Barack Obama and Jim Carrey Highlight TIFF Docs Programme

The Final Year

The Toronto International Film Festival’s® 2017 documentary programme presents a distinct collection of works from award-winning directors with an increased number of World Premieres and potential awards contenders. The TIFF Docs section will open with Sophie Fiennes’ Grace Jones: Bloodlight & Bami, a film that captures the legendary performer on and off stage. The lineup features celebrated filmmakers, including Morgan Spurlock, who reignites his battle with the food industry in Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!; Brett Morgen, with his portrait of primatologist Jane Goodall in Jane; Greg Barker, who grants viewers unprecedented access into President Barack Obama’s foreign policy team in The Final Year; Frederick Wiseman, who takes us behind the scenes of a New York institution in Ex Libris – The New York Public Library; and Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, who follow three Hasidic Jews who attempt to enter the secular world in One of Us. The TIFF Docs Programme is made possible through the generous sponsorship of A+E IndieFilms.

“Resistance is a key theme in this year’s documentaries,” said TIFF Docs Programmer Thom Powers. “We pay witness to rebels challenging the status quo in art, politics, sexuality, religion, fashion, sports and entertainment. They speak powerfully to our times as audiences seek inspirations for battling powerful and corrupt systems.”

The theme of resistance plays out in a diverse range of films, including Jed Rothstein’s The China Hustle, executive produced by Alex Gibney and Frank Marshall, which confronts a new era of Wall Street fraud; Matt Tyrnauer’s Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood, which profiles the sexual taboo breaker Scotty Bowers; Anjali Nayar and Hawa Essuman’s Silas, which portrays Liberian activist Silas Siakor; and Erika Cohn’s The Judge, which follows the first female Shari’a judge, Kholoud Al-Faqih, practicing law in the West Bank.

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We gain insights into high-profile figures in the worlds of entertainment and sports in films such as Chris Smith’s JIM & ANDY: the Great Beyond – the story of Jim Carrey & Andy Kaufman featuring a very special, contractually obligated mention of Tony Clifton, which examines Jim Carrey’s immersion into the role of Andy Kaufman; Lili Fini Zanuck’s Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars, which delivers the definitive biography of the rock legend; and Jason Kohn’s Love Means Zero, which investigates the controversial tennis coach Nick Bollettieri and his history with Andre Agassi.

Several films deepen our understanding of black cultural figures, including Sam Pollard’s Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me on the complex career of the multi-talented Rat Pack performer; Kate Novack’s The Gospel According to André on the trend-setting fashion writer André Leon Talley; and Sara Driver’s BOOM FOR REAL The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat on the formative years of the acclaimed artist.

TIFF Docs upholds its tradition of featuring films and filmmakers from around the world with films such as Violeta Ayala’s Cocaine Prison on the drug trade in Bolivia; Mila Turajlić’s The Other Side of Everything on the dissident activism of her Serbian mother; Hüseyin Tabak’s The Legend of the Ugly King on the Kurdish filmmaker Yilmaz Güney; Sabiha Sumar’s Azmaish: A Journey through the Subcontinent on the politics of India and Pakistan; and Gustavo Salmerón’s Lots of Kids, a Monkey and a Castle on his eccentric family in Spain. The TIFF Docs closing film is Emmanuel Gras’ Makala, which won the Grand Jury prize at Cannes’ Critics Week and portrays the heroic struggles of a subsistence labourer in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The 42nd Toronto International Film Festival® runs September 7 to 17, 2017.

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Films screening as part of the TIFF Docs programme include:

Azmaish: A Journey through the Subcontinent Sabiha Sumar, Pakistan
North American Premiere

BOOM FOR REAL The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat Sara Driver, USA
World Premiere

The China Hustle Jed Rothstein, USA
World Premiere

Cocaine Prison Violeta Ayala, Australia/Bolivia/France/USA
World Premiere

Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars Lili Fini Zanuck, United Kingdom
World Premiere

Ex Libris – The New York Public Library Frederick Wiseman, USA
North American Premiere

The Final Year Greg Barker, USA
World Premiere

The Gospel According to André Kate Novack, USA
World Premiere

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Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami Sophie Fiennes, United Kingdom/Ireland (Documentary Programme Opening Film)
World Premiere

JIM & ANDY: the Great Beyond – the story of Jim Carrey & Andy Kaufman featuring a very special, contractually obligated mention of Tony Clifton Chris Smith, USA/Canada
North American Premiere

Jane Brett Morgen, USA
World Premiere

The Judge Erika Cohn, Palestine/USA
World Premiere

The Legend of the Ugly King Hüseyin Tabak, Germany/Austria
World Premiere

Lots of Kids, a Monkey and a Castle Gustavo Salmerón, Spain
North American Premiere

Love Means Zero Jason Kohn, USA
World Premiere

Makala Emmanuel Gras, France (Documentary Programme Closing Film)
North American Premiere

OF SHEEP AND MEN Karim Sayad, Switzerland/Qatar
World Premiere

One of Us Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady, USA
World Premiere

The Other Side of Everything Mila Turajlić, Serbia/France/Qatar
World Premiere

Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me Sam Pollard, USA
World Premiere

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Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood Matt Tyrnauer, USA
World Premiere

Silas Anjali Nayar and Hawa Essuman, Canada/South Africa/Kenya
World Premiere

Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken! Morgan Spurlock, USA
World Premiere

Canadian documentaries to be announced on August 9.

For film synopses, cast lists, images and more information see tiff.net/docs