In less than a month, the entire industry will be in Canada for the Toronto International Film Festival, and as per usual, organizers are going to have an impressive and huge slate of movies to choose from. And their latest list of announcements highlights highly anticipated titles headed up north.
The cream of the crop is easily Ben Wheatley‘s “Free Free,” which will make its World Premiere as part of TIFF’s always terrific Midnight Madness lineup. Nacho Vigolando‘s monster flick “Colossal” starring Anne Hathaway will also make its debut in Toronto as part of the Vanguard lineup. Meanwhile, the documentary lineup will feature new films from Errol Morris (“The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography“) and Steve James (“ABACUS: Small Enough To Jail“), while the Cinematheque program brings some real goodies back to the big screen.
Check out the full slate of new additions below. TIFF runs from September 8th to 18th.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe André Øvredal, USA, World Premiere
Tommy Tilden and his son Austin run a family-owned morgue and when the Sheriff brings in their next case — a ‘Jane Doe’ — it seems like an open-and-shut case. But as the autopsy proceeds, Tommy and Austin are left reeling as each layer of their inspection brings frightening new revelations and an unnatural force takes hold of the crematorium. Starring Emile Hirsch and Brian Cox.
The Belko Experiment Greg McLean, USA, World Premiere
On what appears to be a normal day at Belko Industries, Belko employees are horrified when they find out that they’ve become guinea pigs in a company-wide experiment which will lead them to either kill their fellow employees or be murdered themselves. The experiment is masterminded by a mysterious voice which is controlling the loud speaker and instructing the employees to slaughter each other by any means necessary.
Blair Witch Adam Wingard, USA, World Premiere
A group of college students venture into the Black Hills Forest in Maryland to uncover the mysteries surrounding the disappearance of James’ sister who many believe is connected to the legend of the Blair Witch. At first the group is hopeful, especially when a pair of locals offer to act as guides through the dark and winding woods; but as the endless night wears on, the group is visited by a menacing presence. Slowly, they begin to realize the legend is all too real and more sinister than they could have imagined.
Dog Eat Dog Paul Schrader, USA, North American Premiere
Dog Eat Dog is a gritty contemporary crime thriller about a trio of ex-cons, deep in the underbelly of Cleveland, who are hired for a kidnapping. When the botched abduction goes awry and gets completely out of control, the cons find themselves on the run, vowing to stay out of prison at all costs. Starring Nicolas Cage and Willem Dafoe.
Free Fire Ben Wheatley, United Kingdom, World Premiere
Justine has brokered a meeting in a deserted warehouse between two Irishmen and a gang led by Vernon and Ord who are selling them a stash of guns. But when shots are fired in the handover, a heart stopping game of survival ensues. Starring Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Michael Smiley, Sharlto Copley, and Armie Hammer.
The Girl With All the Gifts Colm McCarthy, United Kingdom, North American Premiere
A heart-stopping original Sci-fi thriller, about hope, humanity and a young girl who wants to save the world. Based on the critically acclaimed novel by Mike Carey. Starring Gemma Arterton, Paddy Considine, Glenn Close, and Sennia Nanua.
Headshot Kimo Stamboel and Timo Tjahjanto, Indonesia, World Premiere
The indomitable Iko Uwais (The Raid) stars in this fast and furious actioner as an amnesiac whose mysterious past as a killing machine comes to the fore when he takes on the henchmen of a vengeful drug lord.
Rats Morgan Spurlock, USA, World Premiere
Inspired by Robert Sullivan’s New York Times bestselling book, Rats is a horror documentary that plunges into the darkest depths to expose human kind’s most insidious parasite. Thriving in every corner of the globe, rats are harbingers of disease, death, and psychological trauma. In this film, exterminators, farmers, scientists, and even chefs bring us face-to-face with this complicated creature.
