Last week the programmers for this year’s Toronto International Film Festival introduced the main course of this year’s festival lineup, fifty-three films from all over the world, big and small, about any number of subjects. The list was so impressive I ran out and booked a hotel room. So, now that I’m financially locked in to heading up to the city of David Cronenberg and that rapper who called himself SNOW, I’ll be following future announcements by the festival pretty closely. Today brought a big one. Adding to their initial lineup of films, TIFF has added a bunch of documentary works by fairly large documentary filmmakers and a bunch of genre works from fairly deranged genre filmmakers.
First let’s take a look at some of the docs. Thom Powers is the lead programmer for documentaries, and about this year’s lineup he said, “I’m thrilled at the large number of veteran filmmakers who have brought us new works this year. The line-up contains a wide range of memorable characters – crusaders, convicts, artists, athletes, nude dancers, comic book fans, dog lovers and more. Not to mention the epic 15-hour Story of Film. These documentaries will have audiences discussing and debating for months to come.” I don’t think I’ll have time for that fifteen hour one, I’ve only got five days in the city, but the one about nude dancers is definitely on my docket.
I would imagine the film he is referring to is Frederick Wiseman’s Crazy Horse, which takes a look at Paris’ famous cabaret of the same name. Joining Wiseman’s nudie pic are some new films from big name directors. Documentarian extraordinaire Werner Herzog takes a look at a triple homicide that happened in Texas with Into the Abyss. Indescribably popular doc maker Morgan Spurlock returns with his new movie about comic book geeks Comic Con: Episode IV – A Fan’s Hope. Jonathan Demme gives us a Hurricane Katrina story named I’m Carolyn Parker: The Good, the Mad, and the Beautiful. Taxi to the Dark Side director Alex Gibney will be bringing The Last Gladiators to the festival, a film about a hockey brute trying to reintegrate into normal society after retiring (I think I’ll pair that screening with a trip to the Hockey Hall of Fame). Also, many other less known, but equally talented filmmakers have entries showing up, too many to name.
On the other side of the coin, TIFF always plays a number of Midnight Madness films, which are usually strange and highly appealing to creepy film geeks like us. TIFF programmer Colin Geddes says of this year’s nine entries, “Ravenous cinephiles will devour the roster of chillers, action thrillers and pitch-black comedies that fill this year’s slate. Martial arts assassins, cops and robbers, escaped lunatics and vampire ballerinas will take over Ryerson Theatre every night at midnight, and deliver the shocking and rocking experience that our loyal audience flocks to take part in, helping make these screenings so memorable.” This sounds good to me. I stay up late.
Some of the movies include Bobcat Goldthwait’s followup to World’s Greatest Dad, which is called God Bless America and tells the story of a man who snaps and decides to murder all of the most irritating figures in the country. Yikes. Eduardo Sanchez, the director of The Blair Witch Project, returns with a film called Lovely Molly, which is about a woman who returns to her childhood home and is plagued by nightmare memories. Motion sickness medication packed. The directors of L’Interieur bring us Livid, a film about a young girl and a group of her friends who break into a mansion looking for treasure and instead find horror. Alexandre Courtes has a film called The Incident, which is about part time rockers/part time mental institution security guards that have to deal with a mass breakout of psychos during a power outage.
All of the genre and documentary films announced today, plus everything else that’s already been announced can be viewed in more detail on the TIFF website. Hopefully we have enough Torontonian FSR readers to have a strong presence at the festival. I’ll be in town from Sept 9-14, so email me for non-creepy or alluringly creepy meet-ups.