Film festival books lineup of international documentaries, midnight movies and Cannes winners
Documentaries by actor-turned-director Ethan Hawke, legendary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman and “The Act of Killing” director Joshua Oppenheimer are among the films added to the lineup of the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, TIFF organizers announced on Tuesday.
In addition to the typically strong TIFF Docs slate, the festival also announced its Masters, Midnight Movies and Vanguard sections, which range from a thorny 3D experiment from icon Jean-Luc Godard to edgy new works by Kevin Smith, Adam Wingard and Takashi Miike.
While more than a dozen of the 40 new additions are world premieres, a number of others have screened at previous festivals, including several from this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
The announced documentaries, which will be augmented with additional docs in sections that will be revealed in upcoming weeks, came from almost 20 different countries, from the United States and the United Kingdom to China, Syria, Finland and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“I’m proud of how international it is this year,” TIFF documentary programmer Thom Powers told TheWrap. As examples, he pointed to “The Act of Killing” director Oppenheimer’s “The Look of Silence,” shot in Indonesia, but a co-production of Denmark, Indonesia, Norway, Finland and the United Kingdom; “This Is My Land,” Israeli director Tamara Erde’s look at schools in Israel and Palestine; and “National Diploma,” which he said was “an extremely accomplished work” from Congolese director Dieudo Hamadi “showing observational documentary skills that would serve him well anywhere in the world.”
“The Look of Silence,” Powers added, is one of three entries by filmmakers who are exploring subjects that they had delved into in previous films. This time Oppenheimer tackles the Indonesian genocide of 1965 from the perspective of the survivors, where his Oscar-nominated “Act of Killing” examined the perpetrators. Laura Nix’s “The Yes Men Are Revolting,” meanwhile,is the director’s second collaboration with the activists the Yes Men, while “Natural Resistance,” which follows director Jonathan Nossiter’s “Mondo Vino” as a look at the culture of winemaking, focuses in this case growers in Italy who have developed a natural, chemical-free method.
The last two films are also part of a large contingent of movies on environmental issues. They also include “Merchants of Doubt” from “Food Inc.” director Robbie Kenner, who examines what Powers calls “the industry of skeptics and deniers” who make the rounds talking about climate change, tobacco and other hot-button topics.
Other docs include “National Gallery,” another lengthy, detailed look inside an institution from director Frederick Wiseman (“Titicut Follies”); “Tales of the Grim Sleeper,” a look at the serial killer who preyed on prostitutes in South Central Los Angeles for decades, from “Biggie & Tupac” director Nick Broomfield; “Red Army,” a Cannes-premiering doc from Gabe Polsky that uses the Soviet hockey team as a way to examine the fall of the Soviet Union; and “Sunshine Superman,” Marah Strauch’s film about a base-jumping pioneer who meticulously documented his groundbreaking stunts on 16mm film.
In addition, actor Ethan Hawke directed the documentary “Seymour: An Introduction,” a film about former concert pianist Seymour Bernstein, who gave up his performing career years ago to become a teacher. “It’s very much a talky film, and very much a New York film,” said Powers. “It reminds me most of ‘My Dinner With Andre’ – it’s rich with conversation, pondering art and life and all kinds of bigger questions.”
The Masters program focuses on acclaimed international directors, and includes three films that premiered at this year’s Cannes Film Festival: Jean-Luc Godard’s 3D “Goodbye to Language,” which won the Jury Prize, Andrey Zvyagintsev’s “Leviathan,” which won the screenplay award, and Abderrahmane Sissako’s acclaimed “Timbuku.”
Also in the group are Roy Andersson’s “A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence,” Michael Winterbottom‘s “The Face of an Angel,” Hong Sang-soo’s “Hill of Freedom” and Ann Hui’s “The Golden Era.”
Kevin Smith’s horror film “Tusk” is one of nine films announced in the Midnight Madness program, which will open with “Tokyo Tribe” from Sion Sono. David Robert Mitchell’s “It Follows,” which played in Cannes, is also in the section, as is the documentary “Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films,” “V/H/S” and “You’re Next” director Adam Wingard’s “The Guest” and the vampire mockumentary “What We Do in the Shadows” from New Zealand directors Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement (one-half of Flight of the Conchords).
“Berberian Sound Studio” director Peter Strickland and Japanese violence ‘n’ kink icon Takashi Miike are among the filmmakers represented in the Vanguard program, with their films “The Duke of Burgundy” and “Over Your Dead Body” respectively.
