The 40th edition of the mammoth Toronto International Film Festival continued to announce titles this morning, with over 60 films in the TIFF Docs, Vanguard, Midnight Madness and Masters programs.
The documentary lineup has plenty of promising titles, including films exploring the lives of Aretha Franklin, Malala Yousafzai, Sharon Jones, Janis Joplin, Arcade Fire and Yo-Yo Ma. There’s also Gillian Armstrong’s doc “Women He’s Undressed,” which depicts costume designer Orry-Kelly — an Australian man who designed an epic 282 films during Hollywood’s golden age (including “Some Like It Hot,” “Casablanca,” and “An American in Paris”). But as TIFF notes, as gay male during a closeted era, he was also a keeper of secrets. Armstrong’s film employs inventive recreations, interviews and film clips to uncover his story, and our interest is already officially piqued.
In the other programs, there’s still no news if “Carol” or “About Ray” will head to Canada’s largest city, but it did confirm Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Wim Wenders, Jafar Panahi, Takashi Miike, Alexander Sokurov and Philippe Garrel will all have their latest films at the festival.
A list of announced titles with synopses care of TIFF:
Sydney Pollack’s film of Aretha Franklin’s ‘Amazing Grace.’ Filmed during church services in Los Angeles on January 13 and 14, 1972, the footage was never seen until now. Featuring Reverend James Cleveland, the Southern California Community Choir and the
Atlantic Records rhythm section.
A Flickering Truth Pietra Brettkelly, New Zealand/Afghanistan North American Premiere
As Afghanistan teeters on an unpredictable future, A Flickering Truth uncovers the world of three dreamers and cinephiles, the dust of
100 years of war and the restoration of 8,000 hours of film archive that they risked their lives to conceal. What surprises will emerge
from the cloak of time?
A Journey of a Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers Geeta Gandbhir and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, USA/Pakistan World Premiere
A unit of Bangladeshi female police officers leave their families to join a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Haiti and challenge
stereotypes about the capabilities of Muslim women. The film focuses on three of the women as they grapple with the harsh realities of becoming foot soldiers in a UN Peacekeeping Mission, and the pressures on their families left behind.
A Young Patriot (Shao Nian * Xiao Zhao) Du Haibin, China/USA/France Canadian Premiere
This intimate documentary chronicles five years in the life of a young Chinese student, whose fervent idealism and dedication toMao’s legacy stands in stark contrast to contemporary China’s turn towards state capitalism.
Being AP Anthony Wonke, United Kingdom/Ireland World Premiere
Being AP is an intimate documentary portrait of AP McCoy – the greatest jump jockey of all time. As he passes his 40th birthday, an
age beyond which most jockeys are unable to continue, AP contemplates his obsession with winning, the years of sacrifice that he has endured to become a champion, the chase for a 20th successive title, and then a future without racing.
Bolshoi Babylon Nick Read, United Kingdom World Premiere
For the first time, Russia’s Bolshoi Theatre allows filmmakers full and uncensored access backstage. After a brutal acid attack on the
ballet company’s director Sergei Filin in January 2013, Bolshoi Babylon follows the dancers and managers through a new season as
they try to regain their status as the world’s leading dance company.
Dark Horse Louise Osmond, United Kingdom Canadian Premiere
Set in a former mining village in Wales, Dark Horse is the inspirational true story of Jan Vokes and her group of local friends who
decide to take on the elite ‘sport of kings’ and breed themselves a racehorse. Raised on a slagheap allotment, their foal becomes a
source of inspiration and hope.
He Named Me Malala Davis Guggenheim, USA International Premiere
Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Davis Guggenheim shows us how Malala Yousafzai, who was targeted by the Taliban and severely wounded by a gunshot when returning home on her school bus, remains committed to fighting for education for all girls
worldwide. Providing an inside glimpse into her extraordinary life — from her close relationship with her father who inspired her love for education, to her impassioned speeches at the UN, to her everyday life at home.
