tiff docs toronto 2012

TIFF unveils (and renames) its 2012 documentary lineup

The Toronto International Film Festival has renamed their Real to Reel programme TIFF Docs, likely to capitalize on the explosive popularity of Hot Docs. With this change comes the announcement of this year's selections, including entries from Alex Gibney (Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson), Julien Temple (The Filth and the Fury), and Errol Morris (The Fog of War).

Music lovers will want to check out the brutal legal battle between a music label and Jared Leto's band Thirty Seconds to Mars (Artifact), as well as the epic time-travelling voyage to the heart of the hometown of Sex Pistols' chronicler Julien Temple, who proposes it's the modern Babylon. From musicians, writers and artists to dangerous thinkers, political radicals and above all ordinary people, this is the story of London's immigrants, its bohemians and how together they changed the city forever (London - The Modern Babylon).

Three separate docs (A World Not Ours, The Gatekeepers, and State 194) enter the troublesome ring of Middle East politics.

If, like me, biographical docs are more your speed, then you have the opportunity to learn how Jamaica transformed rapper Snoop Dogg into a Lion (Reincarnated), explore the media manipulation in the arrest of Roman Polanski (Odd Man Out), hear a recounting of the life and troubled times of controversial Cineplex founder Garth Drabinsky (Show Stopper), or voyeuristically comb through forty years of correspondence between playwright Sam Shepard and best friend Johnny Dark (Shepard & Dark).

Some seriously investigatory docs include a look at the abuse of power in the catholic church (Mea Maxima Culpa), Ben Johnson's 1988 Seoul Olympics steroid scandal (9.79*), and the notorious case of five black and Latino teenagers who were wrongly convicted of raping a woman known as the Central Park Jogger (Central Park Five).

Such multifaceted topics as pimps (Iceberg Slim), drug dealers (How to Make Money Selling Drugs), mass murderers (Act of Killing), moon worshippers (Lunarcy!), disco dancers (Secret Disco Revolution), underground dwellers (No Place on Earth), daring surfers (Storm Surfers 3D), and of course bees (More Than Honey) help round out the docs schedule.

The complete TIFF Docs list follows alphabetically below.

9.79* - Daniel Gordon
Filmmaker Daniel Gordon investigates the 1988 Olympic race that resulted in disgrace for Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson, a gold medal for the USA's Carl Lewis, and major controversy over drug testing.

Act of Killing, The - Joshua Oppenheimer, Christine Cynn
In this chilling and inventive documentary, executive produced by Errol Morris, the unrepentant former members of Indonesian death squads are challenged to re-enact some of their many murders in the style of the American movies they love.

Artifact - Bartholomew Cubbins
Telling harsh truths about the modern music business, Artifact gives intimate access to singer/actor Jared Leto and his band Thirty Seconds to Mars as they battle their label in a brutal lawsuit and record their album This Is War. The film is a true artifact of our times, as its subjects struggle with big questions over art, money and integrity.

As If We Were Catching A Cobra - Hala Alabdalla
Focusing on the work of cartoonists in Egypt, Algeria, Syria and Palestine, this documentary examines how comic strips and caricatures are becoming a vehicle for dissent and a voice for freedom of expression in the Arab world.

Camp 14, Total Control Zone - Marc Wiese
An enthralling documentary portrait of twenty-nine-year-old Shin Dong-Huyk, who was born and spent the first two decades of his life behind the barb wire of a North Korean labour camp, until his dramatic escape launched him into an outside world he had never known.

Central Park Five, The - Sarah Burns, David McMahon, Ken Burns
The devastating new documentary by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon on the infamous "Central Park Jogger" case details how a rush to judgment by police, media and an outraged public led to five black and Latino teenagers being convicted for a heinous crime that they did not commit.

Far Out Isn't Far Enough - Brad Bernstein
Far Out Isn't Far Enough follows the multiple careers of the artist Tomi Ungerer, who had stints as a bestselling children's book author, an illustrator of 1960s protest posters, and a creator of explicit erotica until he found himself shunned from the American publishing industry.

Fidaï - Damien Ounouri
A seventy-year-old veteran of the Algerian War of Independence speaks about his years of struggle as an underground soldier for the National Liberation Front, in this fascinating documentary by first-time filmmaker Damien Ounouri.

First Comes Love - Nina Davenport
With great wit and insight, New York City filmmaker Nina Davenport documents her quest to have a baby as a single mother over forty. Davenport's film taps into the zeitgeist topic of how the modern family is being re-imagined.

Gatekeepers, The - Dror Moreh
In an unprecedented and candid series of interviews, six former heads of the Shin Bet -- Israel's intelligence and security agency -- speak about their role in Israel's decades-long counterterrorism campaign, discussing their controversial methods and whether the ends ultimately justify the means.

