New Herzog, Spurlock docs to launch at TIFF

Into The Abyss, the death row doc from Werner Herzog (pictured) and a new Morgan Spurlock doc called Comic-Con Episode 4: A Fan's Hope will both have their world premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival next month.
August 3, 2011

Into The Abyss, the death row doc from Werner Herzog (pictured), and a new doc from Morgan Spurlock called Comic-Con Episode 4: A Fan’s Hope will both have their world premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival next month.

Writing on Twitter, TIFF co-director Cameron Bailey today told followers: “We’ll have the world premiere of Morgan Spurlock’s new doc, COMIC-CON EPISODE 4: A FAN’S HOPE,” before adding: “Coming to #TIFF11: the world premiere of Werner Herzog’s INTO THE ABYSS.”

Bailey’s tweets came in advance of TIFF releasing more information about the festival’s official selections for the year. Other docs just announced include Jessica Yu’s Last Call at the Oasis, billed by the fest as “a wake-up call about the world’s water supply,” and Nick Broomfield’s Sarah Palin – You Betcha!, in which the doc-maker travels to Wasilla, Alaska in search of the “real” Sarah Palin.

TIFF will also host the world premieres of Alex Gibney’s The Last Gladiators, which focuses on hockey “enforcer” Chris Nilan, and Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory from Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky. Also on tap for a world premiere is Samsara, Ron Fricke’s epic follow-up to Baraka.

New docs from Frederick Wiseman and Jonathan Demme are receiving North American premieres at TIFF in September. Wiseman’s Crazy Horse studies the chic Parisian nude dancing club of the same name, while Demme’s I’m Carolyn Parker: The Good, The Mad and the Beautiful shines its spotlight on one of the most outspoken voices in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.

Canadian premieres include the latest from Wim Wenders, Pina, which is a 3D study of dancer/choreographer Pina Bausch and her company, Tanztheater Wuppertal. Also making its Canadian premiere is  This Is Not a Film from Iranian filmmakers Jafar Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, which documents a day in the life of Panahi as he awaits word on an appeal to a six-year prison sentence and 20-year ban on filmmaking handed down by Tehran’s Islamic Republic Court. The film had its official world premiere in Cannes.

“I’m thrilled at the large number of veteran filmmakers who have brought us new works this year,” said Thom Powers, TIFF’s lead programmer for documentaries, in a statement. “The line-up contains a wide range of memorable characters – crusaders, convicts, artists, athletes, nude dancers, comic book fans, dog lovers and more. Not to mention the epic 15-hour Story of Film. These documentaries will have audiences discussing and debating for months to come.”

The Toronto International Film Festival takes place from September 8-18.

(With files from Barry Walsh)

About The Author
Senior staff writer Frederick Blichert comes to realscreen with a background as a journalist and freelance film critic. He has previously written for VICE, Paste Magazine, Senses of Cinema, Xtra, Canadian Cinematographer and elsewhere. He holds a Master of Arts in film studies from Carleton University and a Master of Journalism from the University of British Columbia.