Four of Netflix’s original documentaries will debut at the Toronto International Film Festival this year.
The festival, which runs from 8th September to 18th September, has already caught film fans’ attention with the premiere of the once-secret Blair Witch sequel from You’re Next director Adam Wingard, not to mention the latest from Ben Wheatley, Ana Lily Amirpour and Nacho Vigalondo (Colossal, starring Anne Hathaway). But Netflix is keen to be part of the festival’s diverse buzz, with the world premiere of a suitably varied mix of non-fiction films.
This includes Amanda Knox, a human story that goes past the headlines to examine the often fraught relationship between true crime tragedy, justice and entertainment.
Was she a cold-blooded psychopath who brutally murdered her roommate or a naive student abroad trapped in an endless nightmare? Directors Rod Blackhurst and Brian McGinn and producer Mette Heide explore the notorious case that made headlines around the world. The film will go on to premiere on Netflix on Friday 30th September.
Werner Herzog and Clive Oppenheimer’s Into the Inferno is a global journey exploring the deeply rooted relationship between humans and volcanoes. Speaking with scientists and indigenous peoples alike, they seek to understand the complex tie between mankind and one of nature’s greatest wonders. It premieres on Neflix on Friday 28th October.
The Ivory Game, from directors Richard Ladkani and Kief Davidson, is an international thriller on the frontlines of ending African elephant extinction that counts Leonardo DiCaprio as an executive producer.
The documentary goes into the dark and sinister underbelly of ivory trafficking, with award-winning director Richard Ladkani and Academy Award–nominated director Kief Davidson filming undercover for 16 months with a crack team of intelligence operatives, undercover activists, passionate frontline rangers and tough-as-nails conservationists. It premieres on Netflix on Friday 4th November.
The White Helmets, from the filmmaking team behind Virunga, is a Netflix original short documentary, set in Aleppo, Syria and Turkey in early 2016. As the violence intensifies, The White Helmets follows three volunteer rescue workers as they put everything on the line to save civilians affected by the war, all the while wracked with worry about the safety of their own loved ones. The film premieres on Friday 16th September.
Lisa Nishimura, Netflix VP of Original Documentary Programming says: “The breadth of our slate at the Toronto International Film Festival speaks to Netflix’s continued celebration of diverse voices and styles in the world of non-fiction. We are committed to pushing the boundaries of the documentary form, and our films screening at Toronto represent both emerging talent and iconic filmmakers during a thrilling time for documentaries.”
The announcement follows the news that Ava DuVernay’s The 13th, a look at the history of racial injustice in the U.S., will be the first non-fiction film to open the New York Film Festival. Two Sundance acquisitions, Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk’s Audrie & Daisy, which examines two teen assault cases tried in the new public square of shame of social media, and Kevin Macdonald’s Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang, a bio doc of the titular fireworks artist, are also slated for 2016 releases on Netflix, along with winner of the Tribeca Best Documentary Short, Extremis, which explores the decisions faced in urgent end-of-life cases.