TIFF Docs, City to City, and TIFF Cinematheque (updated)

Alanis Obomsawin's Hi-Ho Mistahey!
More films to add to the ever growing line-up for TIFF 2013. The documentaries for this year's Toronto International Film Festival were announced today, and the list looks pretty darn good. Among the films are four Canadian titles set for world premieres. Among the Canuck films are new works by Alan Zweig, whose 15 Reasons to Live was my favourite film at this year’s Hot Docs, and Alanis Obomsawin (Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance), whose NFB doc Hi-Ho Mistahey! chronicles the Attawapiskat First Nation’s campaign to draw attention to the Canadian government’s neglect of Aboriginal children. Interestingly, Canadian filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal (Payback) had been cited in a leak festival preview by Realscreen Magazine as being tapped for the festival, but her film Watermark is not among the films listed in the programme. Nor is Alex Gibney’s Lance Armstrong doc Lance Armstrong: The Road Back, which had been cited by the magazine as being set for a world premiere. Realscreen, however, was correct that new films by Errol Morris and Claude Lanzmann would hit Toronto, so the Baichwal and Gibney films could appear on future announcements.

Update: I missed the news of the City to City and Cinematheque programming for this year. It’s a mistake on my part, but since his year’s City to City spotlights the work coming out of Athens, Greece, I just put some Windex on the blog and it’s now right as rain. Opa!

***Update the second: It should be noted that neither Watermark nor Lance Armstrong were noted in the Realscreen article as being scheduled for "World Premiere"s at Toronto, but simply as "premieres". The information in the aforementioned article does not necessarily entail a press leak either, but is rather the subject of an article that reports bits of information that were confirmed by various sources but not commented upon by a spokesperson for the Festival itself. (It's a question of semantics, but that's another debate; moreover, the word 'leak' was not chosen with any intent to reflect negatively on the publication, the author, or the festival/any of its employees.) As noted above and in other posts on this blog and elsewhere, there are more TIFF announcements to come.***

The TIFF Cinematheque brings classic cinema to the festival in rare prints and new restorations. Among the canonical works screening at TIFF this year are a 4K restoration of Hiroshima, mon amour starring Amour’s Emmanuelle Riva and a new digital restoration of David Cronenberg’s Shivers, which was commissioned by TIFF in celebration of the upcoming David Cronenberg: Evolution exhibit coming to TIFF Bell Lightbox this fall. TIFF-goers on a budget should especially take note of the Cinematheque line-up, as all Cinematheque screenings are complimentary during the festival. Tickets are available on the day of the screening at the Lightbox box office two hours before the screening on a first-come, first-served basis.

They docs that are definitely playing are:

Ain't Misbehavin'
Marcel Ophuls, France North American Premiere
Master documentarian Marcel Ophüls (The Sorrow and the Pity) turns his gaze back on his own extraordinary life with this memoir, both rigorous and playful, that touches on love, arduous investigations into fraught moments in recent history, and Ophüls’ famous father, director of such masterpieces as The Earrings of Madame de...

At Berkeley
Frederick Wiseman, USA North American Premiere
Direct cinema pioneer Frederick Wiseman takes an in-depth look at the preeminent American university during a fall semester that saw a vigorous debate taking place over tuition hikes, budget cuts, and the future of higher education in the United States.

Beyond the Edge
Leanne Pooley, New Zealand World Premiere
Director Leanne Pooley (The Topp Twins) employs rarely seen footage, extensive archival interviews and stunning 3D technology to recreate the epic tale of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s conquest of Mt. Everest in 1953.

Burt's Buzz
Jody Shapiro, Canada World Premiere
Director Jody Shapiro (How to Start Your Own Country) ventures into the backwoods of Maine to find the reclusive Burt Shavitz, founder and (bearded) face of the all-natural personal care brand Burt’s Bees, in this wry, thoughtful and intimate portrait of a highly idiosyncratic pioneer.

The Dark Matter of Love
Sarah McCarthy, UK North American Premiere
Documentarian Sarah McCarthy (The Sound of Mumbai: A Musical) returns to the Festival with this extraordinary portrait of a Wisconsin family’s struggle to bond with a trio of Russian orphans — the last such case to predate Russia’s recent controversial ban on adoptions by Americans.

The Dog
Allison Berg and Frank Keraudren, USA World Premiere
An astonishing documentary portrait of the late John Wojtowicz, whose attempted robbery of a Brooklyn bank to finance his male lover’s sex-reassignment surgery was the real-life inspiration for the classic Al Pacino film Dog Day Afternoon.

