Toronto Film Fest 2009: Documentary Lineup

Toronto International Film Festival announces a slate of seventeen documentaries, to date, that will screen as part of the 34th edition of the Festival. Bridging programmes such as Vanguard, Real to Reel, Special Presentations and Sprockets Family Zone, this year’s docs expose diverse topics, from revelations in the realms of politics, justice, religion and arts to probing explorations of cultural phenomena and the natural world.
 
“This year’s documentaries have a sense of immediacy like never before,” said Thom Powers, TIFF documentary programmer. “Current events are getting a fresh perspective in films about the post-crash economy, Iran, Berlusconi, surrogate mothers, U.S. Army veterans and more. These films are sure to generate a lot of debate.”
 
Now live at tiff.net/blogs, the Festival’s Doc Blog returns to offer visitors all of the exciting details and comprehensive information surrounding this year’s inspired non-fiction films, and will feature contributions from programmers and filmmakers alike.
 
Ticket packages for the Festival are now available for purchase by cash, debit or Visa†. Purchase online at tiff.net/thefestival, by phone at 416-968-FILM or 1-877-968-FILM (Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., closed weekends and holidays) or in person at the Festival Box Office at Nathan Phillips Square (Box Office hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week), located at 100 Queen Street West, in the white tent, west of the square. The Festival runs from September 10 to 19, 2009.
 
                                                                                                                                                                                            DOCUMENTARIES
 
Vanguard
 
The White Stripes Under Great White Northern Lights
Emmett Malloy, USA                                                                                 

World Premiere

An intimate look inside The White Stripes’ cross-Canada tour, as Jack and Meg White touch down in remote northern communities and surprising city venues.

 
Real to Reel
 
The Art of the Steal
DonArgott,USA                                                                                                                                              

World Premiere
This art-world whodunit investigates what happened to the Barnes collection of Post-Impressionist paintings—valued in the billions—that fell prey to a power struggle after the death of owner Albert Barnes.
 
Bassidji Mehran Tamadon, Iran/France/Switzerland                                                                                                                       
International Premiere
For three years, Mehran Tamadon immersed himself into the very heart of the most extremist supporters of the Islamic republic of Iran (the Bassidjis) to understand their ideas.
 
Cleanflix
Andrew James and Joshua Ligairi,USA                                                                                                                        

World Premiere
The Mormon religion preaches against the content of R-rated films, so several Utah-based entrepreneurs started offering “clean” versions of Hollywood movies at specialty DVD stores. But the thriving industry runs into legal problems and its own sex scandal.
 
Collapse
ChrisSmith,USA                                                                                                                                                             
World Premiere
From the acclaimed director of American Movie, this portrait of radical thinker Michael Ruppert explores his apocalyptic vision of the future, spanning the crises in economics, energy, environment and more.
 
Colony Carter Gunn and Ross McDonnell,Ireland                                                                                                                     
World Premiere
Several beekeepers around the U.S. cope with colony collapse disorder – the phenomenon that has caused millions of bees to mysteriously disappear – in this beautifully shot debut from a gifted directing duo.
 
Google Baby 
Zippi Brand Frank,Israel                                                                                                                             

International Premiere
In India, the latest form of outsourcing is surrogate mothers who carry embryos for couples who can’t have a child. Director Zippi Brand Frank follows an entrepreneur who proposes a new service – baby production for western customers.
 
How to Fold a Flag
Michael Tucker andPetraEpperlein,USA                                                       

World Premiere
The makers of Gunner Palace follow U.S. soldiers as they create new lives post-Iraq—from a Congressional candidate in Buffalo to a cage fighter in Louisiana—set against the backdrop of the 2008 election.
 
L’Enfer de Henri-Georges Clouzot
Serge Bromberg andRuxandra Medrea,France                                     

North AmericanPremiere

Film archivist Serge Bromberg uncovers a treasure trove of imagery from an unfinished film calledL’Enferstarring Romy Schneider and directed by the French master Henri-Georges Clouzot, known forWages of Fear andDiabolique.

 
The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers
Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith, USA                                                                                                                                             WorldPremiere

Daniel Ellsberg was a valued strategist inside the American government until he leaked the Pentagon Papers and exposed the lies of the Vietnam War. This thrilling documentary chronicles this momentous chapter in history and how Richard Nixon’s obsession over the case brought down his own government.

 
Presumed Guilty Roberto Hernández and Geoffrey Smith,Mexico                                                                                       
World Premiere
Two young Mexican attorneys attempt to exonerate a wrongly convicted man by making a documentary. In the process, they expose the contradictions of a judicial system that presumes suspects guilty until proven innocent.
 
Schmatta: Rags to Riches to Rags  MarcLevin,U
SA                                                                                                                

WorldPremiere
Veteran filmmaker Mark Levin (Slam) looks at the past and present of New York’s garment district, from its heyday as a base for immigrant labour and unions to its recent decline.
 
Snowblind Vikram Jayanti,USA/United Kingdom                                                                                                    
InternationalPremiere
Rachael Scdoris, a blind 23-year-old, doesn’t let her disability stop her from competing in one of the most gruelling endurance contests in the world: the Iditarod dogsled race traversing 1,100 miles o Alaska’s most rugged terrain. But being blind is only the start of her challenges.
 
The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls
Leanne Pooley, NewZealand                                                                                    

North American Premiere
Fun, disarming and musically provocative, the Topp Twins are New Zealand’s finest lesbian country-and-western singers and the country’s greatest export since rack of lamb and the Lord of the Ringsmovie trilogy.
 
Videocracy
ErikGandini,Sweden                                                                                                                                         

North American Premiere
This penetrating look at the media empire of Italy’s prime minister Silvio Berlosconi reveals how his reality TV shows full of bikini-clad women enriched his friends and beguiled a nation.
 
Special Presentation
 
Good Hair JeffStilson,USA                                                                                                                                                  
Canadian Premiere
Rendered speechless by his daughter’s question—“Daddy, how come I don’t have good hair ?”—comedian Chris Rock embarks on a quest to understand African American hair culture.
 
Sprockets Family Zone
 
Turtle: The Incredible Journey
Nick Stringer, United Kingdom/Austria/Germany                                                       

Canadian Premiere
Join a logger heard turtle on an extraordinary journey through the fascinating underwater world and witness how changes in the oceans are affecting marine life in this beautiful and spectacular ocean adventure.