Tom RostonIndependent journalist Tom Roston checks in and writes about the world of documentaries in his column, Doc Soup.

You can follow Tom on Twitter @DocSoupMan.

Doc Soup: Doc Highlights at the Toronto International Film Festival

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Toronto International Film Festival 2010What a great film festival. Maybe it’s how lovely Toronto is in September. Maybe it’s the enthusiastic audiences. Maybe it’s the great restaurants. Or maybe it’s how the festival treats otherwise art-house fare like big blockbusters. These are just a few of the reasons I have always loved the Toronto International Film Festival over the many years I attended. (Really, the best thing about the festival is how it achieves a balance between commercial and quality with such great finesse.)

Time and life have interceded, and it’s been a few years since I’ve been there. But when I look at the documentary slate that Thom Powers & Co. have compiled, it just makes me shake my head in awe. I want to take a look at some of the most notable films on the list, but before I do, allow me to make one very selfish plea: Why does the festival have to happen when the first week of school begins? Don’t any of you people have children? As a concerned father, I don’t like to abandon my kids during this time of need. Can anyone else relate? Please, you heartless Canadians, move the festival back one week into mid-September!

Anyway, for now, let’s take a look at this fest feast:

POV Blog - Springsteen, Cover of "Darkness at the Edge of Town" AlbumThe Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town: Of all the fiction and non-fiction films, this documentary by Thom Zimny is getting some of the most buzz because of its subject matter: A trip into the studio with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band for the recording of their fourth album. The Boss will be on hand to celebrate, and this rock doc will be the hottest ticket in town.

Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer: 
OK, so Alex Gibney‘s exposé of the sex scandal that rocked New York’s governor has been seen before in a rougher version, but the film is complete and it’s a near lock for an Oscar nomination.

Inside Job: The much-anticipated sophomore effort from Charles Ferguson will do for the financial crisis what his No End in Sight did for the Iraq war: Tell it like it is.

The master Errol Morris goes back to his strong suit with this sick and weird but oh-so-American story of a former Miss Wyoming with serious relationship issues.

Cave of Forgotten Dreams: 
I’d watch Werner Herzog‘s next movie if it was just about him contemplating his navel. In fact, his last film — Encounters at the End of the World, was pretty much that, with a very white (Antarctica, that is) backdrop. But here, he goes into the Chauvet caves of southern France, and he does it in 3-D!

Boxing Gym: 
One of the guiding lights of documentary cinema, Frederick Wiseman, returns with a classic tale of a boxing gym in Austin, Texas.

Other documentaries of note: 
Erotic Man, in which director
Jørgen Leth, covers the planet in search of the erotic; Armadillo, another entry into the expanding genre of grim Afghanistan war docs, tells of Danish troops in combat; The Sound of Mumbai: A Musical
 looks to be a tearjerker that’ll hit all the right notes as it tells of children living in Mumbai, India, who perform The Sound of Music with a classical orchestra; in Pink Saris, top director Kim Longinotto paints a portrait of Pal Devi, the leader of the “Pink Gang,” who combats violence against women.

Tom Roston
Tom Roston
Tom Roston is a guest columnist for POV's documentary blog. He comes to us as a ten-year veteran of Premiere magazine, where he was a Senior Editor, and where he wrote the column, Notes from the Dream Factory. Tom was born and raised in New York City. He graduated from Brown University and started his career in journalism at The Nation and then Vanity Fair. Tom has also written for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, GQ, New York, Elle and other publications. Tom's favorite documentaries are: 1. Koyanisqaatsi - Godfrey Reggio 2. Hoop Dreams - Steve James 3. The Up series - Michael Apted 4. Crumb - Terry Zwigoff 5. Capturing the Friedmans - Andrew Jarecki
  • JamesEduard

    FOREIGNID: 28709
    A very concerned person that don’t look primarily on his own happiness but on the welfare of others. Great attitude you got there. I love film festival too for I am a film lover. Great thought you have shared.

  • janice

    FOREIGNID: 28953
    Where do you find interested people who are looking for new children’s programs. We have many that still are over and over and it is hard to find anyone to just listen or read a proposal. I understand everyone thinks they have the next best thing…all I want is to find someone to take a look and tell me if there is anyone that might be interested. Children’s programs that are educational and fun we need more of.
    A new show called Doonie the rainbow dog with books that are coming out in two weeks with a theme song. Barney was fun and educational in his day. If anyone out there who knows anyone who might want to take a look, yes I would appreciate it so much. Just contact me @ and I bet you will not be disappointed.