Toronto, Aug 11th- Toronto International Film Festival Press Release – To date, 29 documentary films have been confirmed at the 30th Toronto International Film Festival. Today's announcement includes 13 world, two international, and five North American premieres from 16 countries, with additional titles still to be announced. Twenty-four of the films announced today have been added to Real to Reel, a showcase for the world's best non-fiction cinema. Titles include the world premieres of Sydney Pollack's SKETCHES OF FRANK GEHRY; Lian Lunson's LEONARD COHEN I'M YOUR MAN; Ashim Ahluwalia's JOHN & JANE; Mariusz Pilis' and Marcin Mamon's THE SMELL OF PARADISE; Ward Serrill's THE HEART OF THE GAME; Micha Peled's CHINA BLUE; Josh Gilbert's A/K/A TOMMY CHONG; and Alex Hinton's PICK UP THE MIC. International premieres include Tómas Gislason's OVERCOMING and Christian Frei's THE GIANT BUDDHAS.
Several films explore the complex and compelling lives of artists and athletes. Sydney Pollack's SKETCHES OF FRANK GEHRY (USA/Spain/ Switzerland/Germany/England/Scotland/Czech Republic) has been added to Masters. The film chronicles the life and times of Pollack's friend, renowned architect Frank O. Gehry, capturing the shy, elusive artist and his unique architectural process. Ward Serrill's highly anticipated THE HEART OF THE GAME (USA) is a riveting six-year journey into the heart of Roosevelt High School's girls' basketball team, which finds success after a maverick college tax professor takes over as coach. This film is rated 14A. LEONARD COHEN I'M YOUR MAN (USA), from Lian Lunson, is an intimate look at the songs, poetry, and life of one of music's most celebrated and influential troubadours, featuring performances by Cohen, Nick Cave, Rufus Wainwright, and U2. Tómas Gislason's OVERCOMING (Denmark) provides a penetrating insight into the hermetically enclosed world of professional cycling in following former pro cyclist Bjarne Riis and his new Team CSC as they strive to win the Tour de France. Alex Hinton's PICK UP THE MIC (USA) explores the world of queer rappers, capturing an unapologetic underground music movement as it explodes into the mainstream, defying homophobic stereotypes of traditional hip-hop. Tamra Davis' short film A CONVERSATION WITH BASQUIAT (USA) features a rare and revelatory interview with legendary artist Jean Michel Basquiat.
Many selections tackle contemporary international social and political issues. Ashim Ahluwalia's JOHN & JANE (India) follows six "call agents" that answer American 1-800 numbers in a Bombay call centre, raising disturbing questions about the nature of personal identity in the age of 21st century global technology. A/K/A TOMMY CHONG (USA), from Josh Gilbert, explores an attack on civil liberties in chronicling comic Tommy Chong's conviction – as part of the US government's $12-million sting, Operation Pipe Dreams – for selling bongs. The destruction of two Buddha statues in Afghanistan is the starting point for a cinematic essay on fanaticism and faith, terror and tolerance, ignorance and identity in Oscar®-nominated director Christian Frei's thought-provoking THE GIANT BUDDHAS (Switzerland). Micha Peled's CHINA BLUE (USA) puts a human face on globalization and labour issues, following a young female Chinese worker from farm to factory. In THE SMELL OF PARADISE (The Netherlands/ Poland), filmmakers Mariusz Pilis and Marcin Mamon chronicle their 10-year journey to understand what drives people to fight against the Western world with the Koran in one hand and a rifle in the other. Erwin Wagenhofer's WE FEED THE WORLD (Austria), also a world premiere, investigates the global food industry, which produces enough food to feed 12 billion people while close to one billion people starve worldwide.
Philip Gröning's transcendent INTO GREAT SILENCE (Germany), a North American premiere, is a masterful cinematic portrait of life inside the Grande Chartreuse monastery, the mother house of the legendary Carthusian Order in the French Alps.
Other world premieres tell personal and intimate stories which strike universal chords. Doug Block's 51 BIRCH STREET (USA) is the filmmaker's dramatic exploration of his parents' 55-year marriage. BLACK SUN (UK), from Gary Tarn, is a stunning essay on artist Hugues de Montalembert's sudden blindness. In Thomas Allen Harris' TWELVE DISCIPLES OF NELSON MANDELA (South Africa/USA), the filmmaker is confronted by the death of his stepfather and embarks on a journey of reconciliation with the man who raised him as a son but whom he could never call "father" – an African National Congress foot soldier who sacrificed his life for the freedom of his country. Mingmongkol Sonakul, Aditya Assarat, and Pumin Chinaradee's 3 FRIENDS (Thailand) is a portrait of three friends on the edge of adulthood in modern-day Thailand and comments on Thai 'movie star exploitation' films. Taghreed Elsanhouri's ALL ABOUT DARFUR (Sudan/UK), a North American premiere, is the filmmaker's contemplative journey to the land of her birth as she examines the Afro/Arab race dynamic in Sudanese society through the prism of her own experience of race in Britain and Sudan.
Other highlights include several North American and Canadian premieres. Eugene Jarecki's WHY WE FIGHT (USA) is an unflinching look at the anatomy of the American war machine, weaving unforgettable personal stories with commentary by a "who's who" of political and policy insiders. Kim Longinotto and Florence Ayisi's SISTERS IN LAW (UK) chronicles the efforts of a tough-minded state prosecutor and a Court President determined to help women fight difficult cases in a small courthouse in Cameroon where there have been no convictions in spousal abuse cases for 17 years. The film BLACK BULL (Mexico), from Pedro González-Rubio and Carlos Armella, is an insight into the life of Fernando Pacheco, a bullfighter from the Mayan Region in southeast Mexico. Michael Glawogger's WORKINGMAN'S DEATH (Austria/Germany) presents five portraits of heavy manual labour – from coal miners in the Ukraine to steelworkers in China – professions that have become increasingly less visible in the technological 21st century. Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine's BALLETS RUSSES (USA) tells the story of the extraordinary blend of Russian, American, European, and Latin American dancers who transformed ballet from mere music hall divertissement to a true art form. Jeff Feuerzeig's THE DEVIL AND DANIEL JOHNSTON (USA) chronicles the life of an artist suffering from manic depression with delusions of grandeur whose life is marked by wild fluctuations, numerous downward spirals, and periodic respites. Kristian Petri's THE WELL (Sweden) explores one of director Orson Welles' lesser-known sides – his relationship to Spain, the country where he was buried in a well in the backyard of the legendary matador Antonio Ordoñez.
These titles join previously announced documentaries, including Allan King's MEMORY FOR MAX, CLAIRE, IDA AND COMPANY in Masters; METAL: A HEADBANGER'S JOURNEY, from Sam Dunn, Scot McFayden, and Jessica Joy Wise in Midnight Madness; as well as Robin Neinstein's SOUVENIR OF CANADA and Astra Taylor's ŽIŽEK! in Real to Reel.
SOURCE: Toronto International Film Festival