TIFF ’16: Obomsawin, Berman make Canadian line-up

Documentaries from Alanis Obomsawin, Brigitte Berman and Nicholas de Pencier are among the Canadian films set to bow at the 41st Toronto International Film Festival. (Pictured: Brigitte Berman's The River of My Dreams)
August 3, 2016

Documentaries from filmmakers Alanis Obomsawin, Brigitte Berman and Nicholas de Pencier are among the Canadian films set to bow at the 41st Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

Obomsawin will debut her latest feature title at this year’s festival with the world premiere of We Can’t Make the Same Mistake Twice, on the under-funding of child and family welfare services provided to First Nations children on reserves and in the Yukon. The film will screen as part of the Masters category.

Bowing in the TIFF Docs category is Academy Award-winner Brigitte Berman’s The River of My Dreams (pictured), which profiles Canadian actor-writer-director Gordon Pinsent; and Nicholas de Pencier’s Black Code, which examines how the Internet is being controlled and manipulated by governments to censor and monitor citizens.

Dilip Mehta’s Mostly Sunny, recounting the story of adult film star turned Bollywood actor Sunny Leone, will also make its world premiere alongside Fred Peabody’s All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception, and The Spirit of I.F. Stone, which profiles the changing face of investigative journalism; and Hubert DavisGiants of Africa, following Toronto Raptors president and GM Masai Ujiri as he travels to Africa to stage basketball development camps.

Rounding out the list of Canadian documentaries premiering at this year’s festival are Jamie Kastner‘s docu-thriller The Skyjacker’s Tale, about U.S. fugitive Ishmael Muslim Ali, who hijacked a plane to Cuba after being convicted of murdering eight people on a golf course owned by the Rockefellers; and Hugh Gibson‘s The Stairs, which follows three individuals who survived street involvement in Toronto to become public health workers.

Elsewhere, the Short Cuts program will feature Martin Edralin‘s world premiering Emma, which follows a 14-year-old girl struggling to accept her changing appearance due to alopecia; and Peter Huang’s 5 Films About Technology, looking at the dumber side of modern technology.

Other doc shorts include Kelton Stepanowich’s Gods Acre, on a man forced with the decision to evacuate his family’s ancestral Cree lands; Justin Simms’ Hand.Line.Cod, on the traditional fishers of Fogo Island leading a modern experiment for sustainability; and Eden Mallina Awashish’s Nothing About Moccasins, on the director’s struggles to understand her grandmother’s refusal to allow her to shoot a film about moccasins.

Also premiering in the Short Cuts category is Ryan Noth and Tess Girard’s The Road to Webequie, in which a mining company promises to create opportunities for the remote Webequie First Nation; and Beauty Day director Jay Cheel‘s Twisted, on the urban legend of a small Ontario town being hit with a tornado during a drive-in screening of the movie Twister.

The 41st Toronto International Film Festival runs September 8 to 18. Further documentary announcements are expected in the coming weeks.

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.