Faith Connections
Pan Nalin, France/India World Premiere
A spectacular exploration of varied paths of devotion that converge at one of the world’s most extraordinary religious events — the Kumbh Mela — Pan Nalin’s thoughtful documentary is a genuinely spiritual journey.

Filthy Gorgeous: The Extraordinary World of Bob Guccione
Barry Avrich, Canada World Premiere
Barry Avrich’s account of the life of this most unlikely revolutionary of the 1960s counterculture is energetic, iconoclastic and well researched, examining Guccione’s long and audacious career, most notably as publisher of the hugely influential pornographic magazine Penthouse and producer of the porn epic Caligula.

Finding Vivian Maier
Charlie Siskel and John Maloof, USA World Premiere
This intriguing documentary shuttles from New York to France to Chicago as it traces the life story of the late Vivien Maier, a career nanny whose previously unknown cache of 100,000 photographs has earned her a posthumous reputation as one of America’s most accomplished and insightful street photographers.

Hi-Ho Mistahey!
Alanis Obomsawin, Canada World Premiere
Internationally acclaimed filmmaker and activist Alanis Obomsawin (Kahnesatake: 270 Years of Resistance) chronicles the Attawapiskat First Nation’s campaign to draw global attention to the Canadian government’s shocking neglect of Aboriginal youth education.

Ignasi M.
Ventura Pons, Spain World Premiere
Spanish director Ventura Pons returns to documentary filmmaking with this study of world-renowned museum expert Ignasi Millet. HIV-positive yet promiscuous, accustomed to opulence yet now struggling to endure Spain’s economic crisis, Ignasi is a fascinating set of contradictions — and Pons’ film is a portrait of both the man and his times.

Jodorowsky's Dune
Frank Pavich, USA North American Premiere
This fascinating documentary explores the genesis of one of cinema’s greatest epics that never was: cult filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky’s (El Topo) adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi classic Dune, whose cast would have included such icons as Salvador Dalí, Orson Welles and Mick Jagger.

The Last of the Unjust
Claude Lanzmann, France/Austria North American Premiere
In this riveting exploration of contested history, the inexhaustible Holocaust documentarian Claude Lanzmann (Shoah) revisits a 1975 interview with Benjamin Murmelstein, the Viennese rabbi who worked with Adolf Eichmann to arrange for the emigration of 120,000 Jews, an ethically thorny collaboration which saved many lives — and landed Murmelstein in prison.

The Mayor
Emiliano Altuna Fistolera, Mexico Canadian Premiere
This engrossing documentary introduces us to Mexican millionaire mayor Mauricio Fernandez, a larger-than-life and frequently controversial politician who lords over Latin America’s wealthiest municipality from his eccentrically decorated palace -- and has a predilection for taking justice into his own hands.

Chris Jordan, USA World Premiere
Renowned photo-based artist Chris Jordan’s feature debut focuses on the albatrosses who inhabit the remote Midway Atoll island, nesting amidst machinery abandoned after World War II.

Mission Congo
David Turner and Lara Zizic World Premiere
During an escalating refugee crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo, U.S. televangelist Pat Robertson took to the airwaves to raise millions for Operation Blessing, a charity project he deemed a total success. This jaw-dropping documentary investigates what really happened and unearths the real object of Robertson’s operation.

The Square (Al Midan)
Jehane Noujaim, Egypt/USA World Premiere
This documentary epic is the result of director Jehane Noujaim (Control Room) and her crew’s dogged chronicling of activism, unrest and revolution in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

A Story of Children and Film
Mark Cousins, United Kingdom North American Premiere
Director Mark Cousins follows his epic documentary The Story of Film with this globe-spanning rumination on children in the cinema, surveying such classics as The 400 Blows, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Fanny and Alexander, Los Olvidados, and The White Balloon .

Tim’s Vermeer
Teller, USA World Premiere
Renowned illusionists and professional debunkers Penn & Teller unite for this documentary investigation into the mysterious methods of Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer, whose photo-realistic paintings predated the invention of the camera by 150 years.

The Unknown Known
Errol Morris, USA North American Premiere
Academy Award-winning filmmaker Errol Morris (The Fog of War, Standard Operating Procedure) continues his exploration of post-9/11 American imperialism with this riveting, feature-length interview with notorious former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Unstable Elements
Madeleine Sackler, USA World Premiere
In the Republic of Belarus, Europe’s last remaining unreconstructed Communist dictatorship, the Belarus Free Theatre risks censorship, imprisonment and worse to stage their provocative and subversive plays in secret performances at home and to critical acclaim abroad. Director Madeleine Sackler goes behind the scenes with this group of gutsy performers as they brave a renewed government crackdown on dissenters in 2010.