Heart of a Dog is a personal essay film that explores themes of love, death, and language. The director’s voice is a constant presence
as stories of her dog Lolabelle, her mother, childhood fantasies and political, and philosophical theories unfurl in a seamless song-like
Hitchcock/Truffaut Kent Jones, USA/France Canadian Premiere
In 1962, two of the greatest minds in cinema sat down for an intimate and expansive conversation. Based on the original recordings of
this meeting — used to produce the influential book Hitchcock/Truffaut — this film illustrates the greatest cinema lesson of all time and
plummets us into the world of the creator of Psycho, The Birds, and Vertigo. David Fincher, Richard Linklater, Martin Scorsese and
other legendary filmmakers add to the discussion of Hitchcock’s enduring legacy and influence on cinema.
Horizon Bergur Bernburg and Fridrik Thor Fridriksson, Iceland/Denmark World Premiere
A documentary about the late Icelandic painter Georg Gudni Hauksson, whose innovative interpretations of forms and ideas paved
the way for a renaissance in Icelandic landscape painting.
In Jackson Heights Frederick Wiseman, USA North American Premiere
Frederick Wiseman’s latest documentary is about the diverse neighborhood of Jackson Heights in Queens, New York where 167
languages are spoken among immigrants from every continent, and half the population is foreign-born. The community is an example
of America as a ‘melting pot’ settled and made strong by people committed to making their neighborhood work despite cultural and
It All Started At The End (Todo comenzó por el fin) Luis Ospina, Colombia World Premiere
Filmmaker Luis Ospina recounts the history of El Grupo de Cali, the prolific bohemian artistic collective that revolutionized Colombian
film and literature in the 1970s and ’80s.
Janis: Little Girl Blue Amy Berg, USA North American Premiere
Academy Award-nominated director Amy Berg reveals the raw, sensitive and powerful woman behind the legend in Janis: Little Girl
Blue; the quintessential story of the short, turbulent, epic existence that changed music forever. Chan Marshall (aka Cat Power) lends
her raspy Southern voice to the film, reading Janis Joplin’s achingly intimate letters.
On January 7, 2015, French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo was the victim of a terrorist attack that killed 12 people, including some of the greatest French cartoonists such as Cabu, Wolinski, Charb, Tignous and Honoré. The following day a policewoman was shot dead in the street. On January 9, another attack. Four hostages were murdered. This film pays tribute to all these victims.
Miss Sharon Jones! Barbara Kopple, USA
Two-time Academy Award-winner Barbara Kopple follows R&B queen Sharon Jones over the course of an eventful year, as she
battles a cancer diagnosis and struggles to hold her band the Dap-Kings together. Additionally, TIFF Cinematheque will showcase
Kopple’s film Harlan County, USA which played at the first Festival in 1976.
The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble Morgan Neville, USA World Premiere
This film tells the extraordinary story of the Silk Road Ensemble, an international musical collective created by legendary cellist Yo-Yo
Ma. The film follows this group of diverse instrumentalists, vocalists, composers, arrangers, visual artists, and storytellers as they
explore the power of music to preserve tradition, shape cultural evolution, and inspire hope.
Our Last Tango (Un tango más) German Kral, Germany/Argentina World Premiere
Argentina’s María Nieves and Juan Carlos Copes are the best-known couple in tango’s history and shaped the dance like no others.
They danced passionately, loved and hated each other for almost 50 years, until one day they separated, and left a gap in the tango
scene. Now, almost at the end of their lives, they tell their story for the first time. Executive produced by Wim Wenders.
P.S. Jerusalem Danae Elon, Canada/Israel World Premiere
Danae Elon grew up in Jerusalem. After many years of living abroad, she moves back with her three young sons and French-Algerian
husband Philip who are fresh to the city. Over three years, she documents their experiences, bearing witness to what makes
Jerusalem so fiercely contested. A looming presence is the memory of her late father, the esteemed author Amos Elon, seen in home
movies. Through the prism of one family’s life, the film exposes a complex portrait of Jerusalem today.
