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12 items from 2011

10 Best Documentaries of 2011

22 November 2011 7:21 AM, PST | SoundOnSight | See recent SoundOnSight news »

Documentaries have come a long way in the past twenty years, especially in the past decade. Ten years ago, I would have been at a loss for words had you asked me to name ten “great” documentaries released in a single year. Documentary film has developed into a popular and visible form of entertainment, while having a bigger effect on society, usually addressing important issues with the goal of informing the public and pushing for social change.

The shortlist of documentary nominees for the 84th Annual Academy Awards were announced recently. As expected, many bloggers have commented on their disappointment with the number of misfires. I doubt that these same bloggers have seen the majority of the films listed, so it is a bit unfair that they presume these 15 titles aren’t worthy of consideration. With that said, I can say that two of the best films I’ve seen »

- Ricky

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Tiff 2011 – Twelve Days In: Ricky D’s final blog entry plus twenty two more reviews to digest

19 September 2011 11:21 AM, PDT | SoundOnSight | See recent SoundOnSight news »

The Toronto International Film Festival ended yesterday and I have to say, it is the most exhausting film festival I have ever attended. Even compared to Fantasia, which runs nearly four weeks long, Tiff manages to suck all my energy. Perhaps the main reason why I find it so tiring is because screenings start as early as 9:00 Am and go until midnight, and somewhere in between you have to find time to write about the festival. This year’s Cadillac People Choice Award winner was a bit of a surprise, awarded to a film that no one I know saw, Nadine Labaki’s Where do We Go Now, a film Tiff describes as: “heartwarming tale of a group of women’s determination to protect their isolated, mine-encircled community from the pervasive and divisive outside forces that threaten to destroy it from within”. Our crew posted thier list of their »

- Ricky

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Tiff 2011 Wrap Up – The Sound On Sight staff picks their three personal favorite films

18 September 2011 6:17 PM, PDT | SoundOnSight | See recent SoundOnSight news »


The Toronto International Film Festival website.


Well The Toronto International Film Festival has finally ended tonight. After posting the festival award winners earlier this evening, the Sound On Sight staff – those who were present at the festival this year, decided to submit a list of their three favourite films. We should have some more reviews and articles posted in the next two days before we head out to Fantastic Fest, so keep coming back. In the meantime here are our lists. Enjoy!

Ricky D

1- Shame

Few filmmakers have probed so deeply into the soul-crushing depths of sexual addiction as bravely as McQueen does here. Shame is a remarkable snapshot of addiction and self-harm: daunting, powerful, disturbing, provocative, enthralling and visually arresting. It is also quite simply the best film of 2011.

2- Take Shelter

Anchored by Michael Shannon’s awards-worthy performance, Take Shelter is a brilliant paranoid thriller that taps into contemporary dread. »

- Ricky

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Tiff 2011: The Year Of The Doc?

17 September 2011 1:08 PM, PDT | Filmmaker Magazine - Blog | See recent Filmmaker Magazine news »

The buzz word at this year’s Tiff is “doc.” For the first time in its 35-year history, the Toronto International Film Festival opened with a documentary: Davis Guggenheim‘s From The Sky Down, which profiles the world’s most popular rock band, U2. Filmgoers and critics are also buzzing over Crazy Horse, by verite legend Frederick WisemanSamsara (by Baraka‘s Ron Fricke); Tony Krawitz‘s The Tall Man,; and Girl Model by Ashley Sabin and David Redmon.

The doc vibe was in the air on Monday morning at a breakfast launch for Focus Foward. Sponsored by Cinelan and Ge, Focus Forward invites big-name documentarians such as Morgan Spurlock (Comic-Con: Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope), Nick Broomfield (Sarah Palin: You Betcha) and Jessica Yu (Last Call at the Oasis) to make three-minute socially conscious docs that A-list festivals like Sundance, Idfa and Tribeca will screen. It was a »

- Allan Tong

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Tiff, Day 9: A Going-Out-of-Business Sale?

