After documenting British musical acts such as One Direction and Coldplay, director Paul Dugdale is setting his sights on The Rolling Stones for a new documentary world premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival.
The Rolling Stones Olé Olé Olé!: A Trip Across Latin America was among two docs revealed at a Tuesday (July 26) press conference announcing special presentations and galas playing at the Canadian festival, which runs from September 8 to 18.
The doc isn’t the first of Dugdale’s dalliances with the iconic rock band: the director previously directed The Rolling Stones: Sweet Summer Sun – Hyde Park Live (2013). His latest effort, which will receive the fest’s gala treatment, follows the band’s recent Latin American tour, which culminated with a gig in Havana, Cuba, in March.
More acts are playing in Cuba since the country began restoring diplomatic relations with America, but shows are nonetheless tricky to organize. Olé Olé Olé! covers all the logistical issues that arose in arranging the Cuban gig.
“There’s a lot of twists along the way and a lot of suspense as to whether the concert will come off,” TIFF Docs programmer Thom Powers tells realscreen.
He adds that Dugdale’s familiarity and easy rapport with the Stones comes across on screen. “There’s a scene with Keith Richards and Mick Jagger hanging out and doing an unplugged version of ‘Honky Tonk Woman,’” he says. “You don’t see that very often.”
Stones founding member Keith Richards was present last year at TIFF for the Morgan Neville-directed Netflix doc Under the Influence. The guitarist is also the subject of the BBC’s recent hour-long doc, Keith Richards: The Origin of Species, helmed by The Filth and the Fury director Julien Temple.
A second music documentary bowing at TIFF is Jonathan Demme’s concert film JT + The Tennessee Kids, following pop star Justin Timberlake and his touring band’s closing performances from the 20/20 World Experience World Tour in Las Vegas. The doc will also play as a gala.
Demme is known for such dramas as The Silence of the Lambs (1991) and Rachel Getting Married (2008), but has a number of music doc credits, including the Talking Heads’ landmark concert film Stop Making Sense (1984), Neil Young: Heart of Gold (2006) and Kenny Chesney: Unstaged (2012).
“You can see little touches in this film that will feel familiar to fans of Stop Making Sense,” Powers told realscreen. “The symmetry in which Jonathan frames shots and the careful attention that Justin Timberlake brings to his stage presentation is equal, although on a much larger scale, [to] the attention to detail that Talking Heads brought.
“This is the work of one of the most skilled directors of performance documentaries ever and you feel it in every frame of the film,” he added.
The TIFF Docs program will be unveiled on August 9. Powers is staying mum on the line-up except to say that several of this year’s selections will seek to “change the conversation around important issues.”
One film that is definitely not on the slate is Sydney Pollack’s 1972 Aretha Franklin doc Amazing Grace, which was pulled from last year’s festival amid a legal dispute between the Queen of Soul and the filmmakers. “Short of some very big surprise to me, I would not be stirring anticipation for that one,” said Powers.
Elsewhere, Lo and Behold director Werner Herzog is following up his 2015 drama Queen of the Desert with Bolivia-set natural disaster film Salt and Fire, starring Gael Garcia Bernal, Michael Shannon and Anita Briem.
Another doc-related premiere is that of Jeff Nichols’ drama Loving, which is based on Nancy Buirski’s titular 2011 documentary The Loving Story and tells the story of an interracial couple who was arrested for getting married during the civil rights movement era in the U.S.
During the press conference, festival director and CEO Piers Handling said to expect “exciting news” in the coming weeks regarding diversity and gender representation among this year’s films. More countries are represented by the 2016 line-up than in past festivals, he added.
Manori Ravindran and Kevin Ritchie