourch (Sisterhood) and Katja Gauriloff (Je’vida). Programmed by Jason Ryle.
  • Directors Cord Jefferson (American Fiction) and Lulu Wang (Expats).
  • Producers Toufik Ayadi and Christophe Barral (Les Indésirables) and Farhana Bhula (How to Have Sex). 
  • Short Cuts to First Features with Fawzia Mirza and Andria Wilson Mirza (The Queen of My Dreams), Zarrar Kahn and Anam Abbas (In Flames). Programmed by Jason Anderson.
  • What is the Documentary Marketplace Today? (Doc Day) A panel of industry figures analyze where opportunities still exist for creative documentaries. Programmed by Thom Powers.


Moderated and focused discussions on the current state and future of the industry. The Media Partner for Perspectives is Screen International. Perspective sessions include:

  • AI and Film: Bridging the Gap Between Innovation and Responsibility — Leading experts on AI discuss the technology’s long-term sustainability in the industry as it relates to data, ethics, and filmmaking. Programmed by Manal Siddiqui.
  • The Current Landscape of International Series Production — Yi Qiao, Director Drama, ZDF; Navi Lamba, Head of Development, BBC Comedy; Jamie Lynn, EVP Co-Production & Distribution, Fremantle; and Joe Lewis, CEO, Amplify Pictures.
  • Celebrating the Cinema of the Korean Diaspora — Guests include: outstanding filmmakers Anthony Shim (dir. Riceboy Sleeps), Albert Shin (dir. Disappearance at Clifton Hill, In Her Place), and Christina Oh (prod. Minari, Okja). Presented by The Korean Film Council.
  • On African Cinemas and its Industries — Apolline Traoré (dir. Sira), Chioma Onyenwe (prod. I Do Not Come To You By Chance), Tshepiso Chikapa-Phiri (prod. Death of a Whistleblower), and Mehret Mandefro, Director of Development & Partnerships, Realness. Programmed by Nataleah Hunter-Young, International Programmer (Africa & Arab West Asia).
  • Seize Control of Your Distribution (Doc Day) — Peter Broderick, who has spent decades helping independent filmmakers design and implement cutting-edge distribution strategies, returns with a new manifesto, along with case studies of documentary projects that made far-reaching impact and profits using strategies to build sustainable careers. Programmed by Thom Powers.
  • DOC’s “Getting Real” Report (Doc Day) — The Documentary Organization of Canada will share their findings for the first time and explain why this latest edition of their “Getting Real” reports could be a game-changer for documentary filmmakers. Programmed by Thom Powers.



The new Sloan Science and Technology Project Pitch provides selected creators the opportunity to participate in a non-competitive pitch to further develop their science and technology-related film project. Participants will deliver a 15-minute presentation in front of a live audience of industry experts and decision makers. Participants for the Sloan Science and Technology Project Pitch will be announced soon.


Pat Mullen is the publisher of POV Magazine. He holds a Master’s in Film Studies from Carleton University where his research focused on adaptation and Canadian cinema. Pat has also contributed to outlets including The Canadian Encyclopedia, Paste, That Shelf, Sharp, Xtra, and Complex. He is the vice president of the Toronto Film Critics Association and an international voter for the Golden Globe Awards.

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