Grace Jones: Bloodlight & Bami
Grace Jones: Bloodlight & Bami

The Toronto International Film Festival’s 2017 documentary program presents a distinct collection of works from award-winning directors, and 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 Program 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.

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 laborer in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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

2017 TIFF Docs Program 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

Documentary Program Opening Film.
Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami
Sophie Fiennes, United Kingdom/Ireland
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

Documentary Program Closing Film.
Makala
Emmanuel Gras, France
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

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

Share this article ...