Some of them are really funny, some are deadly controversial, but the effect is the same -- documentary films have garnered unprecedented attention at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).
"The Topp Twins", a film about New Zealand's finest lesbian country-and-western singers, on Saturday took the People's Choice Awards for documentary film. And the first runner-up was "Capitalism: a Love Story," the most recent piece of the controversial yet well-recognized Michael Moore from the United States.
It was the first time in its 34-year history for the biggest North American film celebration to add a documentary category to its much-coveted People's Choice Awards.
"We balanced the topics of the documentaries and look for films from different aspects when we were selecting movies. We tried to have an international view." Thom Powers, TIFF documentary programmer, told Xinhua on Saturday right before the release of the Awards' winners.
"This year's documentaries have a sense of immediacy like never before," Powers said. "Current events are getting a fresh perspective in films about the post-crash economy, Iran, Berlusconi, surrogate mothers, U.S. Army veterans and more."
Powers, also the founder and artistic director of the Stranger Than Fiction documentary series in New York, has selected documentary movies for the TIFF for four years. The premieres he has presented include films from veteran directors such as Werner Herzog, Jonathan Demme, David Guggenheim and Kevin Rafferty, as well as the first feature length works of Adria Petty, Kristopher Belman and Jeffrey Levy-Hinte.
"Maybe I created too many noises about how important documentary film is, so TIFF agrees with me in order not to hear from me again," Powers quipped when asked why the TIFF created a separate documentary category in the People's Choice Awards.