17 September 2011 10:14 AM, PDT | The Wrap | See recent The Wrap news »

It's (almost) all over but the buying. There's not much time left, but the consensus out of the Toronto International Film Festival is that the final weekend is apt to see a spate of deals. Buyers are reportedly circling offerings as disparate as Oren Moverman's grim cop drama "Rampart," Christopher Plummer's acting tour de force "Barrymore" and Ron Fricke's wordless and plotless "Samsara" – and deals that aren't announced on Saturday or Sunday may well be coming in the days immediately after the fest's Sunday conclusion. On Friday, the Tiff press office »

- Steve Pond

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Tiff 2011: ‘Samsara’ is not to be missed

16 September 2011 9:37 PM, PDT | SoundOnSight | See recent SoundOnSight news »


Directed by Ron Fricke

Written by Ron Fricke & Mark Magidson

USA, 2011

Covering Tiff has been a privilege for many reasons, but particularly for the opportunity to screen Ron Fricke’s awe-inspiring Samsara. The follow-up to 1992′s breathtaking Baraka, Fricke surpasses even that great film with an effort that can only be described in superlatives, and with what sounds like hyperbole, but isn’t. Like Baraka before it, Samasra is something akin to a human-centric, arthouse Planet Earth, surveying the globe in a series of astonishing, dialogue-free, 70mm vistas, and underscored by a mixture of traditional instrumental and choral music. Fricke further demonstrates his mastery of time-lapse imagery, a technique that invests even familiar sights – say a helicopter shot of an L.A. freeway – with a hypnotic, organic rhythm. That Samsara is instantly one of the most visually-stunning films in the history of cinema is reason enough to cherish it, »

- Julian

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Toronto 2011. Real to Reel + Mavericks Previews

25 August 2011 2:37 AM, PDT | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

There are a couple of reasons for revisiting the Toronto International Film Festival's lineup for its documentary program, Real to Reel. One of them is Aj Schnack's interview with Thom Powers, Tiff's Documentary and Mavericks Programmer, posted just hours after the Mavericks lineup was announced on Tuesday. Discussing the highlights of both programs, they touch on another reason: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory is making all sorts of headlines. Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky's third film chronicling the odyssey of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr, aka the West Memphis Three, through the labyrinth of the Us legal system, follows Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (1996) and Paradise Lost 2: Revelations (2000). All three films deal with what Powers calls in his Programmer's Note "an 18-year-old murder case that has become an iconic example of a legal witch hunt." In 1993, when all three men were still teens, »

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Toronto International Film Festival 2011 Lineup

9 August 2011 7:14 AM, PDT | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

News is rolling out of Toronto for this year's festival, with the Galas and the Special Presentations sections announced.  As always with Tiff, the sheer number of films can seem overwhelming, but with new films by David Cronenberg (A Dangerous Method, pictured above), Terence Davies (!), Francis Ford Coppola, Wang Xiaoshuai, Marjane Satrapi & Vincent Paronnaud, and William Friedkin added to big names that premiered already this year (including Almodóvar, Von Trier, Nanni Moretti, and Nicolas Winding Refn) it looks like the 2011 iteration will be as packed with must-see cinema as ever before.  We'll be updating this listing as new lineups are announced.  See Tiff's official website for details.


Albert Nobbs (Rodrigo Garcia, Ireland) Butter (Jim Field Smith, USA) A Dangerous Method (David Cronenberg, France/Ireland/UK/Germany/Canada) From the Sky Down (Davis Guggenheim, USA) A Happy Event (Rémi Bezançon, France) The Ides of March (George Clooney, USA) The Lady (Luc Besson, »

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The Toronto International Film Festival has released the complete line-up of their impressive documentary slate

