Werner Herzog, Morgan Spurlock And Others Will Take New Docs To TIFF

If you’re living in Toronto and are a regular festival goer then you’re a lucky bastard. The official, main line up for the 2011 Toronto Film Festival has already been announced and it contains some absolute gems, it’s easily one of the best line ups in years. However, just to make those of us not making the trip up to the festival even more jealous, the curators have announced some more films to fill out the line up.

These mainly include documentaries from some of factual cinema’s most celebrated and popular filmmakers. Morgan Spurlock will finally unveil his Comic-Con documentary: Comic-Con: Episode IV – A Fan’s Hope which explores the events of the world’s largest comic convention, and is assembled from footage he shot while at the Con last year. Those of you who follow his Twitter feed will have been kept updated with that.

The lovably fearless Werner Herzog will also be making an appearance with his new documentary Gazing Into the Abyss, a film about a triple murder, which includes interviews with all those involved, including the 28 year old perpetrator who is interviewed while on death row. This bears the hallmarks of Herzog’s great documentary work, such as Grizzly Man, which examined the void between life and death.

Oscar winner Alex Gibney will also make an appearance with The Last Gladiators. A departure from his political works such as Enron The Smartest Guys in the Room and Taxi to the Dark Side, this is a sports doc, the subject of which is retired ice hockey player Chris Nilan. It examines his life after hanging up the skates and his attempt to return to normality. It sounds almost like the reverse of Anvil! The Story of Anvil, the terrific doc about an ageing metal rock band.

The only one I have seen which will be making its North American premiere is Wim WendersPina, which is not so much a documentary but more of an expressive homage to choreographer Pina Bausch, with new versions of her dances with very minimal talking head footage. That is a 3D movie, and arguably is the finest use of that medium so far.

Nick Broomfield will also turn up, undoubtedly to ruffle a few feathers with his tentatively titled documentary Sarah Palin – You Betcha!, reinforcing our knowledge that Broomfield is about as subtle as a flying brick. For those of you unfamiliar with Mr Broomfield, he’s essentially the British Michael Moore. In that his films aren’t as much about his subjects as they are about him, after all this is about his search to find out about Sarah Palin. However his presence being shared with Werner Herzog is interesting considering Broomfield actually did stunning work on documenting Aileen Wuornos’ imprisonment on death row.

Other films which will turn up in the Midnight Madness screenings include British indie horror flick Kill List and Bobcat Goldthwait‘s dark comedy God Bless America. The Toronto Film Festival opens on September 8th, any film fans living in the area would be foolish to miss it.

About the author


Will Chadwick

Will has written for the site since October 2010, he currently studies English Literature and American Studies at the University of Birmingham in the UK. His favourite films include Goodfellas, The Shawshank Redemption and The Godfather and his favourite TV shows are Mad Men, Six Feet Under, The Simpsons and Breaking Bad.