TIFF 2014: Lonnie Franklin, BASE jumpers among doc world premieres

New docs about Lonnie Franklin and the father of BASE jumping will premiere in Toronto's documentary section

New documentaries about the culture-jamming comedy troupe the Yes Men, the BASE jumping pioneer Carl Boenish and the alleged Los Angeles serial killer Lonnie Franklin will make their world premieres in the documentary section of the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival, organizers announced Tuesday. Also, there will be a new movie directed by Ethan Hawke about a piano teacher.

British provocateur Nick Broomfield examines Franklin’s story in “The Tales of the Grim Sleeper,” which looks at Franklin, the notorious Southland figure who remains in jail awaiting trial, suspected of killing as many as 10 people (his nickname derives from an apparent hiatus between 1988 and 2002).

Marah Strauch takes a look at Boenish in her new film "Sunshine Superman."  Boenish was an engineer and filmmaker who invented the daredevil sport that has given rise to a few documentaries of late.

And director Laura Nix helps the Yes Men get back to their old tricks with their third filmic effort, a crowd-funded movie that counts among its producers Will Ferrell partner Adam McKay. This time the group is seeking to raise awareness about the environment; a Kickstarter page promised “screwball comedy, nail-biting suspense, nasty stings, and informative documentary. It'll also have a gripping personal story line the first two films lacked.”

Hawke, currently in the arthouse darling “Boyhood,” gets behind the camera to look at the life of the piano teacher Seymour Bernstein in “Seymour: An Introduction," about a noted ivory-tickler who gave up a concert pianist career at 50 to focus on teaching.

On a timely note, the festival will see the world premiere of “This Is My Land,” French first-timer Tamara Erde’s look at several Israeli and Palestinian teachers over the course of a year.

Joshua Oppenheimer will bring “The Look of Silence,” his follow-up to “The Act of Killing” that further explores the Indonesian anti-communist mass murder of 1965 and 1966, to Toronto after a world premiere at Venice and a possible screening at Telluride. 

And Cannes faves “National Gallery,” Frederick Wiseman’s exploration of the famed London museum, and “Red Army,” Gabe Polsky’s examination of the Soviet ice hockey team during and after the Cold War, will also play TIFF.

Toronto, the late-summer showcase for prestige films, kicks off Sept. 4 with the world premiere of David Dobkin’s legal dramedy “The Judge.”

Organizers Tuesday also announced films in the confab’s Masters section, which include world premieres of new movies by Michael Winterbottom (“The Face of an Angel”) and Bent Hamer (“1001 Grams”), as well as screenings of Cannes darlings “Leviathan” from the Russian filmmaker Andrey Zvyagintsev and Jean-Luc Godard’s “Goodbye to Language 3D.”

The Venice selection and runaway winner for best title of any film ever made or that ever will be made, “A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence,” from the Swedish absurdist auteur Roy Andersson will make its North American premiere there.

The Midnight Madness section, meanwhile, will feature world premieres from Jaume Balaguero, Jalmari Heleander and Jonas Govaerts, as well as screenings of past fest genre favorites “It Follows,” David Robert Mitchell’s Millennial sex parable that debuted at Cannes, and “The Guest,” Adam Wingard’s mysterious-stranger thriller that premiered at Sundance.

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