Toronto 2017: Documentary Overview

Festival:
The 42nd Toronto International Film Festival

Dates:
September 7-17

About:
The annual North American Fall mecca for the film industry has deliberately slimmed down its lineup, offering just over 250 features vs last year’s near 300, with nonfiction accounting for just under 40 slots, compared to last year’s approximately 60 doc or hybrid presentations.

The bulk of the fest’s nonfiction appears in Thom Powers’ TIFF Docs section. Among the portraits of notables assembled here are: Brett Morgen’s JANE(pictured), on primatologist Jane Goodall; Sophie Fiennes’ GRACE JONES: BLOODLIGHT AND BAMI; Sara Driver’s BOOM FOR REAL: THE LATE TEENAGE YEARS OF JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT; Sam Pollard’s SAMMY DAVIS JR: I’VE GOTTA BE ME; Matt Tyrnauer’s SCOTTY AND THE SECRET HISTORY OF HOLLYWOOD, about the man who catered to the stars’ sexual desires; Kate Novack’s THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ANDRÉ, on Vogue’s colorful fashion editor, André Leon Talley; and Erika Cohn’s THE JUDGE, about the first female Shari’a court judge in the Middle East.

Other TIFF Docs presentations include Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s ONE OF US (pictured), an inside look at NYC’s Hasidic community; Greg Barker’s THE FINAL YEAR, which follows key figures in the last year of Obama’s administration; Jed Rothstein’s THE CHINA HUSTLE, a sobering investigation of Wall Street manipulation; Mila Turajlic’s THE OTHER SIDE OF EVERYTHING, a personal exploration of Serbia’s political history through the filmmaker’s mother; and Morgan Spurlock’s SUPER SIZE ME 2: HOLY CHICKEN!, in which the provocateur once again takes on fast food, by opening up his own chicken restaurant.

A single doc appears as a Gala at this year’s festival, Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier’s LONG TIME RUNNING, a music doc following The Tragically Hip; the sole nonfiction Special Event is similarly music-focused: Chris Moukarbel’s GAGA: FIVE FOOT TWO (pictured). Meanwhile, two slots in the Masters section go to docs: Alanis Obomsawin’s OUR PEOPLE WILL BE HEALED, about decolonization in a Manitoba First Nation community; and Agnès Varda and JR’s Cannes doc-prize winning FACES PLACES. Rounding out the festival’s nonfiction (or hybrid) offerings is the Wavelengths section, which includes Anna Marziano’s essay on love. BEYOND THE ONE; and Wang Bing’s Locarno award-winner MRS FANG.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Overviews, Recommendations

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