Announcing Our Inaugural Lineup!

TTCFF fans and supporters, the time has finally come! We have been working tirelessly on finalizing our inaugural programming and it's now ready. We've got documentaries, we've got narratives, we've got short films, we've got talks—we've got it all! Please join us on Friday June 8th and Saturday June 9th at the Royal Cinema and Monarch Tavern. 15% of all pass and ticket sales will be donated to charities (more on that soon).

Access the full schedule and purchase tickets HERE and read on for an overview of our lineup!

ABDUCTED IN PLAIN SIGHT
Dir. Skye Borgman / USA / 2017 / 91 min / International Premiere

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ABDUCTED IN PLAIN SIGHT is a stranger-than-fiction documentary about the Brobergs; a naïve, church-going Idaho family that fell under the spell of a sociopathic neighbor who would stop at nothing to be with their twelve-year-old daughter. You will not believe how bizarre this true tale of obsession gets! Screens with short film MAYBE IF IT WERE A NICE ROOM (Dir. Alicia K. Harris, Canada, 2016).

MY NAME IS MYEISHA
Dir. Gus Krieger / USA / 2018 / 82 min / Canadian Premiere

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The award-winning Slamdance hit MY NAME IS MYEISHA is a hip-hop musical inspired by the 1998 police shooting of California teen Tyisha Miller (as well as countless other acts of police brutality against African American citizens) and adapted from the internationally acclaimed play, Dreamscape. Screens with Oscar-nominated short film TRAFFIC STOP (Dir. Kate Davis, USA, 2017).


THE STRANGER
Dir. Nicole Nielsen Horanyi / Denmark / 2017 / 100 min / Canadian Premiere

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After meeting the man of her dreams on Facebook, Amanda finds herself being swept off her feet by Casper, the dedicated father and charming heir to a family fortune. There’s only one problem—everything that Casper has told her is a lie. This documentary-narrative hybrid is made all the more fascinating with reenactments played out almost entirely by the actual characters of this twisted story of an imposter. Fans of the investigative podcast Dirty John will find themselves being drawn in by the similar themes of love, lies, and con artistry in THE STRANGER and won’t want to miss this DOC NYC Grand Jury Prize winning film. Screens with short film 42 COUNTS (Dir. Jill Gevargizian, USA, 2018).

 

HOSTAGES
Dir. Rezo Gigineishvili / Georgia | Russia | Poland / 2017 / 103 min / Canadian Premiere

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HOSTAGES is a tension-filled drama based on the true story of a 1983 airplane hijacking by a group of Georgian youth trying to escape the Soviet Union. Screens with short film DON’T BE A HERO (Dir. Pete Lee, USA, 2018).
 

MONSTER
Dir. Patty Jenkins / USA / 2003 / 109 min

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The film programming is rounded out by a 15th anniversary screening of Patty Jenkin’s Academy Award winning biopic MONSTER, which tells the tale of one of the world’s most infamous female serial killers, Aileen Wuornos. Screens with short film THE SANDMAN (Dir. Lauren Knapp, USA, 2017).

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Our symposium section will feature three daytime events through which audiences can get up close and personal with true crime professionals and media practitioners whose work centers on the world of true crime.

First up is the panel “Why Do Women Love True Crime?” presented by Investigation Discovery, America’s top-rated women’s network. Featuring ID’s own Keila Woodard, as well as filmmaker Catherine Legge (Met While Incarcerated) and more to be announced, this panel will look at womens’ historical engagement with true crime fandom, from the Victorian era to today.

Next, The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies presents visiting filmmaker and writer Rémy Bennett, who will present “L.A. Despair: Chasing Death with John Gilmore,” a multimedia presentation exploring the life and work of the late Noir and true crime writer John Gilmore that is a meditation on the relationship between pop cultural crime landmarks of the past century and celebrity iconography viewed amidst the landscape of the tragedies he chronicled.

And finally the symposium will close with the star-studded panel “The Rise of the Armchair Detective,” moderated by author Naben Ruthnum (who writes crime stories under the pen name Nathan Ripley), which looks at non-law enforcement professionals who have taken it upon themselves to investigate – and sometimes solve! – ongoing and cold cases, including journalists Christine Pelisek (who broke L.A’s Grim Sleeper case) and Kevin Flynn (who broke the Sheila LaBarre case), filmmaker Joshua Zeman (A&E’s The Killing Season, Cropsey), Bek and Tyler Allen of The Minds of Madness podcast, and more to be confirmed.

 

READ MORE AND GET YOUR TICKETS HERE!

 

 

Have You Met Our Advisory Committee?

On our way towards opening night, the Toronto True Crime Film Festival team has been lucky enough to receive advice, support, guidance, and expertise from an incredible collection of individuals. The members of our advisory committee are respected and accomplished leaders of the true crime community and we could not be more proud to count them as a part of our team.

