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Filtered by Topic: Picks

The race begins!
As TIFF begins today, the race to see as many provocative and varied films also begins.

The line up at this year's Reel To Reel program promises to be varied, challenging, and educational. One of the major focus in this year's documentary line up is that of the social and political atmosphere in several countries around the globe.

It will be interesting to see how the films such as Darfur Now, (Don Cheadle; one of the major activists in the area pictured here)Rebellion: the...


Michaelle McLean oversees the Toronto Documentary Forum, an annual spring event at Hot Docs where doc makers pitch their projects to broadcasters in front of an audience. It resembles a game show, but it's become an effective means for filmmakers to navigate the complex world of international co-productions. From her vantage point, McLean tracks docs long before they're finished. Here are her picks for docs at TIFF this year:

Yahoo, I'll be in town for almost all of TIFF for the first time in several years...


Meet the Press
Click these links quick because they may turn into pay per views in the next couple weeks. Early previews of the Festival are starting to begin. Time magazine's dedicated cineaste Richard Corliss offers up his top ten titles to watch out for, including the doc Body of War. Roger Ebert jokes that he feels paralyzed looking at the new TIFF catalogue - the biggest ever - and all its offerings. The Toronto Star publishes its annual survey by Peter Howell of film insiders picking the most "buzz-worthy"...


TIFF picks from Sean Farnel of Hot Docs
Sean Farnel was my esteemed predecessor as TIFF's doc programmer through the 2005 festival. Since then, he's been programming the Hot Docs festival in the spring. Last year he was out of town for most of TIFF. So this will be his first time enjoying the fest as a civilian. I asked him what he anticipates.

FARNEL: Of course I'm looking forward to seeing much of the doc programme (well, the ones I can squeeze in between Galas), but let me put in a little plug for a few of...


TIFF picks from Jonathan Rosenbaum
Jonathan Rosenbaum is one of the most thoughtful film critics writing today. If want to read a penetrating essay on documentary, look to his pieces on "Crumb" in the book Movies as Politics; or "Fast, Cheap & Out of Control" in  Essential Cinema: On the Necessity of Film Canons, among his other writings. Here he responds to our poll of doc aficianados identifying three titles that he anticipates in TIFF's 07 doc line-up.

1) USELESS (because I'm interested in everything Jia Zhangke does)



Brian Newman is a shrewd observer of the documentary scene from his position as a funder at Renew Media and on his personal blog Spring Board Media . Here he shares his picks from this year's Real to Reel:

I always feel that the best thing about attending the Toronto International Film Festival is that I really can’t go wrong with the films I see. You can literally walk into any screening randomly (perhaps because another film sold out)...


TIFF picks from Full Frame's Phoebe Brush
Phoebe Brush, a programmer for the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, chimes in with her Real to Reel picks below. In the past year, I've enjoyed two collaborations with Full Frame. Last fall, they co-presented an evening with documentary pioneer Richard Leacock at the Stranger Than Fiction series I host in New York City. Then at their festival in April, I presented the first annual Garrett Scott Documentary Development Grant to first time filmmakers Robin Hessman and Lee Lynch. The award is in memory of...


David Wilson, who collaborates with Paul Sturtz to program the plucky True/False Film Festival in Columbia, MO, weighs in with three picks from the Real to Reel titles announced so far. In this photo from TIFF 06, he appears with Blindsight director Lucy Walker at the aforementioned Summercamp! party (snapped by Indiewire). David says:

One of the great things about seeing the film lineup from a fest like Toronto is knowing that, as a viewer, you're...


TIFF picks from Tom Hall

We're back after a weekend break with a fresh answer to our survey of doc aficianados picking their three most anticipated titles from the TIFF list announced so far. (Remember more announcements coming on August 21). Today, we hear from Tom Hall, programmer for the Sarasota Film Festival and scribe of the well-written blog Back Row Manifesto. Tom says:

Thanks for the...


TIFF picks from Anthony Kaufman
Anthony Kaufman writes with great commitment and insight about docs - and film in general - for the Wall Street Journal on-line, Indiewire, and his own blog. Last year he moderated one of TIFF's Doc Talks. Here he picks three doc titles that jump off the 2007 TIFF list. Make no mistake: cineastes love their Herzog (pictured).

Werner Herzog's resurgence in the annals of filmmaking -- and documentary-making -- is a wonder to behold....


Spouting off on Doc Blog
Hey, Karina Longworth, I'm an avid reader of Spout blog and was just looking up your email address to ask your opinion of the 2007 Real to Reel line-up, when I saw that you beat me to it. Karina wrote a thoughtful posting about Doc Blog, including this comment:

No one’s asked me what I think, so of course I’m going to chime in anyway: the film on the Real to Reel program that I’m most looking forward to is probably Obscene, Neil Ortenberg and Daniel...


TIFF picks from Agnes Varnum
Agnes Varnum writes with such enthusiasm and insight about documentaries on her blog "doc it out" that I asked her to identify the three TIFF docs she's most eager to see. Her picks:

HOLLYWOOD CHINESE by Arthur Dong (pictured)
Dong reminds me of Les Blank in some ways--he's out there doing his own thing, and while he has lots of awards, his fabulous body of work isn't that well known. This subject sounds intriguing and perhaps...


