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Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, David Geffen and Amy Berg Among TIFF’s Mavericks Program Guests

Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, David Geffen and Amy Berg Among TIFF's Mavericks Program Guests

The Toronto International Film Festival has announced this year’s Mavericks lineup, which invites audiences into discussions with leaders in the film industry and beyond. 

Guests in attendance this year include filmmakers Amy Berg, Tom Donahue, Sophie Fiennes, Kyle Humphrey, Susan Lacy, Álvaro Longoria and Graydon Sheppard; actors Javier Bardem, Jackie Chan, Johnny Depp, and Danny Glover; producers Damien Echols and Lorri Davis; media mogul David Geffen, philosopher Slavoj Žižek, musician Natalie Maines and casting director Ellen Lewis.

READ MORE: A complete list of all announced films in every program at TIFF can be found here.

“Daring filmmakers, philanthropic trailblazers, political activists and provocative storytellers fill the diverse slate of talent in this year’s programme,” said Thom Powers, Toronto International Film Festival Mavericks Programmer, in a statement. “The Festival’s Mavericks sessions offer audiences a rare experience into the minds of these creative leaders and a fascinating glimpse into their remarkable stories.”

This year, the Mavericks programme showcases the world premieres of “American Masters Inventing David Geffen,” “Casting By,” “The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology,” the North American premiere of “Sons of the Clouds: The Last Colony,” and the Canadian premiere of “West of Memphis.”

A complete list of events:

American Masters Inventing David Geffen
Notoriously press and camera-shy, David Geffen reveals himself for the first time in this unflinching portrait of a complex and compelling man. His far-reaching influence — as agent, manager, record industry mogul, Hollywood and Broadway producer, billionaire and philanthropist — has helped shape American popular culture for the past four decades. Following the world premiere screening of this new film, Geffen and filmmaker, American Masters creator and executive producer Susan Lacy hit the stage for a live conversation with Thom Powers.

Casting By
Director Tom Donahue’s new documentary showcases filmmaking’s unsung hero — the casting director — taking audiences on a fast-paced journey through the last half century of Hollywood history from an entirely new perspective. Paying tribute to the legacy of the legendary casting director Marion Dougherty, Donahue shines a light on one of the most overlooked and least understood crafts in filmmaking. An iconoclast pioneer in her field, Dougherty helped usher in the New Hollywood with movies like Midnight Cowboy and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The film features interviews with top stars and filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Clint Eastwood, Glenn Close and Robert Duvall. This world premiere screening culminates with a live onstage discussion with Donahue, actor Danny Glover, and casting director Ellen Lewis (Hugo, Hyde Park on Hudson). Moderated by Thom Powers.

Graydon Sheppard and Kyle Humphrey (Shit Girls Say)
With their now-iconic Twitter-feed-turned-web-series Shit Girls Say, Toronto-based filmmaking duo Graydon Sheppard and Kyle Humphrey unleashed a deluge of gender and culturally-specific memes. In this intimate and inevitably irreverent conversation, every topic is on the table as Sheppard and Humphrey discuss their sudden entry into pop culture history and present a brand-new episode of SGS (a world premiere — also screening separately as part of Short Cuts Canada).

In Conversation With… Jackie Chan
Actor, director, writer, producer, comedian, stuntman, action choreographer and martial artist Jackie Chan continues to do it all. His tireless work in more than 100 films over four decades has made him a global icon. There may be no corner of this planet where his face — and fists — are unknown. In this exclusive Mavericks Conversation, Chan will discuss the full range of his career. In a Festival exclusive, he will also offer a sneak preview glimpse of his upcoming film, Chinese Zodiac. Moderated by Cameron Bailey.

Sons of the Clouds: The Last Colony
Produced by and starring Academy Award®-winning actor Javier Bardem, Álvaro Longoria’s documentary Sons of the Clouds: The Last Colony examines the current political turmoil in Northern Africa, and the role of the Western world’s realpolitik foreign policies. These policies have generated tremendous instabilities that have erupted into violence and chaos. The film focuses on Western Sahara, the last African colony according to the UN, and a region on the brink of war. The film follows Bardem’s personal journey through the path of world diplomacy and the devastating reality of an abandoned people. Following the North American premiere screening, Bardem joins Longoria onstage to discuss how he discovered this catastrophic human rights issue, and his determination to bring the cause of the Saharan refugees to the attention of the UN Assembly.

The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology
Depending on one’s view, the philosopher and academic superstar Slavoj Žižek is a genius, madman, contrarian, clown, sensationalist, radical leftist, scourge of liberals, or all the above. What he never fails to be is wildly entertaining and provocative. Director Sophie Fiennes reunites with the very funny provocateur Žižek for the sequel to their collaboration The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema. Žižek examines film clips, both famous and obscure, for their overt and hidden ideological implications, tracing their connections to current times, while Fiennes does a masterful job editing Žižek’s commentary into film scenes and placing him into clever recreations of famous film sets. Fiennes and Žižek (making his first visit to the Festival) will engage in an onstage discussion following this world premiere screening.

West of Memphis
From Academy Award-nominated director Amy Berg, in collaboration with first-time producers Damien Echols and Lorri Davis along with acclaimed Academy Award-winning filmmakers Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, comes West of Memphis — a powerful examination of a catastrophic failure of justice in Arkansas. This infamous case of three teenagers — known as the West Memphis Three — who were imprisoned for a heinous crime despite overwhelming evidence of their innocence, has galvanized grassroots supporters and high-profile advocates such as Johnny Depp, Eddie Vedder, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and musician Natalie Maines. Told and made by those who lived it, Berg’s unprecedented access to the inner workings of the defence allows the film to show the investigation, research and appeals process in a way that has never been seen before. A pre-taped video introduction by Jackson precedes the screening, which is followed by a live discussion about the case and the movement it inspired with Berg, Echols, Davis, Maines and Depp. Moderated by Thom Powers.

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