Exclusive: Scorsese’s “50 Year Argument” set for TIFF

The 50 Year Argument, Martin Scorsese (pictured) and David Tedeschi's documentary on The New York Review of Books, is to play at TIFF in Toronto next month, realscreen has learned.
August 11, 2014

The 50 Year Argument, Martin Scorsese (pictured) and David Tedeschi’s documentary on The New York Review of Books, is to have its Canadian premiere at TIFF in Toronto next month, realscreen has learned.

The 95-minute film will be the first Scorsese doc in nearly a decade to play at the Toronto International Film Festival, after No Direction Home: Bob Dylan had its world premiere at the fest back in 2005.

The 50 Year Argument - The New York Review of Books looks at the five-decade history of the titular American publication, weaving together rarely seen archival material with contributor interviews, original footage filmed in the Review’s Manhattan offices, and excerpts from writers such as Susan Sontag, Joan Didion, Norman Mailer, Gore Vidal and James Baldwin.

The film marks Scorsese’s sixth doc collaboration with Tedeschi, and their first as co-directors. Tedeschi previously served as editor on 2011′s George Harrison: Living in the Material World, 2010′s Public Speaking, 2008′s Shine a Light, 2005′s No Direction Home, and an episode of Scorsese’s 2003 doc series The Blues.

a 50 year agrumentAfter having an hour-long work-in-progress screening at the Berlin International Film Festival in February, The 50 Year Argument (pictured, right) had its official world premiere at Sheffield Doc/Fest in June, before play MIFF in Australia earlier this month.

The TIFF screening will be the doc’s Canadian premiere, with a New York festival premiere likely following at the 52nd New York Film Festival, which kicks off in late September.

Sources close to The 50 Year Argument confirmed the film’s Toronto invitation to realscreen on condition of anonymity, while a spokesperson for the festival declined to comment on any titles set to play at TIFF next month, beyond those docs that have already been announced.

As previously reported, The 50 Year Argument was coproduced by the BBC’s ‘Arena’ documentary strand, U.S. pay-TV net HBO, and Japanese network WOWOW. The BBC aired the film on TV in Britain in June, and HBO has slated the doc to air in the U.S. on September 29, following its North American festival run. Tel Aviv-based Cinephil is handling international sales.

The news comes after Toronto last week unveiled its Canadian docs line-up, which features new films from documentarians such as Sturla Gunnarsson and Alanis Obomsawin; and last month announced its main TIFF Docs line-up, which features new films from Nick Broomfield, Laura Nix, Joshua Oppenheimer, Fred Wiseman and Lixin Fan.

TIFF runs from September 4-14.

About The Author
Andrew Jeffrey joined Realscreen in 2021 as its news editor. Here, he helps to oversee assignment, reporting and editing for Realscreen's daily newsletter. Prior to his work covering documentary and non-fiction film and TV, he worked as a reporter and associate producer for CBC Edmonton, and as a reporter for The Star Calgary, where he covered daily news on beats such as local and provincial politics, health care and harm reduction, sports and education. His work has appeared in other Canadian news outlets such as TVO, the Edmonton Journal and Avenue Magazine.