New documentaries from acclaimed filmmakers Claude Lanzmann (“Shoah”), Marcel Ophuls (“The Sorrow and the Pity”), Frederick Wiseman (“Titicut Follies”) and Errol Morris (“The Thin Blue Line”) highlight the typically strong doc lineup at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, TIFF organizers announced on Tuesday.
Lanzmann will be represented with “The Last of the Unjust” (photo above), which chronicles the last president of the Jewish council in the Theresienstadt ghetto in World War II. Ophuls has “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” an autobiographical doc. Wiseman’s “At Berkeley” looks at the UC Berkeley campus in the Bay Area.
And Morris’ “The Unknown Known,” an upcoming Radius-TWC release, bears echoes of his Oscar-winning “The Fog of War,” in which Vietnam War architect Robert McNamara admitted his culpability — although its subject, Bush administration Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, seems not as likely to admit mistakes and take the blame as McNamara was.
"Rumsfeld is a feisty sparring partner with Errol Morris in the film," confirmed TIFF documentary programmer Thom Powers to TheWrap. "Rumsfeld is a man who professes to have a strong fascination with the dictionary definition of words, but his interpretations of words are sometimes different from other people's interpretations. In a way, that becomes the battleground of this film."
In addition to those films, the lineup of 22 docs includes world premieres of “Filthy Gorgeous: The Bob Guccione Story,” Barry Avrich’s story of the Penthouse publisher; “When Jews Were Funny,” a film about Jewish humor, and “Tim’s Vermeer,” a recent Sony Pictures Classics acquisition that illusionist and comic Teller (from Penn and Teller) made about research into the photo-realistic techniques used by 17th-century artist Johannes Vermeer.
"One of the things that really stands out is a strong reoccurence of obsessive and impassioned characters," said Powers, whose staff went through about 500 films in making their selections.
Other world premieres include “Beyond the Edge,” Leanne Pooley’s 3D doc about Edmund Hilary’s ascent of Mount Everest; Chris Jordan’s “Midway,” which deals with the plight of the Laysan albatross and is a feature-length expansion of a short that has received 10 million views on YouTube and Vimeo; and films about Burt’s Bees co-founder Burt Shavitz (“Burt’s Buzz”), the real bank robber who inspired “Dog Day Afternoon” (“The Dog”) and photographer Vivian Maier (“Finding Vivian Maier”), among others.
Missing from the lineup, at least for now: music docs about high-profile musicians along the lines of the Bruce Springsteen film “The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town,” U2’s “From the Sky Down,” Jonathan Demme‘s “Neil Young Journeys” and Cameron Crowe‘s “Pearl Jam 20,” all of which screened in Toronto in recent years.
"What I would say on that topic is that there are other doc announcements still to come," said Powers. "Without going into detail, don't give up on some more high-profile films being announced, and that could include music-related films."
The festival also announced the lineup of films in the City to City section, which focuses on the cinema from a different city each year.
This year’s city is Athens, with films from Greece’s quirky and often surreal filmmakers (responsible for the so-called “Weird Wave”) including “The Eternal Return of Antonis Paraskevas,” a deadpan film from Elina Psykou about a TV host who fakes his own kidnapping, and “September” (right), director Penny Panayotopoulou’s disquieting tale of a needy woman who latches onto a young family after she loses her beloved dog.
The TIFF Cinematheque program will feature revival screenings of newly restored prints of Alain Resnais‘ 1959 New Wave precursor “Hiroshima mon amour,” Robert Rossellini’s 1945 war drama “Rome, Open City,” Joseph H. Lewis’ 1950 film noir classic “Gun Crazy” and David Cronenberg‘s 1975 horror film “Shivers.”
And the festival’s Vanguard lineup will feature the Cannes entry “Borgman,” Philippines filmmaker Brilliante Mendoza’s “Sapi” and Simon and Zeke Hawkins’ “We Gotta Get Out of This Place.”
