If you’re a film buff or in Toronto, you should already know by now, that the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) kicked of yesterday.
A few weeks ago, the online world was all in a tizzy over rumours of a supposed ‘Watch the Throne’ documentary that would be debuting at TIFF. However, no such film exists on TIFF’s film schedule, but that doesn’t mean hip-hop still doesn’t get any shine at TIFF.
Below is a list of films worth checking out this TIFF season:
1. 100 Musicians – City politics enters the bedroom in this short film about a couple who argue over what they just heard on the radio, will the mayor hire 100 musicians or 100 policemen? Based on the Dionne Brand short story “June”, the film stars Rainbow Sun Francks and Abena Malika.
2. 9.79*– After Canada’s relay team lost the bronze at this year’s Olympics, many were reminded of the strained history of Canada’s track and field team that began with Ben Johnson. Filmmaker Daniel Gordon fleshes out the controversial story of Johnson and the 1988 Olympics and the mystery that still shrouds the infamous race.
3. Bad 25 – Calling all MJ stans! In honour of the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s Bad album, Spike Lee takes viewers behind the scenes of the recording for the epochal follow-up to Thriller. Appearances are made by: Questlove (of the Roots/Late Night with Jimmy Fallon), Kanye West, Cee-Lo, Mariah Carey and Sheryl Crow.
4. Free Angela & All Political Prisoners – The documentary chronicles the life of political activist, author and educator, Angela Davis. A former member of the Communist and Black Panther Parties, the film looks at Davis’ arrest, imprisonment and highly publicized trial during the 1970s.
5. How to Make Money Selling Drugs – Need I say more? Taking a satirical look at the drug game, the film maps out the how-tos of building a drug empire, and the unwinnable ‘war on drugs’. “Freeway” Ricky Ross (from BMF, not the rapper), Russell Simmons, 50 Cent and Eminem all appear in the film.
6. Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp – When reformed pimp, Iceberg Slim detailed his life in his 1969 book, Pimp: The Story of My Life, it marked the start of his successful literary career. The film traces the life of Slim and his impact on generations, including the likes of Ice-T, Chris Rock, Snoop Dogg, Katt Williams and Quincy Jones.
7. Home Again – Director Sudz Sutherland (Love, Sex & Eating the Bones), tells the story of three characters deported from their adopted home, forced to reintegrate themselves into their “home” of origin, while examining the policy that began in the 90s that deported thousands of Canadian, British and American-bred criminals back to Jamaica.
8. Middle of Nowhere – The film tells the story of Ruby (Emayatzy Corinealdi) torn between her unmitigated devotion to her incarnated husband Derek (Omari Hardwick) and the life she has always wanted. Becoming the first black woman to win the Best Director prize at Sundance, with this film, Ava DuVernay captures loves destructive and rehabilitating powers.
9. Burn It Djassa – Set against the backdrop of slam poetry and beat of street dancing in the Ivory Coast, the film centers on 25-year-old Tony, seeking a way out the ghetto and the desperate measures he takes. While on the surface a gritty crime drama, the film encapsulates the vibrant artistic movement taking over the Ivory Coast.
10. Reincarnated – Remember when you heard Snoop Dogg changed his name to Snoop Lion and you thought he’d lost his mind? Well, this movie explains all that. The documentary follows Snoop as he embarks on a pilgrimage to Jamaica, where he reflects on his early years in Long Beach, delves into Rastafarian culture, and rechristened ‘a lion’.
There are many more films definitely worth seeing, for all ages, from different countries, of different genres, on just about every topic. For show times, event schedules or for more information on the films included in this year’s film festival, check out the official TIFF website http://tiff.net/. While tickets may be hard to come by, if you do end up seeing any of the films mentioned, hit up the comments and let us know what you think!