The Toronto International Film Festival expanded its offerings for September's edition by revealing on Tuesday the lineups for several programs, including Docs, Midnight Madness, City to City, Vanguard, Kids and Cinematheque.
Fascinating figures, history-making events and stories from areas of strife — helmed by both notable filmmakers and newcomers — populate the Docs lineup (formerly known as Real to Reel).
The story of jailed former theatre impresario Drabinsky is explored by noted Canadian filmmaker Barry Avrich in Show Stopper: The Theatrical Life of Garth Drabinsky.
U.K. director Daniel Gordon will look into the scandal surrounding disgraced Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson's performance at the 1988 Seoul Olympics in his film 9.79*.
Wanted and Desired filmmaker Marina Zenovich returns with Roman Polanski: Odd Man Out.
Meanwhile, Snoop Dogg's search for spirituality in Jamaica is documented in Andrew Capper's Reincarnated. The film arrives this fall alongside a new reggae album of the same name from the California rap icon.
Other notable non-fiction entries venture into conflict zones such as North Korea (Camp 14 — Total Control Zone, The Girl from the South), Syria (As if We were Catching a Cobra) and the Middle East (A World Not Ours, The Gatekeepers, State 194).
"There is great satisfaction in discovering films from new voices in non-fiction filmmaking," Thom Powers, TIFF's lead programmer for documentaries, said in a statement.
"Some of the most powerful stories being told are from these bold and original emerging filmmakers whose work stands strongly side by side documentary filmmaking greats like Alex Gibney and Ken Burns."
The Toronto festival will host the world premiere of the Catholic Church exposé Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God by Gibney, the Oscar-winner behind Taxi to the Dark Side, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room and Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson.
His celebrated American filmmaking colleague Burns will offer the North American premiere of The Central Park Five, which delves into the case of the wrongful conviction of black and Latino teens in the rape of a New York jogger.
Established filmmakers explore genre film
The always-popular Midnight Madness series includes thrilling, chilling genre titles by wide-ranging filmmakers: from Academy Award-winners such as Barry Levinson and Martin McDonagh to heavy-metal musician and horrormeister Rob Zombie.
[SIDEBAR]Midnight Madness lineup:
- The ABCs of Death
- The Bay
- Come Out and Play
- John Dies at the End
- The Lords of Salem
- No One Lives
- Seven Psychopaths[/SIDEBAR]
Levinson, known for films like Rain Man, Good Morning Vietnam and Wag the Dog, ventures into ecological horror with The Bay.
McDonagh will bring the dark comedy Seven Psychopaths, which features a star-studded cast that includes Colin Farrell, Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Abbie Cornish and Tom Waits.
Horror filmmaker Eli Roth stars in Nicolas Lopez's Chilean-set thriller Aftershock, alongside young actress-singer Selena Gomez, and Zombie has agreed to offer Toronto the world premiere of his new film The Lords of Salem, a U.S.-U.K.-Canadian co-production.
The Midnight Madness program will also include an interesting title: ABCs of Death, a compilation film drawing together work by 26 contemporary genre filmmakers who were each assigned a letter of the alphabet and given free rein to film a story about mortality.
New territory for Indian film
Darker, gritty topics will also be explored in TIFF's City to City lineup, which turns its gaze to Mumbai for 2012. Independent filmmakers in India's most populated city have shifted away from the dazzling, song and dance-filled spectacle of commercial films.
The movies chosen for City to City this year tackling serious and troubling stories, including the slaying of human rights activist Shahid Azmi, rival gangster families, interfaith romance, political drama, sex-horror filmmakers in Bollywood and the city's drug-fueled underworld.
"Mumbai's cinema today is entirely different from what it was even a few years ago. The rise of independent cinema has shifted the terrain, probing into previously taboo subjects and adopted styles that were earlier unpalatable to the Indian audience," said TIFF artistic director and City to City programmer Cameron Bailey.
"Mumbai's film industry is going through a significant change and a strong group of new filmmakers has emerged. They’re representing the evolution of their city in an interesting way."
International titles from the likes of musician Peaches (Peaches Does Herself), director Michel Gondry (The We and the I) and producer Johnnie To (Motorway) are represented in TIFF's boundary-crossing, cutting-edge Vanguard lineup.
Organizers also revealed on Tuesday a handful of family-friendly titles for the Kids program (including the celebrity-filled animated film Hotel Transylvania and a 3D version of Pixar's Finding Nemo) as well as a slate of restored classics that will be offered for free as part of TIFF Cinematheque. The first-come, first-served screenings will include Alfred Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder, Roman Polanski's Tess, Roberto Rossellini's Stromboli and Canadian indie film The Bitter Ash by Larry Kent.
The Toronto International Film Festival runs Sept. 6-16.