Raw (Grave) Julia Ducournau, France/Belgium, International Premiere
Everyone in Justine’s family is a vet. And a vegetarian. At 16, she’s a brilliant and promising student. When she starts at veterinary school, she enters a decadent, merciless and dangerously seductive world. During the first week of hazing rituals, desperate to fit in whatever the cost, she strays from her family principles when she eats raw meat for the first time. Justine will soon face the terrible and unexpected consequences of her actions as her true self begins to emerge…
Sadako vs. Kayako Kōji Shiraishi, Japan International Premiere After viewing a legendary cursed videotape, Natsumi discovers she has only two days before she will be killed by the demonic entity known as Sadako. The only solution: pitting the demon Sadako against Kayako, an accursed spirit possessing a haunted house where everyone who enters disappears.
The Bad Batch, Ana Lily Amirpour, USA, North American Premiere
A savage dystopian cannibal fairy tale set in a Texas wasteland where society’s rejects are just trying to make ends meat. Starring Suki Waterhouse, Jason Momoa, Giovanni Ribisi, Yolonda Ross, Jayda Fink, Cory Roberts, Louie Lopez, Keanu Reeves, and Jim Carrey.
Blind Sun, Joyce A. Nashawati, France/Greece, North American Premiere
Greece, sometime in the near future. A seaside resort is struck by a heavy heat wave, water is rare and violence is mounting. Ashraf, a solitary immigrant, is looking after a villa while its owners are away. On a dusty road crushed by the sun, he is stopped by a police officer for an identity check.
Buster’s Mal Heart, Sarah Adina Smith, US,A World Premiere
A mountain man on the run from authorities survives the winter by breaking into people’s empty vacation homes. He has recurring dreams of being lost at sea — only to find that he is, in fact, the man lost at sea. He is one man in two bodies. This is the story of how he split in two.
Colossal, Nacho Vigalondo, Canada, World Premiere
Gloria is an ordinary woman who, after losing her job and being kicked out of her apartment by her boyfriend, is forced to leave her life in New York and move back to her hometown. When news reports surface that a giant creature is destroying Seoul, South Korea, Gloria gradually comes to the realization that she is somehow connected to this far-off phenomenon. As events begin to spin out of control, Gloria must determine why her seemingly insignificant existence has such a colossal effect on the fate of the world. Starring Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis, Dan Stevens, Austin Stowell, and Tim Blake Nelson.
Godspeed, Chung Mong-Hong, Taiwan, World Premiere
Critically acclaimed director Chung Mong-Hong’s latest endeavour centres on a young man whose plan to reform himself takes a tumble when he, along with a seemingly carefree, innocent cab driver, is kidnapped over the heroin he is delivering. Starring Hong Kong veteran Michael Hui.
I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House, Osgood Perkins, Canada/USA, World Premiere
I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House is a modern and minimalist ghost story, set in an 1800s farmhouse in rural Massachusetts. Lily, a hospice nurse, retells the story of how she moved into the house to care for an ailing horror writer in the last few months of her life…and never left.
Interchange, Dain Iskandar Said, Malaysia/Indonesia, North American Premiere
A hard-nosed cop and a forensics photographer confront their darkest selves as a macabre murder investigation leads them to the realm of superstitions, shamans and the supernatural.
Message from the King, Fabrice Du Welz, United Kingdom/France/Belgium, World Premiere
After suddenly losing all contact with his younger sister, Jacob King arrives in Los Angeles determined to track her down. Piecing together her last known movements, King finds unsettling evidence of a life gone off the rails as he relentlessly pursues the truth about what happened to his sister. Stars Chadwick Boseman.
My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea, Dash Shaw, USA, World Premiere
High school can be brutal. Renowned comic book writer/artist Dash Shaw examines how the social structure within a high school changes when calamity strikes. Starring John Cameron Mitchell, Reggie Watts, Jason Schwartzman, Lena Dunham, Maya Rudolph, Susan Sarandon, and Alex Karpovsky.
Prevenge, Alice Lowe, United Kingdom
North American Premiere Written and directed by British comedian and actress Alice Lowe during her own pregnancy, Prevenge is a darkly comic drama about a pregnant woman out for revenge.
The Untamed (La región salvaje), Amat Escalante, Mexico/Denmark/France/Germany/Norway/Switzerl and North American Premiere
Young mother Alejandra is a working housewife, raising two boys with husband Angel in a small city. Her brother Fabian works as a nurse in a local hospital. Their provincial lives are upset with the arrival of the mysterious Veronica. Sex and love can be fragile in certain regions where strong family values, hypocrisy, homophobia and male chauvinism exist. Veronica convinces them that in the nearby woods, inside an isolated cabin, dwells something not of this world that could be the answer to all of their problems.
