Toronto International Film Festival Sets 24 Docs for 2004

by Eugene Hernandez

A scene from Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein's documentary, "Gunner Palace," which will screen at the Toronto International Film Festival. Image courtesy of the Toronto International Film Festival Group.

The Toronto International Film Festival unveiled a roster of 24 documentaries that will screen in a number of different festival sections this year, with more titles to be announced soon. Among the movies set so far is the latest from Ken Burns, "Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson," which explores the life of the renowned boxer, and a new doc by George Butler, a look at the filmmaker's good friend John Kerry, "Going Upriver -- The Long War of John Kerry." The fest will run from September 9-18 throughout Toronto.

Among the topical titles is Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein's "Gunner Palace," which offers a look at the war in Iraq from the perspective of soldiers on the frontlines. Fest organizers, in an announcement, describe the film as "a revealing, sometimes chilling document of the war in Iraq, in which Tucker travels alongside American troops through one of the most volatile areas of Baghdad, recording the ravages of war and the horrors left unreported by the mainstream media."

James D. Stern and Adam Del Deo's "The Year of the Yao" follows Yao Ming through his first year as a professional basketball player, while Elida Schogt's "Zero The Inside Story" follows a woman who, in the words of a festival release, "journeys to India to find the origins of the number zero and explores the secrets behind it, starting from the cultural roots of zero and how this mathematical concept touches human consciousness in unexpected ways.

Among the docs from other fests set to screen are Patricio Guzman's "Salvador Allende" from Cannes, Jonathan Caouette's "Tarnation," which was a hit at Sundance, Cannes and other events, as well as Bruce Weber's "A Letter to True," from Berlin.

Toronto International Film Festival Documentary List (Festival section indicated in parenthesis)

"10e Chambre, Instants D'Audiences," directed by Raymond Depardon (Masters)

"Salvador Allende," directed by Patricio Guzman (Masters)

"A Letter to True," directed by Bruce Weber (Visions)

"Tarnation," directed by Jonathan Caouette (Visions)

"Zero The Inside Story," directed by Elida Schogt (Visions)

A scene from Don Boyd's doc, "Andrew and Jeremy Get Married," which is also slated for September's Toronto International Film Festival. Image courtesy of the Toronto International Film Festival Group.

"Andrew and Jeremy Get Married," directed by Don Boyd (Real to Reel)

"Be Here to Love Me," directed by Margaret Brown (Real to Reel)

"Darwin's Nightmare," directed by Huber Sauper (Real to Reel)

"Double Dare," directed by Amanda Micheli (Real to Reel)

"Le Fantome D'Henri Langlois," directed by Jacques Richard (Real to Reel)

"Final Cut: The Making and Unmaking of Heaven's Gate," directed by Michael Epstein (Real to Reel)

"Going Upriver - The Long War of John Kerry," directed by George Butler (Real to Reel)

"Gunner Palace," directed by Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein (Real to Reel)

"I Died in Childhood...," directed by Georgy Paradjanov (Real to Reel)

"The Last Victory," directed by John Appel (Real to Reel)

"Letters to Ali," directed by Clara Law (Real to Reel)

"Scaredsacred," directed by Velcrow Ripper (Real to Reel)

"Shake Hands with the Devil: The Journey of Romeo Dallaire," directed by Peter Raymount

"Three of Hearts," directed by Susan Kaplan (Real to Reel)

"Touch the Sound," directed by Thomas Riedelsmeimer (Real to Reel)

"Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson," directed by Ken Burns (Real to Reel)

"Whale of a Tale," directed by Peter Lynch (Real to Reel)

"In The Year of the Yao," directed by James D. Stern and Adam Del Deo (Real to Reel)

"Le Fantome de l'Operatrice," directed by Caroline Martel (Wavelengths)