Vancouver-based Lions Gate Films has acquired the North American rights to feature documentary Stevie, directed by Steve James (Hoop Dreams). Stevie, which recounts James’ relationship with an abused boy he first met through charity group Big Brother in 1985, had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (Sept. 5 to 15).
Scott Campbell, the publicist for the Festival’s Real to Reel doc program, says the three films receiving the most media attention and informal discussion are Stevie, (Steve James), Spellbound (Jeff Blitz) and Lost in La Mancha (Keith Fulton, Louis Pepe).
The North American premiere of Michael Moore‘s Bowling for Columbine was welcomed with packed screenings at TIFF but Moore may have wounded his popularity by failing to show up at an industry session in his honor on September 9. Filmmaker Michael Galinsky and Sander Hicks, the publisher at the center of Galinsky’s Horns and Halos doc about Bush biographer James Hatfield, made the most of the meeting by jumping on stage and taking over the session. At a press conference on September 6, Moore, an American, bemoaned a lack of respect and decency in the U.S., and said Americans could learn from the more civilized Canadians. Galinsky and Hicks are American.
My Name Was Sabina Spielrein (Elisabeth Marton), about a Russian woman who comes under the psychoanalytic treatment of both Freud and Jung, proved to be a public favorite; screens were sold out and rush-ticket lineups circled the block.
Gabriel Orozco (Juan Carlos Martin) is a surprise hit with the media. The little-known biography of the Mexican conceptual artist drew a surprise 75 journalists to the press screening.
On Wednesday September 11, festival organizers delayed the day’s screenings and other functions until 11 a.m., to allow for observance of memorials to the events of 9/11 last year. The 2001 festival was exactly half over when the attacks occurred.
The well attended public screening of The Trials of Henry Kissinger (Eugene Jarecki) included the only confirmed case of celebrity spotting at a documentary: Dustin Hoffman seems to have an interest in the controversial former advisor to U.S. presidents.