Without Name, Lorcan Finnegan, Ireland, World Premiere
Land surveyor Eric, alienated from urban existence and those who love him, travels to a remote and unnamed Irish woodland to assess its suitability for a dubious development project. Intangible elements are at play in this ethereal environment. The place seems to be imbued by an intelligence of sorts. A silhouette flits between trees. The place fascinates the fragmenting Eric as much as it disturbs him. Following in the psychonautic footsteps of the mysterious Devoy, Eric attempts to communicate with his surroundings, but he becomes a prisoner of a place without a name.
The 6th Beatle, Tony Guma and John Rose, USA/United Kingdom/Germany, World Premiere
This fresh take on music history argues for recognition in The Beatles’ legacy of the early promoter Sam Leach. Leach was a working- class Liverpudlian who championed the group, but was eventually replaced as manager by the wealthy, posh-accented Brian Epstein. Interviewing Leach, the band’s original drummer Pete Best and other Liverpool musicians, the film gives a touching portrait of a rock ‘n’ roll true believer.
ABACUS: Small Enough to Jail, Steve James, USA, World Premiere
Accused of fraud, Abacus Federal Savings of Chinatown, New York City becomes the only U.S. bank to face criminal charges in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, forcing its owners — the Chinese immigrant Sung family — into an underdog battle to defend their reputation and their community’s financial way of life.
Amanda Knox, Brian McGinn and Rod Blackhurst, USA/Denmark, World Premiere
Twice convicted and twice acquitted by Italian courts of the brutal killing of her British roommate Meredith Kercher, Amanda Knox became the subject of global speculation over the decade-long case. Featuring unprecedented access to key people involved and never-before-seen archival material, the film explores the case from the inside out. Amanda Knox is a human story that moves past the headlines to examine the often fraught relationship between true crime tragedy, justice and entertainment.
An Insignificant Man, Khushboo Ranka and Vinay Shukla, India, World Premiere
Arvind Kejriwal is an activist protesting against India’s government corruption when he decided to form a political party and take on the government directly. His main challenger was The Congress, one of the country’s oldest political parties. With unprecedented access, this film follows Kejriwal as he tries to overcome his own shortcomings to convince the people of New Delhi that he is the honest politician they need.
The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography, Errol Morris, USA, International Premiere
Elsa Dorfman is a master practitioner of a rare photographic format, the large size Polaroid 20×24 camera. For three decades in her studio in Cambridge, Massachusetts, she took thousands of portraits, including those of accomplished friends like poet Allen Ginsberg and singer Jonathan Richman. Now in her late 70s, she opens her archives and her memories for this documentary by her longtime friend Errol Morris.
Beauties of the Night María, José Cuevas, Mexico, Canadian Premiere
Eight years in the making, Beauties of the Night is a captivating group portrait of iconic Mexican showgirls, still thriving with grace and style in their ostensible golden years. Their stories speak volumes about what it means to be a no-longer-young woman in a career grounded in physical beauty and erotic appeal.
Bezness as Usual, Alex Pitstra, Netherlands North American Premiere
During the rise of mass tourism in the 1970s, young Tunisian men from poor families made it their business — or “bezness” — to romance women visiting from Europe. Among the children born from these relationships was filmmaker Alex Pitstra, who was raised by his mother in Holland and scarcely knew his father in Tunisia. In Bezness as Usual, Pitstra attempts to reconnect with his father and navigate the differences in their cultural attitudes and economic opportunities.
Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary, John Scheinfeld, USA, International Premiere
Revolutionary artist and innovator, John Coltrane expanded the frontiers of his craft by introducing elements from musical traditions the world over. Chasing Trane reveals the critical events, passions, experiences, and challenges that shaped the life of John Coltrane and his revolutionary sounds. It is a story of demons and darkness, of persistence and redemption. Above all else, it is the incredible spiritual journey of a man who found himself and, in the process, created an extraordinary body of work that transcends all barriers of geography, race, religion and age.
