Two documentary films to Toronto

TORONTO. A personal road movie from Syria unfolds in Andreas Dalsgaard and Obaidah Zytoon's "The War Show," while a notorious crime case takes centre stage in Brian McGinn and Rod Blackhurst's "Amanda Knox." Both films are selected for Toronto Film Festival's doc showcase TIFF Docs.

As a new crop of films was announced Tuesday for the upcoming Toronto Film Festival, two Danish-produced documentary films, "The War Show" and "Amanda Knox," made it to the line-up for the TIFF Docs section screening brand-new real-life stories from around the world.

Already announced for Canada's number one festival for world cinema is Thomas Vinterberg's "The Commune," which will be screening as a Special Presentation.

The War Show

"The War Show" directed by Andreas Dalsgaard and Obaidah Zytoon takes us to the Arab Spring in Syria.

In March 2011, Syrian radio host Obaidah Zytoon and her circle of friends join the street protests against President Bashar al-Assad, as the Arab Spring reaches Syria. Knowing their country would be changed forever, this group of artists and activists begin filming their lives and the events around them. But as the regime’s violent response spirals the country into a bloody civil war, their hopes for a better future will be tested by violence, imprisonment and death. Obaidah leaves Damascus and journeys around the country, from her hometown of Zabadani, to the center of the rebellion in Homs, and to northern Syria where she witnesses the rise of extremism. A deeply personal road movie, the film captures the fate of Syria through the intimate lens of a small circle of friends.

Andreas Dalsgaard graduated as fiction film director from the National Film School of Denmark in 2009, but already made his directorial debut a few years earlier with the documentary "Afghan Muscles" (2007), winner of the Best Director prize at the AFI Fest in Los Angeles. Working in documentary since, his films include "Bogota Change" (2009), "The Human Scale" (2012), the doc-fiction "Travelling with Mr. T" (2012) and "Life is Sacred" (2015).

"The War Show" is written by Andreas Dalsgaard and Obaidah Zytoon, with Miriam Nørgaard and Alaa Hassan producing for Fridthjof Film. The film is made in co-production with Oktober Oy of Finland and has received funding from the Danish Film Institute and national broadcaster DR.

As announced a few weeks back, the film will be celebrating its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, in the independent, auteur-driven section Venice Days. Toronto marks the film's North American premiere. 

Amanda-Knox_450Amanda Knox. Photo: Plus Pictures

Amanda Knox

Brian McGinn and Rod Blackhurst is the American director duo behind "Amanda Knox," a collaboration with Danish producer Mette Heide. Heide was also on board McGinn's prize-winning film from 2012, "The Record Breaker," about the multi Guinness World Record holder Ashrita Furman.

Twice convicted and twice acquitted by Italian courts of the brutal killing of her British roommate Meredith Kercher, Amanda Knox became the subject of global speculation as non-stop media attention fed the public's fascination through every twist and turn of the nearly decade-long case. In a world that remains strongly divided on the legal findings, the film goes beyond guilt or innocence to shed new light on the events and circumstances of the past nine years. Featuring unprecedented access to key people involved and never-before-seen archival material, the film shifts between past to present, exploring the case from the inside out in exclusive interviews with Amanda Knox, her former co-defendant and ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, Italian prosecutor Giuliano Mignini and Daily Mail reporter Nick Pisa.

Mette Heide has produced for Plus Pictures, and the Danish Film Institute has backed the film, which is scheduled for a Netflix release following the world premiere in Toronto.

The two films will be joined by Amat Escalante's Mexican-Danish co-production "The Untamed", selected for Vanguard. The film will be enjoying its world premiere in the Venice Film Festival's main competition (31 August – 10 September).

Danish participation at Toronto

  • "The Commune" / Thomas Vinterberg / Special Presentation
  • "The War Show" / Andreas Dalsgaard, Obaidah Zytoon / TIFF Docs
  • "Amanda Knox" / Brian McGinn, Rod Blackhurst / TIFF Docs
  • "The Untamed" / Amat Escalante / Mexican-Danish co-production / Vanguard

Toronto Film Festival will be announcing more films in their line-up 2016 over the coming weeks.

Toronto International Film Festival 8-18 September 2016