Toronto Film Festival Unveils Documentary, Midnight, Discovery Lineups

The Toronto International Film Festival has unveiled its documentary, discovery, and midnight programs.

The lineup of 25 nonfiction works in the documentary category cover an array of topics and subjects — ranging from immigration to corruption in politics to Truman Capote’s rarefied social circle. The announcement comes as documentaries have become one of the most reliable sources of box office revenues for indie studios. Films such as “Free Solo” and “RBG” were among the biggest arthouse hits of 2018 and there’s a lot of interest among buyers in the films in this section. Thom Powers, TIFF Docs programmer, attributes the rising commercial prospects of these films to the ubiquity of non-fiction works on Netflix and other streaming services.

“People have developed a real appetite for documentary films similar to the way they once developed an appetite for serial television,” says Powers. “Once they started sampling, they just wanted more. With Netflix the ease of access is so much greater today than it was even 10 years ago.”

The section will open with the world premiere of “The Cave,” Feras Fayyad’s look at a Syrian hospital that is led be a female doctor. Other films include Barbara Kopple’s “Desert One,” the story of a hostage rescue mission in Iran; “The Capote Tapes,” a biography of the Southern writer behind “In Cold Blood”; “And We Go Green,” a look at racers in the Formula E competition for electric cars that was produced by Leonardo DiCaprio; and Eva Orner’s “Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator,” an investigation into Bikram Choudhury, a controversial yoga teacher who was accused of sexual misconduct and assault.

Popular on Variety

Toronto’s Discovery program boasts of 37 films from emerging filmmakers who represent 35 countries. This section includes a number of works from female filmmakers — 54% of the movies selected are directed by women. The program will open with Chiara Malta’s “Simple Women,” the story of a director’s chance meeting meeting with an actor she idolized in her youth.

Ten genre and boundary pushing movies comprise the festival’s Midnight Madness lineup. They include “Color Out of Space,” an H.P. Lovecraft adaptation that stars Nicolas Cage and is directed by Richard Stanley; Rose Glass’s psychological thriller “Saint Maud”; and Joko Anwar’s “Gundala,” which is based on the Indonesian superhero comic books by Harya “Hasmi” Suraminata.

Last month, Toronto released its main competition lineup. It’s an eclectic mix of films, one that dances between animated fare, comic book adaptations, and awards season contenders. “Joker,” an R-rated look at Batman’s main antagonist; “Ford v. Ferrari,” a drama about a team of designers developing a new racing car that stars Matt Damon and Christian Bale; and “Just Mercy,” a court room drama with Michael B. Jordan are just a few of the movies that will screen in Canada.

The festival runs Sept. 5 to Sept. 15.

Films screening as part of the TIFF Docs program include:

And We Go Green
Fisher Stevens, Malcolm Venville | USA
World Premiere

The Australian Dream
Daniel Gordon | Australia/United Kingdom
International Premiere

Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator
Eva Orner | USA
World Premiere

The Capote Tapes
Ebs Burnough | United Kingdom
World Premiere

TIFF Docs Opening Film*
The Cave
Feras Fayyad | Syria/Denmark/Germany/USA/Qatar
World Premiere

Citizen K
Alex Gibney | USA/United Kingdom
North American Premiere

Collective (Colectiv)
Alexander Nanau | Romania/Luxembourg
North American Premiere

Alan Zweig | Canada
World Premiere

The Cordillera of Dreams (La Cordillera de los Sueños)
Patricio Guzmán | France/Chile
North American Premiere

Alla Kovgan | Germany/France/USA
World Premiere

Bryce Dallas Howard | USA
World Premiere

Desert One
Barbara Kopple | USA
World Premiere

I Am Not Alone
Garin Hovannisian | Armenia/USA
World Premiere

Ibrahim: A Fate to Define
Lina Al Abed | Lebanon/Palestine/Denmark/Qatar/Slovenia
North American Premiere

The Kingmaker
Lauren Greenfield | USA
Canadian Premiere

Letter to the Editor
Alan Berliner | USA
World Premiere

Love Child
Eva Mulvad | Denmark
World Premiere

My English Cousin
Karim Sayad | Switzerland/Qatar
World Premiere

Paris Stalingrad
Hind Meddeb | France
International Premiere

Ready for War
Andrew Renzi | USA
World Premiere

Red Penguins
Gabe Polsky | USA/Russia
World Premiere

Sing Me A Song
Thomas Balmès | France/Germany/Switzerland
World Premiere

There’s Something in the Water
Ellen Page, Ian Daniel | Canada
World Premiere

This Is Not a Movie
Yung Chang | Canada/Germany
World Premiere

Women Make Film: A New Road Movie Through Cinema
Mark Cousins | United Kingdom
World Premiere

Films screening as part of the Discovery program include:

Oualid Mouaness | United States/Lebanon/Norway/Qatar
World Premiere

Oren Gerner | Israel
World Premiere

The Antenna (Bina)
Orçun Behram | Turkey
World Premiere

The Audition (Das Vorspiel)
Ina Weisse | Germany/France
World Premiere

August (Agosto)
Armando Capó | Cuba/Costa Rica/France
World Premiere

Black Conflux
Nicole Dorsey | Canada
World Premiere

Bring Me Home (Na-reul cha-ja-jwo)
Kim Seung-woo | South Korea
World Premiere

A Bump Along The Way
Shelly Love | United Kingdom
International Premiere

Calm With Horses
Nick Rowland | United Kingdom/Ireland
World Premiere

Certified Mail (Bi Elm El Wossul)
Hisham Saqr | Egypt
World Premiere

Tamar Shavgulidze | Georgia
World Premiere

Jorunn Myklebust Syversen | Norway
World Premiere

Easy Land
Sanja Zivkovic | Canada
World Premiere

Minos Nikolakakis | Greece
World Premiere

The Giant
David Raboy | USA
World Premiere

The Good Intentions (Las Buenas Intenciones)
Ana García Blaya | Argentina
World Premiere