The Cinema Travellers, Shirley Abraham and Amit Madheshiya, India, North American Premiere
Once every year, travelling cinemas bring the wonder of the movies to faraway villages in India. Seven decades on, as their lorries and cinema projectors crumble and film reels become scarce, their audiences are lured by slick digital technology. Filmed over five years, The Cinema Travellers accompanies a shrewd exhibitor, a benevolent showman and a maverick projector mechanic who bear a beautiful burden — to keep the last travelling cinemas of the world running.
Citizen Jane: Battle for the City, Matt Tyrnauer, USA, World Premiere
Jane Jacobs, whose classic book The Death and Life of Great American Cities changed the way we look at and live in cities, would have celebrated her 100th birthday this year. This film explores our urban past and the future of cities through the lens of Jacobs, one of the 20th century’s great public intellectuals, and a pioneering community organizer, whose campaigns against New York’s master builder, Robert Moses, are the stuff of legend.
Forever Pure, Maya Zinshtein, Israel/United Kingdom/Ireland/Norway, International Premiere
Beitar Jerusalem Football Club is the most controversial sports team in Israel. Loyal fans, known as La Familia, take pride in Beitar being the only team in the Israeli Premier League that has never fielded an Arab player. In 2012, team owner Arcadi Gaydamak, a Russian-born billionaire signs two Muslim players from Chechnya. Their presence turns La Familia into opponents of their own team and initiates an ideological contest with wide ripples.
Gaza Surf Club, Philip Gnadt and Mickey Yamine, Germany World Premiere
Trapped in “the world’s largest open-air prison” and ruled by war, a new generation is drawn to the beaches. Sick of occupation and political gridlock, they find their own personal freedom in the waves of the Mediterranean — they are the surfers of Gaza.
Gimme Danger, Jim Jarmusch, USA, North American Premiere
Emerging from Ann Arbor, Michigan amidst a countercultural revolution, The Stooges’ powerful and aggressive style of rock ‘n’ roll blew a crater in the musical landscape of the late 1960s. Assaulting audiences with a blend of rock, blues, R&B, and free jazz, the band planted the seeds for what would be called punk and alternative rock in the decades that followed. Jim Jarmusch’s new film chronicles the story of The Stooges, one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll bands of all time.
Girl Unbound, Erin Heidenreich, Pakistan/Canada/Hong Kong/South Korea, World Premiere
Maria Toorpakai Wazir has spent her young life defying expectations. At age 25, she is an internationally competitive squash player. But in her family’s region of Waziristan, Pakistan, the Taliban forbid women from playing sports. This film follows Maria over several months as she represents Pakistan on the national team and carves her own identity, despite threats to her family.
I Am Not Your Negro, Raoul Peck, USA/France/Belgium/Switzerland, World Premiere
With unprecedented access to James Baldwin’s original work, Raoul Peck completes the cinematic version of the book Baldwin never finished — a radical narration about race in America today that tracks the lives and assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm
X and Medgar Evers.
I Called Him Morgan, Kasper Collin, Sweden/USA, Canadian Premiere
On a snowy night in February 1972, celebrated jazz musician Lee Morgan was shot dead by his wife Helen during a gig at a club in New York City. The murder sent shockwaves through the jazz community, and the memory of the event still haunts those who knew the Morgans. Filmmaker Kasper Collin examines the two unique personalities and the music that brought them together.
India in a Day, Richie Mehta, India/United Kingdom, International Premiere
India in a Day is India’s largest crowd-sourced documentary: the story of a single day, October 10, 2015. The film is a unique document, capturing a remarkable range of characters and personal reflections on what it means to be alive in India today, submitted by individuals from across the country.
In Exile, Tin Win Naing, Germany/Myanmar, World Premiere
Having filmed politically sensitive events such as the Saffron Revolution, Tin Win Naing fled his home country of Myanmar in 2009. Forced to leave his wife and children behind, he crossed illegally into Thailand, where he encountered the world of Burmese migrants toiling as plantation workers. Theirs is a world of exploitation and danger, but also of solidarity and resilience. This beautiful work of deeply compassionate first-person filmmaking is a testament to their struggle for justice.
