Toronto Adds Morgan Spurlock, James Franco Films to Lineup
Seth Rogen, Nicolas Cage, Vince Vaughan and Alison Brie star in Midnight Madness selections, while 'Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami' opens the TIFF Docs sidebar.
The Toronto International Film Festival on Tuesday unveiled its Midnight Madness and documentary lineups, including the latest pics by Morgan Spurlock, James Franco and Frederick Wiseman.
The gore- and zombie-filled Midnight Madness section will kick off with Bodied, by Taylor Swift music video director Joseph Kahn and starring Austin & Ally star Calum Worthy as a progressive grad student who becomes an accidental battle rapper. Rap artists like Dizaster, Dumbfoundead and Big TV also star.
Midnight Madness also booked Franco's The Disaster Artist, the making-of movie about the 2003 drama The Room, with Seth Rogen, Alison Brie and Josh Hutcherson co-starring, and the Vince Vaughan-starrer Brawl in Cell Block 99 from director Craig Zahler.
There are also world bows for Lowlife director Seth Smith's latest movie, The Crescent; Brian Taylor's Mom and Dad, an indie thriller starring Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair; Ryuhei Kitamura's action thriller Downrange; and U.K. director David Bruckner's The Ritual, led by Rafe Spall and Downton Abbey star Robert James-Collier.
Midnight Madness, which helps distributors find the next Saturday night hit at the multiplex to connect with the Comic-Con crowd, is also screening Robin Comisar's Great Choice, Coralie Fargeat's Revenge and Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani's Let the Corpses Tan, and will close with Soichi Umezawa's Vampire Clay, where the Japanese director and master makeup artist gives life to a Plasticine demon that attacks a rural art school.
Also unveiling its lineup Tuesday was the TIFF Docs section, which will open with Sophie Fiennes' Grace Jones: Bloodlight & Bami, a film about the legendary rock performer and New Wave icon.
Other docs in the Toronto sidebar likely to grab award season attention include Spurlock's Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!, where the muckraking filmmaker opens his own fast-food restaurant; and Netflix's One of Us, by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady — co-directors of the Oscar-nominated Jesus Camp — about New York City's Hasidic Jewish community.
TIFF Docs programmer Thom Powers said Spurlock's latest film again exposes the way food is mass-produced and consumed in an industrialized world. "But Morgan comes at it in a different way. He brings humor and a populist appeal to the subject matter that's different from the scary approaches we often see in documentaries," he added.
Also set for possible Oscar attention out of Toronto is Brett Morgan's Jane, a portrait of Jane Goodall; and The Final Year, a film about U.S. foreign policy during former President Barack Obama's last year in office from Greg Barker, the director best known for Manhunt: The Inside Story of the Hunt for Bin Laden.
The docs section also programmed a slew of films about New York City: Sara Driver's Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat, about the celebrated New York City artist; Wiseman's Ex Libris – The New York Public Library, which takes cameras inside the famed institution; and Kate Novack's The Gospel According to Andre, which focuses on iconic fashion editor Andre Leon Talley, with appearances by Anna Wintour, Tom Ford, Valentino and Manolo Blahnik.
TIFF's Powers pointed to the perennial politically themed docs in his sidebar, this year standing out for being about ordinary people resisting corporate and corrupt forces. That includes Anjali Nayar and Hawa Essuman's Silas, about a Liberian activist, and Erika Cohn's The Judge, about the first female sharia judge in the Middle East.
"These are stories of people who are great figures of resistance for so many average citizens who are wondering what they can do in the face of powerful government and corporate forces that sometimes seemed lined up against them," Powers insisted.
There will also be world premieres for Sam Pollard's Sammy Davis Jr.: I've Gotta Be Me, a film about the Rat Pack performer with appearances by Jerry Lewis, Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal; Matt Tymauer's Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood, which centers on a former marine-turned-pimp to the stars; Jed Rothstein's The China Hustle, an investigation into Wall Street fraud executive produced by Alex Gibney and Frank Marshall; and Lili Fini Zanuck's Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars, a biopic about the guitar virtuoso.
Additionally, TIFF — which has already booked the Borg/McEnroe tennis drama as its opening-night film — in its doc sidebar will debut Jason Kohn's Love Means Zero, about infamous tennis coach Nick Bollettieri. Also headed to the fest is Chris Smith's Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond – The Story of Jim Carrey & Andy Kaufman Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton, which tells of Carrey's immersion into the role of Kaufman in Man on the Moon; Karim Sayad's Of Sheep and Men; Mila Turajlic's The Other Side of Everything; Gustavo Salmeron's Lots of Kids, A Monkey and a Castle; and the Cannes award winner Makala by Emmanuel Gras.
The Toronto International Film Festival is set to run Sept. 7-17. More lineup announcements will be made in the coming weeks.