Attica by Stanley Nelson | Courtesy of TIFF

TIFF Docs Line-Up to Open with Stanley Nelson’s ‘Attica’

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5 mins read

This year’s TIFF Docs line-up brings some of the biggest names in documentary to the Toronto International Film Festival. TIFF unveiled the line-up for the 2021 TIFF Docs program and announced that this year’s slate will open with Stanley Nelson’s Attica. The film is a portrait of the largest prison uprising in U.S. history. Attica’s opening night slot makes 2021 a big year for Nelson on the Toronto festival circuit as he was the recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award from Hot Docs this spring.

Other heavy hitters coming to TIFF include Flee, Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s excellent animated documentary about a young Afghan man’s escape from the Mujahedeen and subsequent life in hiding in Russia when he feels he must conceal his sexuality from his conservative family. Also coming to Toronto are Free Solo Oscar winners E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin with The Rescue, a daring portrait of the rescue mission to save the Thai soccer team that was trapped in a cave for 16 days. Free Solo won the People’s Choice Award for Documentary ahead of its award season run. Academy Award winner Eva Orner (Taxi to the Dark Side) brings her latest doc as a director to TIFF with Burning, which examines the wildfires that devastated Australia. Orner was previously at TIFF 2019 with Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator.

The prolific Liz Garbus returns to Toronto with Becoming Cousteau, a portrait of French explorer and filmmaker Jacques Cousteau. Garbus previously appeared at TIFF with 2012’s Love, Marilyn, which screened among the Gala presentations. Two music docs join the festival line-up with Penny Lane’s Listening to Kenny G and Barry Avrich’s Oscar Peterson: Black + White. Both films are world premieres and join the previously announced docs on Alanis Morissette and Dionne Warwick for a very musical festival.

“We’re so proud to present the films selected for the popular programmes TIFF Docs, Wavelengths and Midnight Madness,” said Joana Vicente, Executive Director and Co-Head, in a statement from TIFF. “Always provocative, exhilarating and engaging, this year’s offerings are guaranteed to thrill Festival audiences.”

TIFF also announced the annual Wavelengths programme, which includes this year’s Cannes l’Œil d’Or winner A Night of Knowing Nothing.

The TIFF Docs and Wavelengths selections are as follows:

TIFF Docs

Attica
Stanley Nelson | USA
World Premiere

Beba
Rebeca Huntt | USA/Mexico
World Premiere

Becoming Cousteau
Liz Garbus | USA
International Premiere

Burning
Eva Orner | Australia
World Premiere

Comala
Gian Cassini | Mexico
World Premiere

The Devil’s Drivers
Mohammed Abugeth, Daniel Carsenty | Qatar/France/Lebanon/Germany
World Premiere

Flee
Jonas Poher Rasmussen | Denmark/France/Sweden/Norway
Canadian Premiere

Hold Your Fire
Stefan Forbes | USA
World Premiere

Listening to Kenny G
Penny Lane | USA
World Premiere

Oscar Peterson: Black + White
Barry Avrich | Canada
World Premiere

The Rescue
E. Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin | USA/United Kingdom
International Premiere

Three Minutes – A Lengthening
Bianca Stigter | Netherlands/United Kingdom
Canadian Premiere

Wochiigii lo: End of the Peace
Heather Hatch | Canada
World Premiere

Wavelengths – Features

Futura
Pietro Marcello, Francesco Munzi, Alice Rohrwacher | Italy
North American Premiere

The Girl and the Spider (Das Mädchen und die Spinne)
Ramon Zürcher, Silvan Zürcher | Switzerland
North American Premiere

Neptune Frost
Saul Williams, Anisia Uzeyman | Rwanda/USA
North American Premiere

A Night of Knowing Nothing
Payal Kapadia | India/France
International Premiere

Ste. Anne
Rhayne Vermette | Canada
North American Premiere

The Tsugua Diaries (Diários de Otsoga)
Maureen Fazendeiro, Miguel Gomes | Portugal
North American Premiere

Wavelengths – Shorts

The Capacity for Adequate Anger
Vika Kirchenbauer | Germany
World Premiere

Dear Chantal (Querida Chantal)
Nicolás Pereda | Mexico/Spain
International Premiere

earthearthearth
Daïchi Saïto | Canada
North American Premiere

Inner Outer Space
Laida Lertxundi | Spain
North American Premiere

Polycephaly in D
Michael Robinson | USA
World Premiere

“The red filter is withdrawn.” (“Le-deu-pil-teo-ga Cheol-hoe-doeb-ni-da.”)
Minjung Kim | South Korea
North American Premiere

Train Again
Peter Tscherkassky | Austria
North American Premiere

TIFF runs Sept. 9 – 18, 2021.

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, and Complex. He is the vice president of the Toronto Film Critics Association.

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