Into the Inferno, Werner Herzog and Clive Oppenheimer, United Kingdom/Austria International Premiere
Werner Herzog and volcanologist Clive Oppenheimer take a global journey for a meditation on volcanoes and their meaning, with stops in Indonesia, Ethiopia, Iceland and North Korea. Into the Inferno artfully blends reportage, history, and philosophy into a riveting cinematic experience.
The Ivory Game, Austria/USA International Premiere
Karl Marx City Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker, USA/Germany World Premiere During the Cold War, filmmaker Petra Epperlein grew up in the German Democratic Republic — a.k.a. East Germany. Twenty-five years after its collapse, she returns to find the truth about her father’s rumoured connections to the notorious Stasi secret service. Epperlein and Tucker tap into declassified Stasi footage to explore a world that has eerie corollaries to expanding government surveillance today.
Mali Blues, Lutz Gregor, Germany North American Premiere
With her radiant voice and magnetic presence, Fatoumata Diawara is a rising star in world music. In Mali Blues, we follow her as she returns to her country to give her first home concert. Along the way, we meet other great Mali musicians: the Griot Bassekou Kouyaté, rapper Master Soumy, and Tuareg guitarist Ahmed Ag Kaedi, who fled the northern desert under threats by fundamentalists. The film is a powerful testament to their artistry and resilience.
Politics, Instructions Manual (Política, manual de instrucciones), Fernando León de Aranoa, Spain, International Premiere
Against a backdrop of social cutbacks, unemployment and street protests, the Spanish government invites those unhappy with the system to organize their own party and run for election. A group of activists and university professors accept the challenge. Politics, Instructions Manual is the story of how Podemos was built. The documentary constitutes a practical manual about how to elaborate and communicate a political project in only one year.
Rodnye (Close Relations), Vitaly Mansky, Latvia/Germany/Estonia/Ukraine, North American Premiere
Russian citizen and Soviet-born Ukrainian native Vitaly Mansky criss-crosses Ukraine to explore the experiences of his own large family after the Maidan revolution. They live scattered all across the country: in Lviv, Odessa, the separatist area in Donbass, and Sevastopol in Crimea. With his elegantly composed camerawork, Mansky gains a privileged view on a time of sweeping change.
The Ivory Game, Kief Davidson and Richard Ladkani, Austria/USA, International Premiere
The Ivory Game follows undercover intelligence operatives in Africa, Asia and Europe who are taking down the ivory cartels, as activists and rangers fight for the survival of the African elephant. As suspenseful as any thriller, the film follows a network of organized crime and corruption. The courage of these elephant advocates makes for a pulse-racing adventure with real-life urgency.
The Turning Point, USA, World Premiere
From Academy Award–winning filmmaker Fisher Stevens and Academy Award–winning actor, environmental activist, and U.N. Messenger of Peace Leonardo DiCaprio, The Turning Point presents an engaging account of how society can prevent the demise of endangered species, ecosystems, and native communities across the globe. DiCaprio interviews individuals from every facet of society in both developing and developed nations who provide unique, impassioned, and pragmatic views on what must be done today to transition our economic and political systems into environmentally friendly institutions.
The War Show, Andreas Dalsgaard and Obaidah Zytoon, Denmark/Finland/Syria, North American Premiere
Obaidah Zytoon and her friends journey through Syria to take part in the country’s revolution. It is an experience that will change their lives forever as they witness Syria’s spiral descent into civil war. In a highly personal road movie, we see a patchwork of epic, but real, human stories.
Water and Sugar: Carlo Di Palma, the Colours of Life, Fariborz Kamkari, Italy, International Premiere
A veritable journey through Italian cinema spanning Neorealism and “commedia all’italiana”, to the Manhattan of Woody Allen. This film celebrates the great Italian cinematographer Carlo di Palma who marked the history of world cinema forever.
Daughters of the Dust, Julie Dash, USA
A landmark in the history of American independent cinema, Julie Dash’s masterpiece was the first American feature directed by an African American woman to receive a general theatrical release. Set on the Sea Islands off the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina among the Gullah communities — descendants of slaves who have maintained many of their traditions. A large extended family, mostly of women, is divided on their expected move north as part of the Great Migration and the loss of tradition it represents.
