What would movies be without music? The two artforms are inseparable, whether it’s a musician composing a soundtrack for a film or a film documenting the career of a musician.
TIFF covers the relationship between movies and music from both angles this year with a lineup of screenings and events for festival-going music fans. Here are six you won’t want to miss.
JT + the Tennessee Kids
If you’re going to make a concert documentary, Jonathan Demme is the guy to hire. A huge fan of Demme’s Talking Heads doc, “Stop Making Sense,” Justin Timberlake knew exactly who he wanted to capture the back and side stage vibes from the last stop on his 20/20 Experience tour. Las Vegas is the setting for several performances that cap off two years of touring for JT and his team of backing performers—and they’re nothing short of awe-inspiring. “Justin Timberlake and the Tennessee Kids” will have its world premiere at TIFF.
If you’ve ever wanted to see Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Seth MacFarlane, Jennifer Saunders, Nick Kroll, Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon go up against each other in an “Idol”-style singing competition, this is as close as you’re likely to get. “Sing” is an animated feature from the team behind “Despicable Me” and “Minions” that sees the above stars voice animal characters who come together to save a koala’s theatre from being shut down. Competitors include: a mother of 25 (piglets), a punk rock porcupine, and a gangster gorilla looking to get out of the game.
The Rolling Stones Olé Olé Olé!: A Trip Across Latin America
There’s no shortage of movies documenting the career of the legendary Rolling Stones. But Grammy-nominated director Paul Dugdale (the guy behind concert docs on Adele, One Direction, Coldplay, and The Prodigy) has managed to film something never seen before: the Stones in concert for the first time in Havana, Cuba—a place rock music was once outlawed. In “The Rolling Stones Olé Olé Olé!” Dugdale follows the band as they wind across South America towards their final, historic destination with only small obstacles like Barack Obama and the Pope in their path.
Pharrell and friends perform ‘Hidden Figures’
“Hidden Figures,” Theodore Melfi’s true-life drama about the team of black female mathematicians behind NASA’s efforts to launch astronaut John Glenn into space (and get him back to Earth) won’t be ready in time to premiere at TIFF but a special “members-only screening” of some early footage plus a Q&A with Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, and Pharrell Williams will take place on September 10. Afterward, Pharrell, who produced the music for the film, will perform live on Festival Street.
Arriving in Toronto via Cannes, “Gimme Danger” is director Jim Jarmusch’s ode to Iggy and The Stooges. The documentary uses interviews both new and old to trace the career of the once self-destructive rocker and his band from inception to breakup to their ultimate reunion in 2003. Expect to see all the lows and highs (some of them literal) that come with fronting a rock band that’s existed for nearly half a century.
King of The Dancehall
Nick Cannon, Busta Rhymes, Whoopi Goldberg, and Canadian singer Kreesha Turner join forces for a movie about how the high costs of medical care in the U.S. can push a person to do crazy things—like uproot their life in Brooklyn to move to Kingston, Jamaica and pursue a get-rich-quick scheme in the world of weed and dancehall music. That’s first-time director Cannon’s “King of The Dancehall” in a nutshell. It’s a lively love letter to the scene that brought you Beenie Man (featured heavily on the soundtrack) as well as influenced newer artists like Toronto’s own Drake. TIFF will host the movie’s world premiere.