When Jews Were Funny
Allan Zweig, Canada World Premiere
Insightful and often hilarious, the latest from documentary filmmaker Alan Zweig surveys the history of Jewish comedy, from the early days of Borsht belt to the present, ultimately exploring not just ethnicity in the entertainment industry, but also the entire unruly question of what it means to be Jewish.


Wild Duck

The Daughter (I Kori)
Thanos Anastopoulos, Greece/Italy, North American Premiere
Taking inspiration from the financial crisis that continues to devastate Greece, the third feature from Thanos Anastopoulous is a taut and timely thriller as well as an artful political allegory, about a teenage girl who abducts the young son of the man she blames for her own father’s bankruptcy.

The Eternal Return of Antonis Paraskevas (I Aionia Epistrofi tou Antoni Paraskeua)
Elina Psykou, Greece North, American Premiere
Antonis arrives at a hotel resort by the sea. It is wintertime, the hotel is closed and Antonis drifts around alone. He has a lot of time to kill…until the news announces the disappearance of the famous TV host Antonis Paraskevas. Starring Christos Stergioglou and Maria Kallimani.

J.A.C.E. – Just Another Confused Elephant
Menelaos Karamaghiolis, Greece/FYROM/Portugal/Turkey, North American Premiere
Twice-orphaned J.a.c.e. — a Greek-Albanian child — witnesses a massacre that wipes out his foster family. He then falls into the hands of the predators, ruthless gangsters who traffic children abroad for various reasons, from panhandling to the organ trade. J.a.c.e. ends up in Athens, begging at street corners, exploring the horrors of institutions for young offenders, or serving obscure patrons in a world where violent loss seems to be his only destiny. The movie follows J.a.c.e.’s odyssey into a dark universe of abuse, murder and fear, as he desperately seeks a family and a sense of belonging. Starring Alban Ukaj, Stefania Goulioti, Argiris Xafis, Ieronymos Kaletsanos, Kora Karvouni, Akyllas Karazissis, Yiannis Tsortekis, Soma Badekas, Diogo Infante, Christos Loulis, Franco Trevisi and Refet Abazi.

Miss Violence
Alexandros Avranas, Greece, North American Premiere
On the day of her birthday, 11-year-old Angeliki jumps off the balcony and falls to her death with a smile on her face. While the police and social services investigate this apparent suicide, Angeliki’s family insists that it was an accident. What is the secret that young Angeliki took with her? Why does her family persist in trying to forget her and move on with their lives? These are the answers that social services seek when they visit the family’s clean and orderly home. The father has made sure nothing is missing and that everything is where it belongs. It seems as if nothing can betray them. But Angeliki’s younger brother unintentionally reveals clues that will gradually shatter the family’s well-polished world, forcing them to come face to face with what they have been hiding for so many years. Starring Themis Panou, Eleni Roussinou, Reni Pittaki and Sissy Toumasi.

Penny Panayotopoulou, Germany/Greece, North American Premiere
Anna lives with her dog Manu. She thinks they will live together forever. When he dies, she buries him in a family’s garden across the street. But unlike Manu, the happy, bustling family does not need her love and affection. September recalls that ambivalent mood between endings and beginnings, and the struggle to find meaning in and happiness out of life's ordinariness. Starring Kora Karvouni, Maria Skoula and Nikos Diamantis.

Standing Aside, Watching (Na Kathese ke na Kitas)
Yorgos Servetas, Greece World Premiere
Antigone moves to a quiet town in search of an unassuming life, unaware of the silent violence that lurks underneath the peaceful surface. Soon, situations around her will force her to decide whether she should take action or stand aside and watch. Standing Aside, Watching is a meta-Western film about indifference, violence and involvement. Starring Marina Symeou, Nikos Yorgakis, Yorgos Kafetzopoulos, Kostis Siradakis, Yorgos Ziovas and Marianthi Pantelopoulou.

To the Wolf (Sto Lyko)
Aran Hughes and Christina Koutsospyrou, Greece/United Kingdom, North American Premiere
To the Wolf is a stark exploration of two shepherd families struggling to survive in the wilderness of the Greek mountains at a time of deep national crisis. With Ilias Katsaros, Spiridoula Katsarou, Adam Paxnis, Kiki Paxni, Vasiliki Spiropoulou and Giorgos Katsaros.

