Slate includes films on Leonardo DiCaprio, Amanda Knox, Jane Jacobs, James Baldwin, John Coltrane and the “6th Beatle”

The Toronto International Film Festival’s 2016 documentary programme presents a diverse collection of works from award-winning directors including Steve James, Raoul Peck, Errol Morris, and Werner Herzog, plus new talent telling stories in global hot spots such as Syria, Pakistan, and Myanmar. Leonardo DiCaprio is prominently featured in a rousing call to action on climate change in The Turning Point, in collaboration with Academy Award winner Fisher Stevens. TIFF Docs is generously sponsored by A&E IndieFilms.

“Revelations abound in this year’s crop of documentaries,” said TIFF Docs Programmer Thom Powers. “We gain fresh perspectives on high profile figures such as James Baldwin, Amanda Knox and The Beatles; and we meet compelling figures from the worlds of activism, music, sports and, not to be forgotten, classic burlesque.”

Esteemed nonfiction auteurs include Steve James with ABACUS: Small Enough to Jail, which follows the prosecution of a Chinatown bank in New York City in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis; Errol Morris profiling a longtime friend in The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography; Werner Herzog partnering with volcanologist Clive Oppenheimer for Into the Inferno; and Raoul Peck bringing his cinematic version of James Baldwin’s writing to life in I Am Not Your Negro.

Breakthrough films by emerging female directors include Erin Heidenreich’s Girl Unbound, which profiles Pakistani squash player Maria Toorpakai Wazir; María José Cuevas’ Beauties of the Night, which examines aging Mexican burlesque stars; and Maya Zinshtein’s Forever Pure, focusing on an Israeli soccer controversy.

Activism is a strong theme across several films. The Ivory Game delves into the illegal African ivory trade, while Citizen Jane: Battle for the City explores our urban past and future through the lens of writer Jane Jacobs.

Music remains a vital topic in this year’s programme: The 6th Beatle is a portrait of the band’s forgotten manager Sam Leach; I Called Him Morgan offers a new perspective on the murder of jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan; and Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary explores the life and work of the legendary jazz saxophonist.

Global headlines and recent history are explored in films such as Amanda Knox, which offers an account of the American student accused of murder in Italy who made headlines around the world; The War Show takes a closer look at several years of the Syrian conflict; while Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker’s Karl Marx City focuses on the Stasi secret police in East Germany.

The 41st Toronto International Film Festival® runs September 8 to 18, 2016.

 

Written by Trina Stewart

Trina Stewart is the editor-in-chief at Life's a Blog. Blogging and Social Media is her passion by night, while project management and business development fills her day.

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