Girl From The South, The - José Luis García
Twenty years after peace activist Im Su-kyong swore that she would cross the border between North and South Korea on foot, Argentine documentary filmmaker José Luis García goes in search of the young woman who was once known as "The Flower of Reunification."

How To Make Money Selling Drugs - Matthew Cooke
This fascinating documentary offers an in-depth look at the high-stakes world of drug dealing and drug enforcement, featuring interviews with top-ranking government officials and such celebrities as Woody Harrelson, Susan Sarandon, The Wire creator David Simon and rappers Eminem, 50 Cent and Rick Ross.

Iceberg Slim, Portait Of A Pimp - Jorge Hinojosa
Director Jorge Hinojosa blends pulp fiction imagery with ambitious biographical digging to tell the story of legendary pimp/author Iceberg Slim, whose gritty and poetic books about ghetto life gave birth to Street Lit. Interviews include Chris Rock, Ice-T, Snoop Dogg and Quincy Jones.

London, The Modern Babylon - Julien Temple
Director Julien Temple (The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle) surveys the past century of London's tumultuous history in this vibrant documentary.

Lunarcy! - Simon Ennis
In this irresistibly zany, sharp-witted documentary, director Simon Ennis introduces us to an unforgettable group of characters whose obsession with the moon and lunar colonization has given birth to utopian dreams of truly galactic proportions.

Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence In The House Of God - Alex Gibney
Academy Award®-winning documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side) explores the charged issue of pedophilia in the Catholic Church, following a trail from the first known protest against clerical sexual abuse in the United States and all way to the Vatican.

Men At Lunch - Seán Ó Cualáin
This remarkable new documentary explores the story behind one of the most iconic images of the twentieth century: the 1932 photograph of workmen taking their lunch while perched on a girder high above New York City.

More Than Honey - Markus Imhoof
With dazzling nature photography, Academy Award®-nominated director Markus Imhoof (The Boat is Full) takes a global examination of endangered honeybees -- spanning California, Switzerland, China and Australia -- more ambitious than any previous work on the topic.

No Place On Earth - Janet Tobias
This extraordinary testament to survival from Emmy-winning producer/director Janet Tobias brings to light a story that remained untold for decades: that of thirty-eight Ukrainian Jews who survived World War II by living in caves for eighteen months.

Reincarnated - Andrew Capper
VICE magazine presents the unexpected journey of a modern icon, rapper Snoop Dogg, as he is transformed in Jamaica, and is inspired to make a new kind of record -- one without drugs, murder, or rap.

Roman Polanski: Odd Man Out - Marina Zenovich
Marina Zenovich dives into the mysterious details of Roman Polanski's arrest in Switzerland in 2009, which came suspiciously soon after the release of her ground-breaking 2008 documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired. In this follow-up investigation, Zenovich raises fresh questions about legal manipulation, media distortion and power politics.

Secret Disco Revolution, The - Jamie Kastner
Cheekily fun and intellectually absorbing, Jamie Kastner's meticulously researched documentary casts a new light on the much-maligned musical genre, contending that the disco era represented a moment of mass liberation for women, African-Americans and gay men.

Shepard & Dark - Treva Wurmfeld
Director Treva Wurmfeld captures an indelible portrait of the complex relationship between playwright/actor Sam Shepard and his close friend Johnny Dark as they prepare forty years of their correspondence for publication, stirring up old memories both good and bad.

Show Stopper: The Theatrical Life Of Garth Drabinsky - Barry Avrich
Barry Avrich (Unauthorized: The Harvey Weinstein Project) recounts the life and troubled times of controversial Cineplex and Live Ent founder Garth Drabinsky, whose daring innovations and flamboyant personal style reshaped the Canadian entertainment industry.

State 194 - Dan Setton
Filmmaker Dan Setton gained unprecedented access to the highest circles of the Palestinian leadership as he chronicles Prime Minister Salam Fayaad's quest to have Palestine recognized by the United Nations as an independent state.

Storm Surfers 3D - Christopher Nelius, Justin McMillan
This pulse-racing real-life adventure follows two of Australia's greatest surf legends on their quest to hunt down and ride the Pacific's biggest and most dangerous waves. With 3D cameras installed on their boards, Ross Clarke-Jones and Tom Carroll defy middle age by pushing the limits of what they -- and cinema technology -- can do.

Walls of Dakar, The - Abdoul Aziz Cissé
This captivating documentary explores the contemporary graffiti culture of Dakar, where painters, rappers and taggers have created a language of dissent and uncensored self-expression that gave prescient warning of the insurgency to come.

World Not Ours, A - Mahdi Fleifel
Imbued with nostalgia and striking a wide range of emotional notes, filmmaker Mahdi Fleifel travels to the Lebanese refugee camp of Ain El Helweh to explore how the camp's displaced people use the World Cup series to articulate their own ideas of home, community, victory and hope.

Writing by Johnny Larocque. Film still from Lunarcy!

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