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Documentaries, Short Cuts & Midnight Madness at TIFF 2017

A big part of the appeal of the 42nd Toronto International Film Festival will be the continued tradition of showcasing diverse documentaries from around the world, whether it be Frederick Wiseman exploring the New York Public Library in Ex Libris to Lili Fini Zanuck profiling a legendary guitarist in Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars to Mila Turajlić delving into the dissident activism of her Serbian mother in The Other Side of Everything to The Judge by Erika Cohn which chronicles Kholoud Al-Faqih as she practices law in the West Bank as the first female Shari’a judge.  Other documentarians screening their latest cinematic offerings include Morgan Spurlock, Sara Driver, Brett Morgen, Greg Barker, Jason Kohn, Sam Pollard, Matt Tyrnauer, Sophie Fiennes, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady.  “Resistance is a key theme in this year’s documentaries,” stated TIFF Docs Programmer Thom Powers in a press release. “We pay witness to rebels challenging the status quo in art, politics, sexuality, religion, fashion, sports and entertainment. They speak powerfully to our times as audiences seek inspirations for battling powerful and corrupt systems.”

Another key element is the Short Cuts programme which will feature 35 international short films from 30 different countries which will be judged by a jury consisting of Marit van den Elshout, Head of CineMart at the International Film Festival Rotterdam; TIFF 2016 City of Toronto Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film winner Johnny Ma (Old Stone); and Cannes 2017 Art Cinema Award winner Chloé Zhao (The Rider).  Festival attendees will get to see an account of the 2014 Boko Haram Kidnapping in Waiting for Hassana by Ifunanya Maduka, Annecy-winner The Burden by Niki Lindroth von Bahr which is an animated apocalyptic musical, and Cannes-lauded A Gentle Night by Qiu Yang which revolves a mother searching for her daughter in a nameless Chinese city.

The Midnight Madness programme presents 10 movies curated to delight horror fans commencing with the World Premiere of Bodied helmed by Joseph Kahn where a thesis subject becomes a competitive obsession for a graduate student.  Two new filmmakers make an appearance with Coralie Fageat directing Revenge and Sôichi Umezawa being given the closing night slot for Vampire Clay. Returning alumni include David Bruckner, Ryuhei Kitamura, S. Craig Zahler, Hélène Cattet, and Bruno Forzani. Newly installed Midnight Madness Programmer Peter Kuplowsky remarked, “With my inaugural lineup, I’ve sought to assemble an eclectic group of films that expand and explode traditional definitions of genre and shock cinema.”

The 42nd Toronto International Film Festival® runs September 7 to 17, 2017 and for more information visit

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