The Toronto International Film Festival will kick off on Sept. 4 with the Robert Downey Jr./Robert Duvall drama “The Judge,” and run through Sept. 14.
The new additions:
“Beats of the Antonov” Hajooj Kuka, Sudan/South Africa / World Premiere
“I Am Here” (“Wo Jiu Shi Wo”) Lixin Fan, China / International Premiere
“Iraqi Odyssey” Samir, Iraq/Switzerland/Germany/United Arab Emirates / World Premiere
“Merchants of Doubt” Robert Kenner, USA / Canadian Premiere
“National Diploma” (“Examen d’Etat”) Dieudo Hamadi France/Congo / North American Premiere
“National Gallery” Frederick Wiseman, France/USA / North American Premiere
“Natural Resistance” Jonathan Nossiter, Italy/France / North American Premiere
“Red Army” Gabe Polsky, USA/Russia / Canadian Premiere
“Seymour: An Introduction” Ethan Hawke, USA / International Premiere
“Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait” (“Ma’a al Fidda”) Ossama Mohammed and Wiam Simav Bedirxan, Syria/France / North American Premiere
“Sunshine Superman” Marah Strauch, USA/Norway/United Kingdom / World Premiere
“Tales of the Grim Sleeper” Nick Broomfield USA/United Kingdom / World Premiere
“The Look of Silence” (“Senyap”) Joshua Oppenheimer, Denmark/Indonesia/Norway/Finland/United Kingdom / Canadian Premiere
“This Is My Land” Tamara Erde, France / World Premiere
“The Yes Men Are Revolting” Laura Nix and the Yes Men, USA / World Premiere
Previously Announced: “Roger & Me” Michael Moore, USA
“1001 Grams” Bent Hamer, Norway/Germany/France / World Premiere
“A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence” (“En duva satt på en gren och funderade på tillvaron”) Roy Andersson, Sweden/Norway/France/Germany / North American Premiere
“The Face of an Angel” Michael Winterbottom, United Kingdom / World Premiere
“The Golden Era” (“Huang jin shi dai”) Ann Hui, China/Hong Kong / North American Premiere
“Goodbye to Language 3D” (“Adieu au langage 3D”) Jean-Luc Godard, France / North American Premiere
“Hill of Freedom” (“Ja-yu-ui eon-deok”) Hong Sang-soo, South Korea / North American Premiere
“Leviathan” Andrey Zvyagintsev, Russia / Canadian Premiere
“Revivre” (“Hwajang”) Im Kwon-taek, South Korea / North American Premiere
“Timbuktu” Abderrahmane Sissako, France/Mauritania/Mali / North American Premiere
“[REC] 4: Apocalypse” Jaume Balagueró, Spain / World Premiere
“Big Game” Jalmari Heleander, Finland/United Kingdom/Germany / World Premiere
“Cub” Jonas Govaerts, Belgium / World Premiere
“Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films” Mark Hartley, Australia / International Premiere
“It Follows” David Robert Mitchell, USA / North American Premiere
“The Guest” Adam Wingard, USA / Canadian Premiere
“Tokyo Tribe” Sion Sono, Japan / International Premiere (Midnight Madness Opening Night Film)
“Tusk” Kevin Smith, USA / World Premiere
“What We Do in the Shadows” Taika Waititi, Jemaine Clement, New Zealand/USA / Canadian Premiere
“Alleluia” Fabrice Du Welz, France/Belgium / North American Premiere
“The Duke of Burgundy” Peter Strickland, United Kingdom / World Premiere
“Goodnight Mommy” (“Ich seh, Ich she”) Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, Austria / North American Premiere
“Hyena” Gerard Johnson, United Kingdom / International Premiere
“Luna” Dave McKean, United Kingdom / World Premiere
“Over Your Dead Body” Takashi Miike, Japan / International Premiere
“Shrew’s Nest” (“Musarañas”) Juanfer Andrés and Esteban Roel, Spain / World Premiere
“Spring” Justin Benson/Aaron Moorhead, USA / World Premiere
“They Have Escaped” JP Valkeapää, Finland / North American Premiere
“Waste Land” Pieter Van Hees, Belgium / World Premiere
“The World of Kanako” (“Kawaki”) Tetsuya Nakashima, Japan / International Premiere