The new lineup additions:
A Story of Children and Film Mark Cousins, United Kingdom (North American Premiere)
Ain't Misbehavin' Marcel Ophüls, France (North American Premiere)
At Berkeley Frederick Wiseman, USA (North American Premiere)
Beyond the Edge Leanne Pooley, New Zealand (World Premiere)
Burt's Buzz J ody Shapiro, Canada (World Premiere)
The Dark Matter of Love Sarah McCarthy, UK (North American Premiere)
The Dog Allison Berg and Frank Keraudren, USA (World Premiere)
Faith Connections Pan Nalin, France/India (World Premiere)
Filthy Gorgeous: The Bob Guccione Story Barry Avrich, Canada (World Premiere)
Finding Vivian Maier John Maloof and Charlie Siskel, USA (World Premiere)
Hi-Ho Mistahey! Alanis Obomsawin, Canada (World Premiere)
Ignasi M. Ventura Pons, Spain (World Premiere)
Jodorowsky's Dune Frank Pavich, USA (North American Premiere)
The Last of the Unjust Claude Lanzmann, France/Austria (North American Premiere)
The Mayor Emiliano Altuna Fistolera, Mexico (Canadian Premiere)
Midway Chris Jordan, USA (World Premiere)
Mission Congo David Turner and Lara Zizic, USA (World Premiere)
The Square (Al Midan) Jehane Noujaim, Egypt/USA (World Premiere)
Tim’s Vermeer Teller, USA (World Premiere)
The Unknown Known Errol Morris, USA (North American Premiere)
Unstable Elements Madeleine Sackler, USA (World Premiere)
When Jews Were Funny Alan Zweig, Canada (World Premiere)
CITY TO CITY (ATHENS, GREECE)
The Daughter (I Kori) Thanos Anastopoulos, Greece (North American Premiere)
The Eternal Return of Antonis Paraskevas (I aionia epistrofi tou Antoni Paraskeua) Elina Psykou, Greece (North American Premiere)
J.A.C.E. – Just Another Confused Elephant Menelaos Karamaghiolis, Greece/FYROM/Portugal/Turkey (North American Premiere)
Miss Violence Alexandros Avranas, Greece (North American Premiere)
September Penny Panayotopoulou, Germany/Greece (North American Premiere)
Standing Aside, Watching (Na Kathese ke na Kitas) Yorgos Servetas, Greece (World Premiere) CITY TO CITY OPENING NIGHT FILM
To the Wolf (Sto Lyko) Aran Hughes and Christina Koutsospyrou, Greece/United Kingdom (North American Premiere)
Unfair World (Adikos Kosmos) Filippos Tsitos, Greece/Germany
Wasted Youth Argyris Papadimitropoulos and Jan Vogel, Greece
Wild Duck Yannis Sakaridis, Greece (World Premiere)
An Autumn Afternoon Yasujiro Ozu, Japan
Gun Crazy Joseph H. Lewis, USA
Hiroshima mon amour Alain Resnais, France/Japan
The Lovely Month of May (Le Joli Mai) Chris Marker and Pierre Lhomme, France
Manila in the Claws of Light (Maynila: Sa Mga Kuko Ng Liwanag) Lino Brocka, Philippines
Rome, Open City (Roma, città aperta) Roberto Rossellini, Italy
Shivers David Cronenberg, Canada
Blue Ruin Jeremy Saulnier, USA (North American Premiere)
Borgman Alex van Warmerdam, The Netherlands/Belgium/Denmark (North American Premiere)
Celestial Wives of the Meadow Mari Alexey Fedorchenko, Russia (Canadian Premiere)
The Fake Yeon Sang-ho (World Premiere)
People In Places (Gente En Sitios) Juan Cavestany, Spain (World Premiere)
Horns Alexandre Aja, USA (World Premiere)
People in Places Juan Cavestany, Spain (World Premiere)
Proxy Zack Parker, USA (World Premiere)
The Sacrament Ti West, USA (North American Premiere)
Sapi Brillante Mendoza, Philippines (World Premiere)
Sex, Drugs & Taxation (Spies & Glistrup) Christoffer Boe, Denmark (International Premiere)
Soul Chung Mong-Hong, Taiwan (International Premiere)
The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani, Belgium/France/Luxembourg (North American Premiere)
Thou Gild’st the Even Onur Ünlü, Turkey (North American Premiere)
We Gotta Get Out of This Place Simon Hawkins and Zeke Hawkins, USA (World Premiere)