The Reflektor Tapes Kahlil Joseph, United Kingdom World Premiere
The Reflektor Tapes is a fascinating insight into the making of Arcade Fire’s international #1 album Reflektor. The film recontextualizes the album experience, transporting the viewer into a kaleidoscopic sonic and visual landscape. The Reflektor Tapes
blends never-before-seen personal interviews and moments captured by the band to dazzling effect, and features 20 minutes of
exclusive unseen footage, filmed only for cinema audiences.
Return of the Atom (Atomin paluu) Mika Taanila and Jussi Eerola, Finland/Germany World Premiere
Finland was the first country in the West to give permission to build a new nuclear power plant after the Chernobyl disaster. The film
portrays the strange and stressful life in the small Finnish ‘nuclear town’ Eurajoki during an era of nuclear renaissance.
Sherpa Jennifer Peedom, Australia/United Kingdom Canadian Premiere
Director Jennifer Peedom set out to uncover tension in the 2014 Everest climbing season from the Sherpas’ point of view, and instead
captured a tragedy when an avalanche struck, killing 16 Sherpas. Sherpa tells the story of how the Sherpas united after the tragedy in
the face of fierce opposition to reclaim the mountain they call Chomolungma.
Thru You Princess Ido Haar, Israel International Premiere
In her late 30s, Samantha lives in New Orleans and works as a caregiver. She often uploads her songs and musings online and none
of her clips get more than a few dozen hits. She doesn’t imagine that someone, on the other side of the world, is about to expand the
number of listeners by millions. Kutiman, an Israeli musician, discovered Samantha’s songs on YouTube and weaves them with
audiovisual symphonies composed of musical clips that people posted online.
Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom Evgeny Afineevsky, Ukraine/USA/UnitedKingdom Canadian Premiere
Chronicling events that unfolded over 93 days in 2013 and 2014, Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom witnesses the formation
of a new civil rights movement in Ukraine. What started as peaceful student demonstrations supporting European integration morphed
into a full-fledged violent revolution calling for the resignation of the nation’s president. The film captures the remarkable mobilization of nearly a million citizens from across the country protesting the corrupt political regime that utilized extreme force against its own
people to suppress their demands and freedom of expression.
Women He’s Undressed Gillian Armstrong, Australia International Premiere
During Hollywood’s golden age, the Australian known as Orry-Kelly was a costume designer for an astonishing 282 films including
classics like Some Like It Hot, Casablanca, and An American in Paris. As a gay male during a closeted era, he was also a keeper of
secrets. Director Gillian Armstrong (Oscar and Lucinda; Little Women) employs inventive recreations, interviews and film clips to
uncover his story.
A jealous husband out of control, his sexy actress wife, a sleazy Hollywood director, a reckless drug messenger, a disoriented young
woman, an ex-con hot dog vendor, a troubled student on a mysterious mission, a high-rise window cleaner on an illicit break, an
elderly sketch artist, a hectic paramedics team and a group of hungry nuns: a cross-section of contemporary urbanites whose lives
and loves intertwine. They live in an unsure world where anything could happen at any time. An unexpected chain of events can seal
many fates in a mere 11 minutes.
The Assassin (Nie Yinniang) Hou Hsiao-hsien, Taiwan North American Premiere
Ninth century China. A general’s ten-year-old daughter Nie Yinniang is abducted by a nun who transforms her into an exceptional
assassin. Years later, she is sent back to the land of her birth with orders to kill the man to whom she was promised. Nie Yinniang
must now choose between the man she loves and the sacred way of the righteous assassins.
Bleak Street (La calle de la amargura) Arturo Ripstein, Mexico/Spain North American Premiere
Mexican maestro Arturo Ripstein (Deep Crimson) directs this true-crime story about the bizarre 2009 murders of midget-wrestling
brothers Alberto and Alejandro Jiménez. Starring Patricia Reyes Spíndola, Nora Velázquez and Sylvia Pasquel.
