TIFF ’13: Doc Conference nabs Jarecki, Gibney, Al Jazeera America

Doc-maker Andrew Jarecki is to keynote TIFF's 2013 Doc Conference, with a promise to share never-before-seen footage that will shed new light on his long-controversial classic Capturing the Friedmans (pictured).
August 13, 2013

Doc-maker Andrew Jarecki is to keynote the Toronto International Film Festival’s fifth annual Doc Conference, with a promise to share never-before-seen footage that will shed new light on his long-controversial classic Capturing the Friedmans (pictured).

Jarecki will kick off the two-day conference, which takes place on September 10-11, with a discussion about his Oscar-nominated 2003 doc, which at the time reopened the case of Jesse Friedman, a man who says he was wrongfully convicted of child molestation.

Since the film’s release, Jarecki has championed Friedman’s innocence; however the U.S. District Attorney issued a report this summer upholding Friedman’s conviction.

Jarecki and TIFF state that the filmmaker has filmed participants – including alleged victims – “telling a very different story.” The keynote session promises “new revelations,” as well as a reflection on “the role of the filmmaker embroiled in controversy.”

The Conference will continue in a controversial theme by hosting a conversation with Oscar-winner Alex Gibney, who will discuss the lawsuit surrounding tennis doc Venus and Serena, which he is the exec producer of.

The U.S. Tennis Association has sued the filmmakers behind the doc over footage used in it, which the filmmakers are defending as fair use. Gibney will opine on what this case, and others, could mean for the future of fair use.

The news comes as the festival also confirmed today (August 13) that it will host the North American premiere of Gibney’s long-in-the-works documentary on cyclist Lance Armstrong (pictured below), as reported in July.

the armstrong lie

Elsewhere, the ‘Seeking Doc Makers: Al Jazeera America’ session will see execs from the soon-to-launch U.S. channel discussing the opportunities on offer for documentary makers.

As previously reported, the network’s in-house docs unit will be coproducing and acquiring one-offs and series. In addition, there is to be a weekly strand called ‘Fault Lines,’ showcasing 25-minute correspondent-driven documentaries.

The strand will commission 12 to 15 films annually, and Fault Lines senior producer Carrie Lozano and commissioning producer Lucy Kennedy will be present at TIFF to discuss the new initiatives, along with a representative from the Al Jazeera America Documentary Unit.

Also presenting at the Conference will be Nusrat Durrani, senior VP and general manager of MTV World, who will host a case study looking at forthcoming global doc series Rebel Music.

The second day of the Conference (September 11) will see a keynote from distribution strategist Peter Broderick entitled ‘Becoming Truly Independent – The Best New Strategies,’ which will explore “cutting-edge strategies filmmakers are using to succeed on the frontiers of documentary distribution.”

There will also be a talk from sales agent Josh Braun, of Submarine Entertainment, entitled ‘The Art of the Deal,’ which will examine “what makes a good or bad deal for filmmakers.” Braun is selling docs at TIFF this year including The Unknown Known, Dangerous Acts and The Dog.

The Doc Conference will also feature three separate case studies looking at the feature docs Hondros: A Life in Frames, The Act of Killing and Midway. The full Conference line-up is available here.

In addition to the Conference, TIFF will also host a keynote conversation with Participant Media’s chairman Jeff Skoll and CEO Jim Berk, as part of its Industry Dialogues speaker series.

The duo will discuss their successes and the lessons learned from the company’s expansion into new territories, including the recently-launched TV channel Pivot. Participant is one of the companies involved in Errol Morris’s The Unknown Known, which has its North American premiere at this year’s festival.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.