Five Documentaries You Won’t Want To Miss at TIFF 2017

Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars, photo courtesy of TIFF
Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars, photo courtesy of TIFF

By Lori Bosworth

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) takes place in Toronto from September 7-17, 2017. This year, TIFF is screening 20 per cent fewer films than last year, which is admittedly still quite a few to pick and choose from. We’ve highlighted five must see documentaries at TIFF 2017 below. (Please note the schedule for TIFF will be released on August 22, 2017):

Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars, photo courtesy of TIFF
Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars, photo courtesy of TIFF

Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars

Directed by Lili Fini Zanuck, this documentary provides an intimate portrait of legendary guitarist and singer Eric Clapton. Clapton originated as a member of the Yardbirds, Derek and the Dominoes and Cream before venturing out on his own. This portrait of the 18-time Grammy Award winner features interviews with the late BB King, George Harrison and Jimi Hendrix, all of whom were friends of Clapton. The film examines Clapton’s troubled youth, born to a 16-year-old mother, his later battle with drugs and alcohol and the tragic circumstances of and healing from his four-year-old son’s death. Eric Clapton: Life in Bars is 135 min. World Premiere.

Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!

Morgan Spurlock returns in this sequel to Super Size Me in which he opens a fast food restaurant serving “fast food with integrity”. You may remember Spurlock exposed the dishonest marketing tactics of the fast food industry when he documented eating McDonald’s food for 30 days, which lead to a weight gain of 24 pounds, as well as physical and mental problems. In the sequel doc, Spurlock’s fast food restaurant serves healthier options such as crispy chicken sandwich and crunchy green beans and the restaurant raises its own free range, hormone-and-antibiotic-free chickens. Run time is 93 min. World Premiere.

One of Us, photo courtesy of TIFF
One of Us, photo courtesy of TIFF

One of Us

Directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, One of Us is a documentary about three Hasidic Jews who decide to break away from their Hasidic community in New York City. Despite facing retaliation from their community, they reject their ultra-orthodox roots to discover their freedom in a new world. The documentary investigates what makes one person question the status quo and seek better circumstances despite massive opposition. Ewing and Grady’s Oscar-nominated film, Jesus Camp, examined an extremist evangelical community. The run time is 95 min. World Premiere.

The Gospel According to Andre

Andre Leon Talley is the former editor-at-large for Vogue Magazine. This documentary, directed by Kate Novack, traces Talley’s roots from the segregated American south of the 50’s where Talley’s grandmother instilled in the youngster a love of fashion. Talley went on to obtain a B.A. in French studies and an M.A. in French studies from Brown University before taking a job at Andy Warhol’s Factory in New York City. Other gigs included an internship under Diana Vreeland at the Metropolitan Museum of Art before taking fashion editorial assignments at Women’s Wear Daily and the New York Times before beginning at Vogue. The documentary features interviews with Marc Jacobs, Anna Wintour, Valentino, Tom Ford, Manolo Blahnik and Bethann Hardison. The run time is 94 minutes. World Premiere.


Directed by Brett Morgan, Jane documents the life of Dame Jane Goodall and includes 50-year-old footage of the famous anthropologist during her work with chimpanzees in Tanzania. Goodall is the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees, having studied the social interaction of the primate for 55 years. Goodall has been a strong advocate for conservation and animal welfare. The documentary features a score by Philip Glass. The run time is 90 min. World Premiere.

Tickets for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) go on sale Sept. 2, 2017 for members and Sept. 4, 2017 for non-members. Purchase tickets online on the TIFF website or on the TIFF app.

Those are out must see documentaries at TIFF 2017. What are you planning to see at TIFF this year?