Blood Of My Blood (Sangue Del Mil Sangue) Marco Bellocchio, Italy International Premiere
Italian master Marco Bellocchio (Fists in the Pocket, Vincere) returns with this haunting, enigmatic tale that takes us from the 17th
century to the present day as it traces the dark history of a cursed monastery.
Cemetery of Splendour (Rak Ti Khon Kaen) Apichatpong Weerasethakul North American Premiere
Thailand/United Kingdom/France/Germany/Malaysia A young medium and a middle-aged hospital volunteer investigate a case of mass sleeping sickness that may have supernatural roots
in the gorgeous, mysterious, and gently humourous new film from Palme d’Or winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Uncle Boonmee
Who Can Recall His Past Lives).
A winter evening. A car on a country road. It’s snowing, visibility is poor. Out of nowhere, a sled comes sliding down a hill. The car
comes to a grinding halt. The driver is Tomas, a writer. He cannot be blamed for the tragic accident. It’s also not young Christopher’s
fault, who should have taken better care of his brother. Tomas falls into a depression. The film follows Tomas and his efforts to give
meaning to his life again. Starring James Franco, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Rachel McAdams.
Francofonia Alexander Sokurov, Germany/France/Netherlands North American Premiere
Master filmmaker Alexander Sokurov (Russian Ark) transforms a portrait of the Louvre museum into a magisterial, centuries-spanning
reflection on the relation between art, culture and power.
In the Shadow of Women Philippe Garrel, France North American Premiere
A Parisian documentary filmmaker becomes embroiled in a romantic triangle in this luminous love story from the great director
Philippe Garrel (Frontier of Dawn, Regular Lovers).
Jafar Panahi’s Taxi Jafar Panahi, Iran Canadian Premiere
Internationally acclaimed director Jafar Panahi (This is Not a Film) drives a yellow cab through the vibrant streets of Tehran, picking
up a diverse (and yet representative) group of passengers in a single day. Each man, woman, and child candidly expresses his or her
own view of the world, while being interviewed by the curious and gracious driver/director. His camera, placed on the dashboard of his
mobile film studio, captures a spirited slice of Iranian society while also brilliantly redefining the borders of comedy, drama and
Our Little Sister (Umimachi Diary) Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan North American Premiere
Three sisters — Sachi, Yoshino and Chika — live together in a large house in the city of Kamakura. When their father — absent from
the family home for the last 15 years — dies, they travel to the countryside for his funeral, and meet their shy teenage half-sister.
Bonding quickly with the orphaned Suzu, they invite her to live with them. Suzu eagerly agrees, and a new life of joyful discovery
begins for the four siblings. Starring Haruka Ayase, Masami Nagasawa, Kaho and Suzu Hirose.
The Pearl Button (El Botón de Nácar) Patricio Guzmán, Chile/France/Spain North American Premiere
The great Chilean filmmaker Patricio Guzmán (The Battle of Chile, Nostalgia for the Light) chronicles the history of the indigenous
peoples of Chilean Patagonia, whose decimation by colonial conquest prefigured the brutality of the Pinochet regime.
Rabin, The Last Day Amos Gitaï, Israel/France North American Premiere
Lauded director Amos Gitaï (Kippur) delves into the prelude and aftermath of the 1995 assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak
Rabin in this gripping docudrama.
Right Now, Wrong Then Hong Sang-soo, South Korea North American Premiere
The delightful new film from Festival favourite Hong Sang-soo (In Another Country) presents two variations on a potentially fateful
romantic encounter between a filmmaker and a painter, tracing each to its own very distinct outcome.
A squad of unsuspecting cops goes through a trapdoor to Hell when they stumble upon a Black Mass in an abandoned building. The
nightmarish feature debut Baskin is the first-ever Midnight Madness film from Turkey.
