Once again, TIFF is right around the corner and there’s a TON of great films for those lucky enough to navigate and overcome their overly complex ticket lottery system. As usual, the festival’s diverse line-up of non-fiction programming is of particular interest to myself (and likely you), so below is the current selection of films to dig through and fit into your schedule. I’ve embedded trailers where available, so have a look and start planning this year’s festival with some awesome documentary screenings! Personally, I’ve got my eye on Room 237, Bestiaire, How to Make Money Selling Drugs, and Reincarnated. What are you looking forward to?
Directed by Daniel Gordon
Filmmaker Daniel Gordon investigates the 1988 Olympic race that resulted in disgrace for Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson, a gold medal for the USA’s Carl Lewis, and major controversy over drug testing.
THE ACT OF KILLING
Directed by Joshua Oppenheimer, Anonymous, Christine Cynn
In this chilling and inventive documentary, executive produced by Errol Morris, the unrepentant former members of Indonesian death squads are challenged to re-enact some of their many murders in the style of the American movies they love.
Directed by Bartholomew Cubbins
Telling harsh truths about the modern music business, Artifact gives intimate access to singer/actor Jared Leto and his band Thirty Seconds to Mars as they battle their label in a brutal lawsuit and record their album This Is War. The film is a true artifact of our times, as its subjects struggle with big questions over art, money and integrity.
AS IF WE WERE CATCHING A COBRA
Directed by Hala Alabdalla
Focusing on the work of cartoonists in Egypt, Algeria, Syria and Palestine, this documentary examines how comic strips and caricatures are becoming a vehicle for dissent and a voice for freedom of expression in the Arab world.
Directed by Marc Wiese
An enthralling documentary portrait of twenty-nine-year-old Shin Dong-Huyk, who was born and spent the first two decades of his life behind the barb wire of a North Korean labour camp, until his dramatic escape launched him into an outside world he had never known.
THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE
Directed by Sarah Burns, David McMahon, Ken Burns
The devastating new documentary by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon on the infamous “Central Park Jogger” case details how a rush to judgment by police, media and an outraged public led to five black and Latino teenagers being convicted for a heinous crime that they did not commit.
FAR OUT ISN’T FAR ENOUGH
Directed by Brad Bernstein
Far Out Isn’t Far Enough follows the multiple careers of the artist Tomi Ungerer, who had stints as a bestselling children’s book author, an illustrator of 1960s protest posters, and a creator of explicit erotica until he found himself shunned from the American publishing industry.
Directed by Damien Ounouri
A seventy-year-old veteran of the Algerian War of Independence speaks about his years of struggle as an underground soldier for the National Liberation Front, in this fascinating documentary by first-time filmmaker Damien Ounouri.
FIRST COMES LOVE
Directed by Nina Davenport
With great wit and insight, New York City filmmaker Nina Davenport documents her quest to have a baby as a single mother over forty. Davenport’s film taps into the zeitgeist topic of how the modern family is being re-imagined.
Directed by Dror Moreh
In an unprecedented and candid series of interviews, six former heads of the Shin Bet — Israel’s intelligence and security agency — speak about their role in Israel’s decades-long counterterrorism campaign, discussing their controversial methods and whether the ends ultimately justify the means.
THE GIRL FROM THE SOUTH
Directed by José Luis García
Twenty years after peace activist Im Su-kyong swore that she would cross the border between North and South Korea on foot, Argentine documentary filmmaker José Luis García goes in search of the young woman who was once known as “The Flower of Reunification.”
HOW TO MAKE MONEY SELLING DRUGS
Directed by Matthew Cooke
This fascinating documentary offers an in-depth look at the high-stakes world of drug dealing and drug enforcement, featuring interviews with top-ranking government officials and such celebrities as Woody Harrelson, Susan Sarandon, The Wire creator David Simon and rappers Eminem, 50 Cent and Rick Ross.
ICEBERG SLIM: PORTRAIT OF A PIMP
Directed by Jorge Hinojosa
Director Jorge Hinojosa blends pulp fiction imagery with ambitious biographical digging to tell the story of legendary pimp/author Iceberg Slim, whose gritty and poetic books about ghetto life gave birth to Street Lit. Interviews include Chris Rock, Ice-T, Snoop Dogg and Quincy Jones.
LONDON – THE MODERN BABYLON
Directed by Julien Temple
Director Julien Temple (The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle, The Filth and the Fury) surveys the past century of London’s tumultuous history in this vibrant documentary.
Directed by Simon Ennis
In this irresistibly zany, sharp-witted documentary, director Simon Ennis introduces us to an unforgettable group of characters whose obsession with the moon and lunar colonization has given birth to utopian dreams of truly galactic proportions.
