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Toronto Film Fest Books World Bows for Alex Gibney, Werner Herzog, Morgan Spurlock Docs

Into the Abyss

"Sarah Palin across Alaska in Sarah Palin – You Betcha!," will also debut at the festival.

TORONTO -- The Blair Witch Project writer/director Eduardo Sanchez' latest movie, Japanese cult director Katsuhito Ishii’s Smuggler and a Bobcat Goldthwait drama are set to screen as part of the Toronto International Film Festival's Midnight Madness sidebar, organizers said Wednesday.

Adding to Toronto's star wattage, Goldthwait is bringing God Bless America -- about a jobless middle aged man who pursues spoiled teenagers with a gun -- to Toronto for a world premiere.

And there’s a world bow for Sanchez’ Lovely Molly, about a newlywed returning to long-abandoned family home, only to descend into evil as nightmarish childhood memories grip her mind.

Toronto’s horror and gore sidebar has also booked a world debut for Katsuhito Ishii’s Smuggler, after earlier movies from the Japanese director like Shark Skin Man and Peach Hip Girl.

TIFF’s 36th edition will also feature Douglas Aarniokoski’s post-apocalyptic thriller The Day, which stars Shawn Ashmore and Shannyn Sossamon, for a world bow as part of the genre film sidebar.

That’s convenient as Aarniokoski will already be in Toronto shooting the psycho-sexual thriller Nurse 3D for Lionsgate from September 6.

The Midnight Madness sidebar is also giving world bows to French director Alexandre CourtesThe Incident; Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo’s Livid, also from France; and U.S. director Adam Wingard’s You’re Next, after the filmmaker was in Toronto last year with A Horrible Way To Die.

Midnight Madness world bows have also been booked for Gareth EvansThe Raid, which stars Indonesian martial arts star Iko Uwais, and Frederic Jardin’s Sleepless Night, about a double-dealing Parisian cop, while British director Ben Wheatley’s Kill List will receive a Canadian premiere.

Having already decided to open TIFF for the first time with a documentary, Davis Guggenheim's The Sky Down, Toronto programmers also unveiled Wednesday world debuts of documentaries by Alex Gibney, Werner Herzog, Morgan Spurlock, Jessica Yu and Brits Nick Broomfield and Joan Churchill, who are bringing their Sarah Palin profile.

Toronto’s Real to Reel programme will screen The Last Gladiators, a doc about pro hockey players from Oscar-winning filmmaker Gibney, and Werner Herzog’s Into the Abyss, which explores a triple homicide case in Texas.

Another Oscar winner, Jessica Yu, will receive a world bow in Toronto for Last Call at the Oasis, which enlists Erin Brockovich, actor Jack Black and other celebrities to help warn the U.S. about its growing water shortage.

And veteran doc maker Broomfield and Churchill pursue the real Sarah Palin across Alaska in Sarah Palin – You Betcha!, which also debuts in Toronto.

The festival’s Real to Reel sidebar also booked a world debut for Morgan Spurlock’s Comic-Con: Episode IV – A Fan’s Hope, which investigates the world of comic book conventions with the help of Stan Lee, Joss Whedon, Frank Miller and Matt Groening.

And there’s world premieres for Dark Girls, from Bill Duke and D. Channsin Berry; Girl Model, from Ashley Sabin and David Redmon; Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory, an exploration of American justice from Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky; and Stephen Kessler’s Paul Williams Still Alive, where the filmmaker tracks down the Oscar-winning actor/singer Paul Williams.

Toronto also booked North American bows for docs that include Jonathan Demme’s I’m Carolyn Parker: The Good, the Mad, and the Beautiful, which will first bow in Venice ahead of TIFF, Frederick Wiseman’s Crazy Horse, about the legendary Paris erotic cabaret, and Michael Glawogger’s Whore’s Glory, about prostitution in Thailand, Mexico and Bangladesh.

Fest programmers will also give a Canadian premiere to Wim Wenders’ 3D dance doc Pina as part of its Masters sidebar, after a Berlin bow.

And the Masters program will feature This is not a Film, a day-in-the-life of Iranian director Jafar Panahi while under house arrest during his current legal troubles with that country’s Islamic regime.

The sprawling Toronto festival also unveiled a list of film titles for its City To City sidebar, which this year will feature work by filmmakers either at working in, or inspired by Buenos Aires, Argentina.

There’s world premieres for Caprichosos de San Telmo, by Alison Murray, Nicolas Prividera’s Fatherland, and international bows for The Cat Vanishes, by Carlos Sorin, Roman CardenasThe Stones, and Argentinian actor Juan Minujin’s debut feature Vaquero.

And North American bows have been reserved for A Mysterious World, from Rodrigo Moreno (El Custodio), Pompeya, by Tamae Garateguy, and The Student, from Santiago Mitre, and representing another debut feature.

Toronto’s Vanguard showcase of cutting edge films is also crowded with world premieres for Headshot, from Thai director Pen-ek Ratanaruang, which stars Nopachai Jayanama and Cris Horwang, and Jean-Baptiste Leonetti’s Carre Blanc, starring Sami Bouajila, Julie Gayet and Valerie Bodson. 

The sidebar also includes North American bows for Russian director Victor Ginzburg’s Generation P, which bowed in Karlovy Vary; Oslo, 31. August, Norwegian director Joachim Trier’s second feature after Reprise, and which already screened in Cannes, and Aussie filmmaker Justin Kurzel’s Snowtown, which stars Lucas Pittaway, Daniel Henshall and Louise Harris.

TIFF programmers will make additional lineup announcements in the coming weeks.