The Devil’s Candy Sean Byrne, USA World Premiere
The director of the 2009 Midnight Madness People’s Choice Award winner The Loved Ones is back with an equally fresh twist on the
supernatural genre. A struggling artist (Ethan Embry) and his family buy the house of their dreams only to discover the property’s
mysterious dark past and a former tenant who wants more than to simply come back home. From the producers of Midnight Madness
hits You’re Next and The Guest.
.Midnight Madness Closing Night Film.
The Final Girls Todd Strauss-Schulson, USA International Premiere
Max (American Horror Story’s Taissa Farmiga) is a high school senior whose mom (Malin Akerman) was a celebrated ’80s scream
queen. At a screening, Max and her friends are mysteriously transported inside her mom’s most infamous movie, where they must
fend off the camp counselors’ raging hormones, battle a deranged machete-wielding killer and find a way to escape the movie and get
The Girl in the Photographs Nick Simon, USA World Premiere
Big-city glamour clashes with small-town values and a killer’s knife, in this bloody cocktail of terror from director Nick Simon and
executive producer Wes Craven. Colleen’s life in the sleepy town of Spearfish is disrupted when she starts receiving photographs of
brutally murdered women. Things get even crazier for Colleen when L.A. based celeb-photographer Peter Hemmings (Kal Penn)
returns to his hometown of Spearfish to investigate.
Green Room Jeremy Saulnier, USA North American Premiere
Broke, tired and at each other’s throats after a cancelled gig, a young punk rock band accepts a sketchy matinee show to get
themselves home. When they stumble upon something they weren’t supposed to witness, the quartet is trapped in a terrifying siege.
Directed by Jeremy Saulnier (of 2013 Cannes Film Festival FIPRESCI Prize winner Blue Ruin), the film stars Anton Yelchin, Imogen
Poots, Alia Shawkat, and Patrick Stewart.
Green Room is preceded by the previously announced short film The Chickening from directors Nick DenBoer and Davy Force.
Hardcore Ilya Naishuller, Russia/USA World Premiere
Resurrected with no recollection of his past, a cyborg named Henry (the audience’s POV) and his ally, Jimmy (Sharlto Copley, District
9) must fight through the streets of Moscow in pursuit of Henry’s kidnapped wife in the world’s first action-adventure film to be entirely
shot from the first person perspective.
The Mind’s Eye Joe Begos, USA World Premiere
Joe Begos returns with a psychokinetic thriller about Zack Connors (Graham Skipper), whose abilities have kept him off the grid for
years until he’s recruited by the mysterious Dr. Slovak. The snowy New England landscape turns into a whirlwind of psychic rage,
flying axes, and brutal revenge as Zack does everything in his power to stop Dr. Slovak’s deadly descent into synthetically engineered
Southbound Roxanne Benjamin, David Bruckner, Patrick Horvath and Radio Silence, USA World Premiere
Five intertwining tales of terror unfold along an endless desert highway. On a desolate stretch of road, weary travellers — two men on
the run from their past, a band on their way to the next gig, a man struggling to get home, a brother in search of his long-lost sister
and a family on vacation — are forced to confront their worst fears and darkest secrets in these interwoven tales of terror and remorse
on the open road.
SPL 2 – A Time For Consequences Soi Cheang, Hong Kong International Premiere
The anticipated follow-up to the bone-cracking martial arts brawler SPL (also known as Sha Po Lung and Kill Zone) that debuted in
the programme in 2005 stars Midnight Madness discovery Tony Jaa (Ong Bak). When an undercover cop (Wu Jing) has his cover
blown and is thrown into a prison in Thailand run by a crime syndicate, he must team up with a prison guard (Jaa) to bust out and get
revenge on those who wronged him. Filled with gun battles, prison riots and frenetic fight choreography, SPL 2 might knock the wind
out of you — and possibly a few teeth.