Cohen Film Collection presents a new 2K digital restoration of this landmark work of American Independent Cinema.
General Report on Certain Matters of Interest for a Public Screening (Informe general sobre algunas cuestiones de interés para una proyección pública), Pere Portabella, Spain
A classic from one of the most important figures in the history of Spanish cinema, Pere Portabella’s monumental essay film constitutes the synthesis of the director’s openly political clandestine films and his surroundings. Shot in the months after the death of General Franco, it is a “documentary” film shot with the techniques of a fiction film.
Irma Vep, Olivier Assayas, France
When a director in decline decides to remake Louis Feuillade’s silent serial Les Vampires, he casts a Hong Kong action heroine who does not speak any French. On the chaotic set, she finds petty intrigues, clashing egos and a wardrobe mistress with a crush on her.
Irma Vep was shot on Super 16mm and originally released in prints that were blown up to 35mm, which increased the film grain and lessened the quality of the image. With this new digital restoration created directly from the original film elements and supervised by Assayas himself, Irma Vep returns looking better, and feeling more timely, than ever before.
Lumière! Thierry Frémaux for this edition, France
Lumière! reintroduces some of cinema’s foundational moments, through gorgeous restored prints of the work of the Lumière Brothers. Featuring a selection of 98 restored films, this unique look at the birth of cinema includes insightful commentary from Thierry Frémaux.
One Sings, the Other Doesn’t (L’une chante, l’autre pas), Agnès Varda, France
Agnès Varda’s 1977 masterwork is simultaneously a musical, a protest film, a portrait of a generation and, most importantly, a tender and insightful exploration of female friendship. Based on Varda’s own experiences in feminist politics at the time, One Sings, the Other Doesn’t follows the lives of two women, with the Women’s Liberation Movement in 1970s France as the backdrop.
One-Eyed Jacks, Marlon Brando, USA
Beautifully restored thanks to the efforts of Universal Studios in collaboration with The Film Foundation, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg — Marlon Brando’s only film as director is a brilliant and idiosyncratic revenge western about a betrayed bandit hunting down the partner who left him in the lurch. Starring Marlon Brandon and Karl Malden.
Pan’s Labyrinth, Guillermo del Toro, Mexico/Spain/USA
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Academy Award winning Pan’s Labyrinth remains a triumph of cinematic wonder. Following a bloody civil war, young Ofelia enters a world of unimaginable cruelty when she moves in with her new stepfather, a tyrannical military officer. Armed with only her imagination, Ofelia discovers a mysterious labyrinth and meets a faun who sets her on a path to saving herself and her ailing mother. But soon, the lines between fantasy and reality begin to blur, and before Ofelia can turn back, she finds herself at the center of a ferocious battle between good and evil. Starring Ivana Baquero, Ariadna Gil, Sergi López, Doug Jones, and Maribel Verdú.
Something Wild, Jonathan Demme, USA
A straitlaced businessman meets a quirky, free spirited woman at a downtown New York greasy spoon. Her offer of a ride back to his office results in a lunchtime motel rendezvous. This is just the beginning of a capricious interstate road trip that brings the two face to face with their hidden selves.
30th anniversary screening.
The Battle of Algiers (La battaglia di Algeri), Gillo Pontecorvo, Algeria/Italy
Gillo Pontecorvo’s gritty, stirring, and unabashedly anti-colonialist account of the urban war between battle-hardened French paratroopers and Algerian resistance fighters became an instant flashpoint for controversy and was banned in France until 1971.
Restored by Cineteca di Bologna and Istituto Luce — Cinecittà at L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in collaboration with Surf Film, Casbah Entertainment Inc. and CultFilms.
The Horse Thief, Tian Zhuangzhuang, China
One of the greatest achievements of Fifth Generation Chinese cinema, Tian Zhuangzhuang’s ravishingly beautiful epic set in the vastness of rural Tibet was famously praised by Martin Scorsese as the best film he saw in the 1990s.