TIFF ’12: Spike Lee’s “Bad 25″ heads to Toronto

Spike Lee's Michael Jackson doc Bad 25 has been added to the line-up for the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, where it will have its North American premiere shortly after debuting in Venice. (Pictured: Lee with singer Mariah Carey)
August 14, 2012

Spike Lee’s Michael Jackson documentary Bad 25 has been added to the line-up for the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), where it will have its North American premiere shortly after debuting in Venice.

Bad 25 celebrates the 25th anniversary of Jackson’s multimillion-selling Bad album with unseen footage, content shot by Jackson himself, and “a treasure chest of findings,” according to TIFF.

The doc is divided into two parts, with the first featuring artists influenced by Jackson, such as Mariah Carey (pictured above with Lee), Kanye West and Sheryl Crow; and the second featuring people who worked by his side, including musicians, technicians and engineers.

Realscreen tipped the doc for TIFF in July, alongside Jamie Kastner’s The Secret Disco Revolution, Peter Mettler’s The End of Time and Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell, all of which were subsequently confirmed by the fest.

Other non-fiction films confirmed for next month’s fest by TIFF today include a number of titles in the fest’s ‘Wavelengths’ program.

The Lebanese Rocket Society looks at Lebanon’s brief flirtation with space travel in the 1960s, which “becomes a poignant metaphor for the Arab world’s utopian dreams in this riveting documentary by internationally acclaimed artist duo Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige.”

The 93-minute doc will be a world premiere.

Elsewhere, the North American premiere of Heinz Emigholz’s 110-minute film Perret in France and Algeria offers a visual study of the work of pioneering French architect Auguste Perret, “including privileged views of his innovative concrete structures in Algeria and such magnificent landmarks as Paris’ Art Deco Théâtre des Champs Elysées.”

Chinese director Wang Bing’s 153-minute opus Three Sisters will also have its North American premiere at the festival. The film is an observational portrait of a peasant family who eke out a humble existence in a small village, set against the mountain landscapes of China’s Yunnan province.

Another North American premiere is Leviathan, which recently had its world premiere at Locarno. Directed by Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel, the experimental doc “captures the collaborative clash of man, nature and machine on a dozen cameras – tossed and tethered from fisherman to filmmaker,” according to TIFF.  

Finally, 129-minute collaborative film Far From Afghanistan – from directors John Gianvito, Jon Jost, Minda Martin, Soon-Mi Yoo and Travis Wilkerson – will have its North American premiere at TIFF.

Taking inspiration from the collaborative 1967 militant anthology film Far from Vietnam (which is also screening for free as part of TIFF’s new ‘Cinematheque’ program), five American militant filmmakers unite to create a “searing and seething omnibus work, employing a variety of approaches to reveal the hidden costs of the United States’ most expensive and longest-running war.”

The festival runs from September 6-16. Check out a clip from Bad 25 below:

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.