3 August 2011 4:51 PM, PDT | SoundOnSight | See recent SoundOnSight news »

The Toronto International Film Festival has released the complete line-up of their impressive documentary slate which include new works from directors such as Morgan Spurlock, Werner Herzog and Alex Gibney. Herzog explores a triple homicide case in Texas in Into the Abyss; Morgan Spurlock follows fans to San Diego’s Comic-Con in Comic-Con: Episode IV – A Fan’s Hope; Jessica Yu delivers a wake-up call about the world’s water supply in Last Call at the Oasis; and Nick Broomfield visits Wasilla, Alaska in his search for the ‘real’ Sarah Palin in Sarah Palin – You Betcha! Here is the complete line-up. Enjoy


Pina Wim Wenders, Germany/France

Canadian Premiere

German master filmmaker Wim Wenders shoots in 3D to capture the brilliantly inventive dance world of Pina Bausch and her company, Tanztheater Wuppertal. Excerpts from many of her most famous pieces are shot outside in the streets and parks of »

- Ricky

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Second Round Of Films Announced For Tiff 2011, Includes New Films From Wim Wenders, Werner Herzog, More

3 August 2011 1:02 PM, PDT | CriterionCast | See recent CriterionCast news »

A week after the announcement of the first, and largest, wave of films added to this year’s Toronto International Film Festival slate, the festival is now finally rounding out its list, with some of the most interesting additions yet.

Criterion Collection fans will again see a few of their more beloved filmmakers involved here, as Wim Wenders will be bowing his latest film, Pina, during the festival, as will Werner Herzog (not truly a Criterion Collection approved filmmaker, but we’ll count it). Herzog will be bringing his new documentary, Into The Abyss, which looks at those behind at triple homicide, including one man who is on death row and will be put to death just days after speaking with the filmmaker.

Other additions include Ron Fricke’s Baraka follow up, Samsara, Nick Broomfield’s surely controversial documentary Sarah Palin – You Betcha!, and documentaries from Alex Gibney and Morgan Spurlock. »

- Joshua Brunsting

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Toronto Film Festival Announces 2011 Midnight Madness, Documentary and Vanguard Selections

3 August 2011 10:39 AM, PDT | Rope of Silicon | See recent Rope Of Silicon news »

Shawn Ashmore, Ashley Bell, Shannyn Sossamon, Dominic Monaghan and Cory Hardrict in The Day

Photo: Content Media The 2011 Toronto International Film Festival announced 56 more movies added to its festival line-up this year with selections in the Vanguard, Midnight Madness, Documentaries, City to City and Tiff Kids programs. And to be honest, the line-up is filled with titles, most of which are absolutely new to me.

I have seen one of the films under the Vanguard banner, a selection of young and cutting edge features and I've heard of Joachim Trier's Oslo, August 31, Ben Wheatley's Kill List (watch the trailer to the right) was a hit at South by Southwest earlier this year and the documentary selections include familiar names such as Werner Herzog, Morgan Spurlock, Jonathan Demme, Alex Gibney and Wim Wenders, the latter of which is delivering a 3D documentary centered on the dance world of Pina Bausch and her company. »

- Brad Brevet

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Tiff 2011: Real to Reel Strikes Gold with Herzog, Wiseman, Demme, Yu, Gibney, Berlinger, Broomfield, Fricke, Glawogger and 15 Hour Film from Mark Cousins

3 August 2011 10:30 AM, PDT | ioncinema | See recent ioncinema news »

We had an smidgen of an idea that the Real to Reel section might be especially strong this year, but with the likes of Frederick Wiseman, Rithy Panh, Jonathan Demme, Werner Herzog, Jessica Yu, Alex Gibney, Joe Berlinger, Ron Fricke, Nick Broomfield and Michael Glawogger, we're now beginning to think that Thom Powers' section has not only outclassed Toronto's sister event Hot Docs, but just about any other doc-related film festival. Among the noteworthy World Premieres announced, we look forward to Gary Hustwit (Helvetica, Objectified) Urbanized, Andrey Paounov's The Boy Who Was King, Werner Herzog's Into the Abyss and the mind-numbing miscarriage of justice that has produced a trilogy of films from Joe Berlinger (Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory). Chronos and Baraka helmer Ron Fricke brings us what will be a visual feast in Samsara, and certainly good for a couple of laughs we have Jessica Yu's »

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