Leonardo DiCaprio-fronted environmental film premieres; Justin Timberlake doc sets Netflix debut
The Toronto International Film Festival is barely underway, yet there's already been plenty of action on the nonfiction front.
More than half a dozen documentaries premiered on Thursday and Friday, the first two days of the festival. None was more eagerly anticipated than Before the Flood, the environmental film directed by Fisher Stevens and "starring" his friend Leonardo DiCaprio. The Wrap's Steve Pond offered praise for the film, calling it "a straightforward, elegantly presented survey of the science on climate change."
DiCaprio's presence will make it the highest-profile environmental doc since Davis Guggenheim and Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth...
Pond, an Oscar expert, also predicted the film would vault into the Academy Award race. Before the Flood -- previously titled The Turning Point --"follows [DiCaprio] as he travels to multiple countries, bearing witness to climate change on a scale that no one should deny," as the TIFF program put it.
Stevens co-produced the 2009 environmental-themed documentary The Cove, which won the Academy Award. He appeared at the Cannes Film Festival in May to unveil another film he co-directed, Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds.
Among the other documentaries premiering Friday was All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception and the Spirit of I.F. Stone by director Fred Peabody. The film explores the career of the late investigative journalist Stone and those who have taken up his mantle: Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi, Jeremy Scahill and others. Media consolidation in the hands of massive conglomerates has made the work of independent-minded journalists in the Stone tradition more important than ever.
Peabody, Taibbi, Amy Goodman and other journalists and experts featured in the film participated in a Q&A after the premiere Friday night. A press screening is scheduled for Saturday morning.
Other documentaries to premiere at TIFF in the opening two days include Karl Marx City: Amanda Knox; Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary; Hissein Habré, A Chadian Tragedy; Fire at Sea (Fuocoammare); The Sixth Beatle, and Citizen Jane: Battle for the City.
The Jonathan Demme concert documentary on Justin Timberlake, Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids, premieres next week at TIFF, but it won't be long before a wider audience gets to see it. Netflix, which previously acquired the film, announced it will debut on the streaming service October 12.
The film follows Timberlake on the final nights of his 20/20 Experience world tour, which culminated in Las Vegas. Demme, of course, is no stranger to concert films, having made the 1984 Talking Heads doc, Stop Making Sense.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and Documentary.org.