Tempest Storm: Burlesque Queen, a documentary from Nimisha Mukerji (65_RedRoses) about the titular 1950s burlesque star, has been selected as a finalist for the Toronto International Film Festival’s (TIFF) annual Pitch This! competition.
The film promises to explore the life of the 85-year-old star, who was born Annie Blanche Banks in the U.S. state of Georgia and who claims to have been romantically involved with both Elvis Presley and John F Kennedy.
The Pitch This! event, now in its 14th year, gives filmmaker teams six minutes to convince a jury of international industry experts — and an audience of over 200 industry professionals — that their feature film idea is worthy of a development award from Telefilm Canada.
This year the award has increased from CAD$10,000 to $15,000 (US$9,600 to $14,400). Tempest Storm will compete against five fiction projects.
The news comes as TIFF today unveiled its line-up of films from Canadian filmmakers, and confirmed that Watermark, a new documentary from director Jennifer Baichwal (Manufactured Landscapes, Payback), would have its world premiere at the festival, as revealed by realscreen last month.
The documentary, co-directed by Baichwal and Edward Burtynsky, is billed by the festival as bringing together “diverse stories from around the globe about our relationship with water: how we are drawn to it, what we learn from it, how we use it, and the consequences of that use.” The film is shot in “stunning 5K ultra high-definition video and full of soaring aerial perspectives,” the festival added.
TIFF also announced that Baichwal and fellow documentarian Frederick Wiseman (At Berkeley, Crazy Horse), would take part in the festival’s annual Talent Lab initiative, which runs from September 4-7.