TIFF picks from Sky Sitney
More documentaries will be announced for Festival's line-up at the August 21 press conference. Meanwhile, we continue to survey opinions on the first announcement. Sky Sitney, programmer for the Silverdocs Film Festival, submitted this list of three titles that she most anticipates:
SURFWISE (pictured)
We recently presented Doug Pray's BIG RIG at SILVERDOCS, where it was a huge hit. No matter what the subject - whether it be the Seattle grunge scene (HYPE!), hip-hop DJs (SCRATCH), or big rig truckers - Pray finds the unexpected in the material, reveals...


TIFF picks from David Nugent
I asked other fest programmers to pick three docs they were most anticipating at TIFF this year. We already heard from Matt Dentler of SXSW. Now comes David Nugent (aka "the Nuge"), the handsome over-achiever (pictured here) who programs for two festivals: Newport International Film Festival and the Hamptons International Film Festival. And David's picks are:

Werner Herzog, USA
I echo what Matt said about this one. I can't wait to see it

This is one that...


Matt Dentler's TIFF picks
After announcing the Real to Reel line-up on Tuesday, I asked programmers from other film festivals to name three docs they were anticipating and why. The first response comes from Matt Dentler, an active blogger and programmer of the wonderful SXSW Film Festival in Austin, TX:

I'll see anything Herzog does. But when it's his first big  
documentary after the brilliant GRIZZLY MAN, consider me first in line.

2. MY ENEMY'S ENEMY by Kevin Macdonald
Ditto what I said...


More Internet Coverage of TIFF Docs
On Tuesday, Anthony Kaufman (left) interviewed Michael Tucker (The Prisoner or: How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair) in the first of the Doc Talks series, sponsored by HBO Documentary Films, held at Toronto's Fifth Elementt restaurant.

Kaufman wrote several dispatches from the festival for Indiewire, including this blog entry
on Blindsight and Killer Within.

Here are other recent Internet reports on TIFF docs...

Dave Kehr reviews the Chinese documentary Dong

Twitch interviews director JT Petty on S&MAN.

Director AJ Schnack chronicles his TIFF...


Mainstream Internet reporters and bloggers have been going strong on docs at TIFF. Here are just a few of the sites with news and reviews.

David D'Arcy reports on the Dixie Chicks: Shut Up And Sing for Greencine. Earlier he covered The US vs John Lennon here.

Pictured: Dixie Chicks co-directors Cecilia Peck (left) and Barbara Kopple (right) flank band members Martie Maguire, Natalie Maines and Emily Robison at yesterday's press conference for the film's world premiere Gala.

Sarah Jo Marks reflects on The...


VARIETY: "Stars Left in Docs Dust"
Today, Variety reporter Steven Zeitchik writes about the dominance of documentaries at this year's TIFF. The piece begins...

It's political docs and genre pics that are making noise in Toronto -- and the stars who are getting left behind.

In the second notable deal for a political pic in two days, Abu Ghraib expose "The Prisoner, or: How I Tried to Kill Tony Blair," [above] pacted with Netflix in a deal that will see movie get theatrical distribution through an as-yet undetermined partner.

Movie will be released in the spring to...


Todd McCarthy wrote a wrap-up of the Telluride Film Festival for Variety. Here's what he had to say about the sneak preview of a film that will have its official world premiere at TIFF...

"One docu ... that grabbed viewers by the throat and wouldn't let go: Asger Leth's Ghosts of Cité Soleil, a film whose very existence is amazing as it portrays up close and first-hand the lives of gun-waving Haitian gang leaders in the world's worst slum."
Globe and Mail Tip Sheet
Globe and Mail writer Guy Dixon surveyed Canadian notables about the TIFF films they're awaiting.

Sook-Yin Lee, star of John Cameron Mitchell's much-discussed Shortbus, highlighted the doc Yokohama Mary (right). Read more here.

Lee will serve as the moderator of a discussion between Mitchell John Waters for the Mavericks session on Vanguard Cinema.
Toronto Star Industry Picks
The Toronto Star critic Peter Howell polled several industry luminaries about the TIFF films they're most looking forward to seeing. There were 49 picks in all. Here are some of the documentaries named...

[Right : Sugar Curtain, one of B. Ruby Rich's picks to watch]

Matt Dentler
, festival producer, South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival:

Kurt Cobain About A Son
, AJ Schnack: "I've been following this film for months and, in so many ways, it sounds like an amazing anti-rockumentary.

Office Tigers
, Liz Mermin: "An East meets West look at...


Toronto Star's Early Festival Round-Up
The Toronto Star's movie critics Peter Howell and Geoff Pevere, joined by Malene Arpe, Peter Goddard, Martin Knelman, John Terauds and Susan Walker, have previewed 80 of the entries at the Toronto International Film Festival here. Below are some of their doc entries....

[Left: from Allan King's new documentary EMPz 4 Life]

Deliver Us From Evil
To the adoring and faithful members of his various California parishes, Roman Catholic priest Oliver O'Grady was simply "Father Ollie," a man they could count on. And so it went for some 30 years, until the public learned...


Final Titles Announced
Adrian Grenier will be coming to TIFF with his deeply personal documentary Shot in the Dark (left). That was one of seven new titles announced at TIFF's major press conference held today near Toronto's City Hall. These titles round out the rest of the Real to Reel line-up announced in July.

Grenier, best known as an actor for his starring role in HBO's Entourage, shows off his skills as a director in this first person documentary about searching for his father, who was a distant figure...


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