Yakuza Apocalypse (Gokudo Daisenso) Takashi Miike, Japan North American Premiere
Japanese cinematic extremist Takashi Miike returns to his gonzo roots with this mind-melter that finds room for vampires, gangsters,
monsters, martial arts and even a yakuza knitting circle. A true master and MVP of the programme, Miike wowed previous Midnight
Madness audiences with such hits as Fudoh: The New Generation, Audition, The City of Lost Souls, Ichi the Killer, Zebraman, The
Great Yokai War and Sukiyaki Western Django. He returns with a film too wild to be described and too fun to be missed!
Young and unemployed Gu is desperate to make some money and participates in a clinical trial for a pharmaceutical company’s new
drug. As an unknown side effect, he slowly transforms into a fish. This bizarre situation becomes Korea’s hottest news and fish man Gu
is catapulted into the spotlight and becomes a superstar, only to fall from grace just as quickly.
Demon Marcin Wrona, Poland/Israel World Premiere
Peter is a stranger in the hometown of his future wife Janet. As a wedding gift from the bride’s grandfather, he receives a piece of land
where the two can build a house and raise a happy family. While preparing the land for construction, Peter finds hidden bones of
human bodies in the ground beneath his new property. Then very strange things begin to happen.
Der Nachtmahr AKIZ, Germany North American Premiere
When 17-year -old Tina passes out at a party, she assumes it was just the side-effect of her wild lifestyle on the decadent Berlin-party
scene. Soon she becomes unsettled and nervously manic as a mysterious ugly creature starts to haunt her, in both her dreams and
waking hours, and nobody believes her.
Evolution Lucile Hadžihalilović, France World Premiere
A 10-year-old boy discovers a dead body in the sea just before he is brought to the hospital for a mysterious injection. Before long,
something appears to be growing inside of him.
February Osgood Perkins, USA/Canada World Premiere
In February, beautiful and haunted Joan makes a bloody and determined pilgrimage across a frozen landscape toward a prestigious all
girls prep school, where Rose and Kat find themselves stranded after their parents mysteriously fail to retrieve them for winter break.
As Joan gets closer, terrifying visions begin plaguing Kat while Rose watches in horror as she becomes possessed by an unseen evil
On a weekend trip to the Hamptons with friends, Ruth (Lindsay Burdge) encounters a mysterious ghost (Peter Vack) haunting the
guest house. One thing leads to another and they find themselves in the throes of an unexpected one-night stand. Soon, Ruth begins
suffering from a bizarre sexually-transmitted disease that leaves doctors and friends confused and frightened. As her body and social
connections begin to disintegrate, she must find a way to reconcile her condition with the world around her, or risk losing herself to a
void from which she may never emerge.
Love Gaspar Noé, France North American Premiere
January 1, early morning. The telephone rings. Murphy wakes up next to his young wife and two-year-old child. He listens to his
voicemail: Electra’s mother, sick with worry, wants to know whether he has heard from her daughter. Electra’s been missing for a long
time. She’s afraid something really bad has happened to her. Over the course of a long rainy day, Murphy finds himself alone in his
apartment, reminiscing about the greatest love affair of his life: his two years with Electra. A burning passion full of promises, games,
excess and mistakes.
Men & Chicken (Mænd og Høns) Anders Thomas Jensen, Denmark North American Premiere
Men & Chicken revolves around two special-natured brothers, Elias and Gabriel (Mads Mikkelsen and David Dencik). Upon their
father’s passing, they find out through their father’s will that they are adopted. Elias and Gabriel decide to seek out their natural father
and set out for the island Ork, where their biological father lives. Here they discover a most paralyzing, yet liberating truth about
themselves and their family.
The Missing Girl A.D. Calvo, USA World Premiere
The Missing Girl tells the story of Mort, the lonely and disillusioned owner of a comic book shop, and Ellen, the emotionally disruptive,
aspiring graphic novelist he’s hired. The story involves the search for a girl who isn’t missing and the discovery that it’s never too late
for late bloomers.
Veteran Ryoo Seung-wan, South Korea North American Premiere
A tough cop targets the tyrannical heir to a mega-corporation in this hard-hitting thriller from South Korean cult auteur Ryoo Seung-wan
(Crying Fist, City of Violence).