The annual Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is gearing up for another whirlwind of stars, red carpets and movie binges. And like any other year, music documentaries and feature films are integral to the silver screen bonanza for this edition. Here then are a handful of docs and films which highlighting TIFF 2018.
Its trailer received over six million YouTube views since its early June release. And given the anticipation surrounding it, the remake of this 1976 film is one of TIFF’s Special Presentations. Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper star as the main characters Ally and Jackson Maine, respectively. According to the festival site the cast also includes Dave Chappelle and Andrew Dice Clay (yes, that Andrew Dice Clay). Expect plenty of praise along with early Oscar buzz on the horizon.
This documentary makes its world premiere at TIFF celebrating the extraordinary career of producer, arranger and musical genius Quincy Jones. Co-directed by Quincy’s daughter Rashida, the film sees Jones, now 85 years young, planning an A-list concert which serves as a jumping off point for a reflection on his incredible career. According to TIFF.net, it should be a fascinating look at a man who has worked with everyone from Tony Bennett to Frank Sinatra to Michael Jackson.
A Canadian First Nations musician, Mary Birchbark (played by Tantoo Cardinal), returns home after years spent touring and recording. Yet her hopes of leading a simpler life away from the music industry grind isn’t as easy as it would seem. In addition to TIFF the film will also be the Opening Night Gala presentation at the annual imagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival in October in Toronto.
This film makes its North American debut at TIFF and concerns a father (played by Moshe Folkenflik) who must revisit his past to cope with a devastating reality. The former rock star, now a Hasidic Jew, needs money to pay for his young daughter’s cancer treatment. According to TIFF’s official site the film covers a “broad spectrum of grief, rage, and exaltation.” The film is Hebrew with English subtitles.
Although released in other regions last year according to Variety.com this documentary has its North American premiere at TIFF. Director Tom Volf assembled a collage of footage, audio and letters by the legendary opera star. Fortunately, Volf doesn’t omit some of the highlights of the film including Callas’ performances of iconic arias from Tosca and Carmen among others. According to TIFF’s festival site, the film also is a timely complement to Volf’s upcoming book entitled Maria Callas: Letters & Memoires.
Plenty of music has come out of New York City’s Greenwich Village but this documentary looks at one of the makers behind the instruments which made that music. According to SphinxProductions.com, the film focuses on Rick Kelly, a guitar craftsman who has made beautiful instruments from “reclaimed wood from old hotels, bars, churches and other local buildings.” Kelly’s works have been held by the likes of Bob Dylan and Lou Reed but it’s the daily hustle and bustle of the store which is the documentary’s lifeblood. The documentary also has some Canadiana thanks to The Sadies providing the musical score.