Hearts and Bones
Ben Lawrence | Australia
International Premiere

Hope (Håp)
Maria Sødahl | Norway/Sweden
World Premiere

Myriam Verreault | Canada
World Premiere

Lina from Lima
María Paz González | Chile/Argentina/Peru
World Premiere

The Lost Okoroshi
Abba Makama | Nigeria
World Premiere

Love Me Tender
Klaudia Reynicke | Switzerland
International Premiere

Heather Young | Canada
World Premiere

My Life as a Comedian (En komikers uppväxt)
Rojda Sekersöz | Sweden/Belgium
World Premiere

Noura’s Dream
Hinde Boujemaa | Tunisia/Belgium/France
World Premiere

The Obituary of Tunde Johnson
Ali LeRoi | USA
World Premiere

Anna Falguères, John Shank | Belgium/Canada/France
World Premiere

Harry Cepka | Canada/USA
World Premiere

The Rest of Us
Aisling Chin-Yee | Canada
World Premiere

Sea Fever
Neasa Hardiman | Ireland/Sweden/Belgium/United Kingdom
World Premiere

*Discovery Opening Film*
Simple Women
Chiara Malta | Italy/Romania
World Premiere

Carlo Sironi | Italy/Poland
International Premiere

Son-Mother (Pesar-Madar)
Mahnaz Mohammadi | Iran/Czech Republic
World Premiere

Stories From The Chestnut Woods (Zgodbe iz kostanjevih gozdov)
Gregor Božič | Slovenia/Italy
World Premiere

Sweetness in the Belly
Zeresenay Berhane Mehari | Ireland/Canada
World Premiere

Two of Us (Deux)
Filippo Meneghetti | France/Luxembourg/Belgium
World Premiere

Antoneta Kastrati | Albania/Kosovo
World Premiere

Films screening as part of the Midnight Madness programme include:
*Midnight Madness Opening Film*

Blood Quantum
Jeff Barnaby | Canada
World Premiere

Color Out of Space
Richard Stanley | USA
World Premiere

*Midnight Madness Closing Film*
Crazy World
Isaac Nabwana | Uganda
World Premiere

First Love (Hatsukoi)
Takashi Miike | Japan/United Kingdom
North American Premiere

Joko Anwar | Indonesia
International Premiere

The Platform (El Hoyo)
Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia | Spain
World Premiere

Saint Maud
Rose Glass | United Kingdom
World Premiere

The Twentieth Century
Matthew Rankin | Canada
World Premiere

The Vast of Night
Andrew Patterson | USA
Canadian Premiere

The Vigil
Keith Thomas | USA
World Premiere

More Film

  • Father

    'Father': Film Review

    “Father” begins with a mother. Dragging her two sullen, uncomprehending kids along with her, Biljana (Nada Šargin) strides onto the grounds of the factory from which her husband was let go more than a year before and harangues the foreman about the severance package they still have not received. The children are hungry, she wails, [...]

  • Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm

    'Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street': Film Review

    In 1985, New Line rushed out a sequel to its breakout horror hit of the prior year. But while commercially successful enough, “A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge” was initially disliked by mainstream horror fans, then later won cult status, for the same reason: It struck many as “the gayest horror film of [...]

  • Leaving Neverland HBO

    HBO Seeks Dismissal of Michael Jackson Estate's Suit Over 'Leaving Neverland'

    HBO urged an appeals court on Friday to throw out litigation brought by the Michael Jackson estate over the 2019 documentary “Leaving Neverland.” HBO and the Jackson estate have been locked in a legal war ever since the premium cable network agreed to run the documentary, which chronicles child sexual abuse allegations against Jackson. The [...]

  • Denzel Washington

    Film News Roundup: Denzel Washington-Rami Malek Thriller Set for Early 2021 Release

    In today’s film news roundup, a Denzel Washington-Rami Malek thriller gets a release date, “Escape Room 2” gets moved, Paramount sets a double feature, “So Cold the River” wraps and the Sonoma Film Festival unveils its lineup. RELEASE DATES Warner Bros. has set the Denzel Washington-Rami Malek police thriller “The Little Things” for a Jan. 29, [...]

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    Writers Guild Says It Helped Negotiate 100 Deals for Agent-Less Members

    The Writers Guild of America has asserted that it has assisted in negotiating more than 100 deals in recent months for members without agents. The missive from the WGA West board of directors comes nearly a year after the guild leaders ordered their 15,000 members to fire their agents if the agents had not agreed [...]

  • the jesus rolls

    Émilie Simon Contributes Flamenco/Gypsy Vibe to John Turturro's ‘The Jesus Rolls’

    For French musician Émilie Simon, the flamenco-meets-gypsy vibe writer-director John Turturro was seeking for the soundtrack to his movie “The Jesus Rolls” turned out to be in her musical and genetical DNA. “This music originally comes from where I grew up in the south of France,” says the 41-year-old electronic musician, who has released five [...]

  • My Hero Academia Heroes Rising

    'My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising' ADR Director on Adapting the Anime for a U.S. Audience

    “My Hero Academia” has officially Detroit Smashed into North American theaters. Sony Pictures Television’s Funimation released “Heroes Rising” in the U.S. on Wednesday, grossing $2.5 million on its opening day. Theaters are showing the film, a standalone entry in the popular superhero anime based on the manga, with options for either subtitles or with an [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content