TIFF 11 for '11: Big Screen Reality
Welcome to part four of ScreenAnarchy's preview of the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival. Today we turn our attention towards the abundance of interesting looking documentaries out to inform and entertain at the fest this year.
PEARL JAM TWENTY
This premiere of Cameron Crowe's (Elizabethtown) twenty year retrospective of ridiculously influential Seattle rockers Pearl Jam is such a big deal to the band that they have even scheduled their current tour around it - playing two shows in Toronto the opening weekend of the fest. There could be no one better to direct this doc than Crowe whose relationship with the band members goes back to pre-PJ times when he cast them in his seminal Seattle scene drama Singles. This film will be a must-see for anyone with that sentimental flannel still hanging in their closet.
COMIC-CON: EPISODE IV - A FAN'S HOPE
Nerd Alert! Anyone who has been to San Diego's Comic Con is well aware that that event is one of the most... interesting happenings on the planet. Morgan Spurlock of Super Size Me and Greatest Movie Ever Sold fame takes his turn pulling back the curtain on SDCC - before quickly dropping it back down at the sight of those pale, emaciated looking legs.
PARADISE LOST 3: PURGATORY
The third part of Joe Berlinger & Bruce Sinofsky's ( Metallica: Some Kind of Monster) 18 year epic tale of injustice facing the imprisoned (then) teenagers known as the West Memphis 3 premieres on the heels of the WM3's release from prison this summer. The filmmakers have announced that the film will screen unedited at TIFF before a version edited to reflect this summer's conclusion premieres at NYFF.
Veteran doc directors Ashley Sabin & David Redmon's latest film takes an in depth look at the unregulated practice of plucking young teenage girls from rural Russia and bringing them to Japan to work as models.
FROM THE SKY DOWN
Davis Guggenheim's follow-up to Waiting for Superman sounds remarkably similar to Cameron Crowe's Pearl Jam Twenty; a retrospective look at how one of our generation's most successful rock bands has continued to thrive with a particular focus on the band's most influential album from 1991. In Guggenheim's film the album is Achtung Baby and the band is U2. This film opens the fest Thursday - but unlike Pearl Jam, U2 has unfortunately not scheduled dates in Toronto next week.
THE ISLAND PRESIDENT
This fascinating sounding doc takes us inside the presidential offices of Mohamed Nasheed, formerly imprisoned and newly elected president of the Maldives - an island nation facing catastrophe if the sea levels continue to rise. Presented in TIFF's Mavericks program, the screening will be followed by a discussion with director Jon Shenk (The Lost Boys of Sudan) and Mr. Nasheed himself.
THE LAST GLADIATORS
Oscar winner Alex Gibney has directed so many great documentaries in his career that it is really easier to just point you to IMDB page than to try and list them here. His latest delves into the NHL with a particular focus on Cup winning Canadiens enforcer Chris "Knuckles" Nilan.
LAST CALL AT THE OASIS
Superstar filmmaker Jessica Yu (Protagonist, Ping Pong Playa') looks to bring attention to the looming world fresh water crisis with her latest doc.
INTO THE ABYSS
Murrrrrder is on the menu for the prolific Werner Herzog as he delves deep into the details of a Texan triple homicide committed by two kids out looking to steal a car. Herzog has made the uncharacteristic decision to forgo his trademark voice-over commentary and let the subjects and victims' families speak for themselves on this one.
I'M CAROLYN PARKER: THE GOOD, THE MAD, AND THE BEAUTIFUL
Successful dramatic director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia) turned his cameras on New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and ended up following one family from the Lower Ninth Ward. He became so close to the family that he cast two if its members in his 2008 drama Rachel Getting Married. That family's matriarch Carolyn Parker became the subject of this commentary on what it takes to rebuild. Demme is also screening his follow up to 2006's Neil Young: Heart of Gold, NEIL YOUNG JOURNEYS at this year's fest.
The team behind Baraka and Chronos Ron Fricke & Mark Magidson deliver their latest 65mm montage of photographic humanity to the world of cinema with Samsara, a Tibetan word meaning "the ever turning wheel of life."
Other docus on display at TIFF include forgotten musician story PAUL WILLIAMS STILL ALIVE by Stephen Kessler, Mathieu Roy Harold Crooks's big picture societal collapse doc SURVIVING PROGRESS, a documentary by Nick Broomfield & Joan Churchill on an even scarier subject SARAH PALIN - YOU BETCHA!, and an interesting sounding look at prostitution in Thailand, Bangladesh, and Mexico from Michael Glawogger called WHORE'S GLORY.
TIFF 11 for '11 continues tomorrow with a look at some the little indies that could.
Entries in the series thus far:
TIFF 11 for '11 Part 1: The Big Launches
TIFF 11 for '11 Part 2: The Fantastic Side of Things
TIFF 11 for '11 Part 3: Pacific Rim Offerings