Unfair World (Adikos Kosmos)
Filippos Tsitos, Greece/Germany Toronto Premiere
Sotiris is a police interrogator. One day he decides to be fair with people. He is determined to exonerate every single poor guy who committed a small crime because life was cruel. In an effort to save an innocent man, Sotiris kills someone. Dora, a lonely cleaning lady, is the only witness to the crime. Sotiris needs Dora’s help, and even though she lacks compassion, he feels she is his only ally. Will the unrighteous Dora save the virtuous Sotiris? And what about love? Starring Antonis Kafetzopoulos, Theodora Tzimou and Christos Stergioglou.

Wasted Youth
Argyris Papadimitropoulos and Jan Vogel, Greece Toronto Premiere
Summer in Athens: a heat wave blasts the city. A teenage skateboarder sets out for a normal day with his friends. A middle-aged man struggles with raising his family — stuck at a job he dislikes and facing an impending nervous breakdown. Inspired by true events, this is a portrait of Athens. Starring Harris Markou and Ieronymos Kaletsanos.

Wild Duck
Yannis Sakaridis, Greece, World Premiere
Dimitris, an indebted telecommunications engineer, shuts down his business and gets involved in a phone-hacking investigation with an ex-colleague. Their rigorous search on mobile phone antennas leads them to a suspicious flat in a tower block. Dimitris’ attention is caught instantly by an ill woman who lives above this flat. Starring Alexandros Logothetis, Themis Bazaka and George Pyrpasopoulos.



An Autumn Afternoon
Yasujiro Ozu, Japan, Digital restoration
Yasujiro Ozu's final film is the gentle, heartbreaking story of a man's dignified resignation to life's ever-shifting currents. Though widower Shuhei Hirayama (Chishu Ryu) has been living comfortably for years with his grown daughter, a series of events leads him to accept and encourage her marriage and departure.

Gun Crazy
Joseph H. Lewis, USA, 35mm restored print
This stylistically audacious, seminal “rural noir” from director Joseph H. Lewis placed American reverence for firearms in its crosshairs, unloading a sociopathic-erotic crime spree — and setting the template for subsequent lovers-on-the-run thrillers like Bonnie and Clyde.

Hiroshima mon amour
Alain Resnais, France/Japan, 4K digital restoration
Alain Resnais’ epochal masterpiece Hiroshima mon amour stars Emmanuelle Riva as a French woman visiting post-war Hiroshima, who has an affair with a local architect (Eiji Okada) that evokes painful memories of her first love, a German soldier, in Nazi-occupied France.

The Lovely Month of May (Le Joli Mai)
 Chris Marker and Pierre Lhomme, France, digital restoration
Long unavailable in the U.S. and a major work in the oeuvre of filmmaker Chris Marker (1921–2012), this restoration of Le Joli Mai (The Lovely Month of May) debuted at the Cannes film festival, 50 years after the film first premiered there. It was created according to the wishes of Marker, supervised by the film's cinematographer and co-director, Pierre Lhomme. Le Joli Mai is a portrait of Paris and Parisians during May 1962, the first springtime of peace after the ceasefire with Algeria and the first time in 23 years that France was not involved in any war.

Manila in the Claws of Light (Maynila: Sa Mga Kuko Ng Liwanag)
Lino Brocka, Philippines, 4K digital restoration
A brilliant fusion of florid melodrama and gritty realism, Lino Brocka’s story of a country boy traversing the myriad pitfalls of Manila’s urban jungle — presented here in a dazzling 4K restoration — is widely considered to be the greatest Philippine film of all time.

Rome, Open City (Roma, città aperta)
Roberto Rossellini, Italy, restored print
One of the most powerful and influential films ever made, Roberto Rossellini’s Rome Open City focuses on a resistance leader who, fleeing the Gestapo, takes refuge with an ally and his pregnant fiancée (Anna Magnani). Shot in the streets of Rome during the last days of the war, this legendary film ushered in Italian neorealism, a key development in the history of cinema.

David Cronenberg, Canada, digital restoration
David Cronenberg’s third feature film announced him as the master of “body horror” and features a fast spreading parasite that quickly overruns a Montreal apartment complex, turning its residents into sex-crazed zombies. A TIFF digital restoration in partnership with Technicolor Creative Services Toronto. Colour correction was supervised by David Cronenberg.

 The Toronto International Film Festival runs Sept. 5-15. 
Please visit www.tiff.net for more information.