The Toronto Intl. Film Festival has a longstanding affection for high-profile documentaries — as evidenced last year, when Toronto opened with the world preem of Davis Guggenheim’s U2 docu “From the Sky Down.”
More than four dozen docs are set to screen this year, most notably Ken Burns’ “Central Park Five,” Dror Moreh’s “The Gatekeepers,” Matthew Cooke’s “How to Make Money Selling Drugs,” Julien Temple’s “London — the Modern Babylon,” Marina Zenovich’s “Roman Polanski: Odd Man Out” and Dan Setton’s “State 194” (with Salam Fayyad, prime minister of the Palestinian National Authority, set to appear in person).
But the biggest buzz is likely to come from Andy Capper’s “Reincarnated,” in which Snoop Dogg makes a month-long trip to Jamaica as “a journey of reincarnation of self” after coming to the island to leave rap behind and record a reggae album. He’s positively impacted by the Rastafarian culture, connects with the community in Trench Town, the birthplace of reggae, and begins to espouse the idea of giving up violence for peace.
“They want me to rap, but I don’t wanna rap,” he says in the film. “I’ve been on the top ever since I’ve been in. I got rap songs that will never die. What else can I do in the rap world?”
Capper, the global editor for Vice magazine, had produced long-form documentary content for the Vice website, but “Reincarnated” is his first feature documentary.
“I was at home in Liverpool for Christmas when the producers came to me with the proposal so it sounded like a great idea,” he told Variety. “I was very worried about his honesty, but as I got to know him I realized I could really go to town on this. What I found is that Snoop is really very pragmatic, very hardworking and very down-to-earth — despite being one of these larger than life celebrities.”
Snoop Lion — his new, post-Jamaica trip name — told Variety that he’s very comfortable with his new identity and unfazed by those who question the transition. “I am who I am, and if people don’t understand, that’s a reflecttion on them.”
He was hugely impressed with the finished film. “When we started, I thought it would be straight-to-DVD,” he admitted.
“Reincarnated” is a Vice Films and Snoopadelic Films production. Producers are Vice co-founder Suroosh Alvi, Snoop’s manager Ted Chung, Codine Williams and Justin Li. Paradigm is selling the film at Toronto.
Toronto has screened the last two doc Oscar-winners — “Inside Job” and “Undefeated” — and over the years proved a solid venue for sales, including major pics like “Cave of Forgotten Dreams,” “Precious Life” and “Food Inc.”
Other acquisition titles buzzing on this year’s doc slate including Maiken Baird and Michelle Major’s “Venus and Serena,” Bartholomew Cubbin’s “Artifact,” Simon Ennis’ “Lunarcy” and Sarah Polley’s “Stories We Tell,” a top crit and aud fave at Telluride.