MEA MAXIMA CULPA: SILENCE IN THE HOUSE OF GOD
Directed by Alex Gibney
Academy Award®–winning documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side) explores the charged issue of pedophilia in the Catholic Church, following a trail from the first known protest against clerical sexual abuse in the United States and all way to the Vatican.
MEN AT LUNCH
Directed by Seán Ó Cualáin
This remarkable new documentary explores the story behind one of the most iconic images of the twentieth century: the 1932 photograph of workmen taking their lunch while perched on a girder high above New York City.
MORE THAN HONEY
Directed by Markus Imhoof
With dazzling nature photography, Academy Award®–nominated director Markus Imhoof (The Boat is Full) takes a global examination of endangered honeybees — spanning California, Switzerland, China and Australia — more ambitious than any previous work on the topic.
NO PLACE ON EARTH
Directed by Janet Tobias
This extraordinary testament to survival from Emmy-winning producer/director Janet Tobias brings to light a story that remained untold for decades: that of thirty-eight Ukrainian Jews who survived World War II by living in caves for eighteen months.
Directed by Andrew Capper
ROMAN POLANSKI: ODD MAN OUT
Directed by Marina Zenovich
Marina Zenovich dives into the mysterious details of Roman Polanski’s arrest in Switzerland in 2009, which came suspiciously soon after the release of her ground-breaking 2008 documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired. In this follow-up investigation, Zenovich raises fresh questions about legal manipulation, media distortion and power politics.
THE SECRET DISCO REVOLUTION
Directed by Jamie Kastner
Cheekily fun and intellectually absorbing, Jamie Kastner’s meticulously researched documentary casts a new light on the much-maligned musical genre, contending that the disco era represented a moment of mass liberation for women, African-Americans and gay men.
SHEPARD & DARK
Directed by Treva Wurmfeld
Director Treva Wurmfeld captures an indelible portrait of the complex relationship between playwright/actor Sam Shepard and his close friend Johnny Dark as they prepare forty years of their correspondence for publication, stirring up old memories both good and bad.
SHOW STOPPER: THE THEATRICAL LIFE OF GARTH DRABINSKY
Directed by Barry Avrich
Barry Avrich (Unauthorized: The Harvey Weinstein Project) recounts the life and troubled times of controversial Cineplex and Live Ent founder Garth Drabinsky, whose daring innovations and flamboyant personal style reshaped the Canadian entertainment industry.
Directed by Dan Setton
Filmmaker Dan Setton gained unprecedented access to the highest circles of the Palestinian leadership as he chronicles Prime Minister Salam Fayaad’s quest to have Palestine recognized by the United Nations as an independent state.
STORM SURFERS 3D
Directed by Christopher Nelius, Justin McMillan
This pulse-racing real-life adventure follows two of Australia’s greatest surf legends on their quest to hunt down and ride the Pacific’s biggest and most dangerous waves. With 3D cameras installed on their boards, Ross Clarke-Jones and Tom Carroll defy middle age by pushing the limits of what they — and cinema technology — can do.
THE WALLS OF DAKAR
Directed by Abdoul Aziz Cissé
This captivating documentary explores the contemporary graffiti culture of Dakar, where painters, rappers and taggers have created a language of dissent and uncensored self-expression that gave prescient warning of the insurgency to come.
A WORLD NOT OURS
Directed by Mahdi Fleifel
Imbued with nostalgia and striking a wide range of emotional notes, filmmaker Mahdi Fleifel travels to the Lebanese refugee camp of Ain El Helweh to explore how the camp’s displaced people use the World Cup series to articulate their own ideas of home, community, victory and hope.
Directed by Liz Garbus
Love, Marilyn is an intimate excursus into the never-before-seen letters, diaries and notebooks of Marilyn Monroe. Appearing on screen to perform Marilyn’s words are renowned contemporary actresses, including Maria Tomei, Uma Thurman, and Glenn Close.
Directed by Rodney Ascher
Obsessive cineastes detail their byzantine conspiracy theories about the secret themes and messages hidden within Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, in director Rodney Ascher’s fascinating, kaleidoscopic deconstruction of a horror classic.
THE END OF TIME
Directed by Peter Mettler
The End of Time is a cinematic experience from visionary filmmaker Peter Mettler which explores our perception of time.
Directed by Denis Côté
Visionary filmmaker Denis Côté (Curling) offers a strikingly beautiful contemplation of the caged denizens of a zoo in this intriguing cinematic inquiry into the mysterious rapport and insuperable gulf between animals and humans.