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ERIN LEE CARR is a New York based director, producer and writer. Her newest film Mommy Dead And Dearest had it’s World Premiere at SXSW and Hot Docs in 2017 and aired on HBO May 15, 2017. Her debut film, Thought Crimes, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and Hot Docs Film Festival in 2015 and aired on HBO that May. Variety named Erin one of the 10 Documentarians to watch in 2015. Before working with HBO, Erin hailed from the video team at VICE, specifically Motherboard where her produced content has amassed over 25 million views worldwide. One of her short films for VICE, “ Click Print Gun,” won a Webby in 2013 and gained 7 million views in its first week online. Erin is currently directing a third true crime film for HBO (Executive Produced by Sheila Nevins) and writing a forthcoming memoir for Ballantine, an imprint of Random House books. 

WEBSITE | IMDB | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM

KEVIN FLYNN & REBECCA LAVOIE are the husband-and-wife writing and podcasting team behind the hit podcast "Crime Writers On..." They have written five true crime books: Wicked Intentions, Our Little Secret, Legally Dead, Notes on a Killing, and Dark Heart. Their other podcasts include, hosted by Rebecca: "HGTV and Me," Slate's "Mom and Dad are Fighting," and "Married with Podcast"; and hosted by Kevin: "These Are Their Stories: the Law & Order Podcast."

WEBSITE | TWITTER / TWITTER |  INSTAGRAM / INSTAGRAM

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CHRISTINE PELISEK is the author of The Grim Sleeper, a true crime book about the police hunt for the most ruthless serial killer in Los Angeles’ history. She is also an award-winning journalist who has been covering crime for almost fifteen years. She is currently a senior writer for PEOPLE Magazine, and previously worked at LA Weekly where she broke the story about the Grim Sleeper serial killer.  She received a Certificate of Appreciation from the City of Los Angeles for her work on the case. She has also covered national stories for The Daily Beast and 20/20. She’s been profiled in the Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, Columbia Journalism Review, Ottawa Sun and has been interviewed as a crime expert by CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, Headline News and the Nancy Grace Show.

WEBSITE

ANTHONY TIMPSON was created in Auckland, New Zealand. He grew up watching films at The Crystal Palace Theatre in Mt Eden, Auckland. After being expelled from Otago University for heresy, he began a lifelong career in all facets of the film industry. Since the mid '80s he has rolled ice-creams, programmed cult films, produced television and feature films. His distribution company released specialist product to NZ audiences since 1993. His 35mm print archive is the largest personal film archive in the Southern Hemisphere. He launched 'The Incredibly Strange Film Festival' in 1994, it is now a section within the New Zealand International Film Festival. His national film event 48Hours began in 2003, it now attracts over 10,000 participants and features Sir Peter Jackson as mentor. He conceived and produced the anthology series The ABCs of Death for Magnolia Pictures and continues to produce films. He is married with two children, one cat, 5 chickens and 40,000 bees. 

"Someone once said, "you can lie through your teeth but your teeth don't lie", which is a succinct summation of my fascination for True Crime and why I find the idea of a film festival solely devoted to it compelling and long overdue. I lived in Los Angeles in the late '70s when newspaper headlines were filled with bodies being dumped or discovered; it felt like your chances of being murdered stepping outside were pretty high, and the fear transformed into an addiction. Ever since then I've been obsessed with true crime in literature and film, amassing paraphernalia and a large library, and programming true crime content for my own festival and others. I feel a have a solid historical perspective to work from and look forward to being on the advisory committee."

WEBSITE | IMDB | TWITTER

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KEILA WOODARD is a true crime Producer and storyteller who’s launched over 900 hours of programming for Investigation Discovery, the #1 most-watched network for women in the US and the leader in true crime television.  Crafting the world’s most compelling criminal cases into gripping and relatable stories, while also shining a light on victim-advocacy, is the heart of Keila’s work as a true crime Producer.  She has worked very closely with FBI profilers, psychologists, detectives and true crime journalists to bring some of the genre’s best known series to life, including Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe KendaOn the Case with Paula Zahn, and Deadly Women featuring Candice Delong.  In addition, with nine years of experience directing true crime voiceover, Keila has worked with grassroots organizations such as Women In Film and Video (WIFV) as an advocate in helping talented narrators find their platform. Keila holds a BA in Radio/TV/Film studies from Howard University and is based outside of Washington DC.

WEBSITE | IMDB

HOT DOCS: NO STONE UNTURNED

 
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WHAT: No Stone Unturned
WHO: Directed by Alex Gibney
WHERE: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, 506 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON
WHEN:  Friday, January 5th, 2018 | 6:30 PM
WHY: In 1994, in Northern Ireland's small village of Loughinisland, two loyalist terrorists stormed a pub during a World Cup soccer match and shot 11 people in their backs, killing six and wounding five. A police investigation, which was perfunctory at best, led to zero arrests, leaving the case to eventually go cold. Decades later, Oscar-nominated documentarian Alex Gibney re-visits this riveting true crime tale, digging deeper into witness testimony and piecing together clues overlooked by law enforcement. A hit at our Doc Soup Sundays series, No Stone Unturned offers convincing evidence of a coverup that reaches to the highest levels of the British government and seeks to answer several troubling questions about this infamous attack.

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HOT DOCS: TRUE CRIME TUESDAYS

 
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WHAT: True Crime Tuesdays 
WHO: Moderated by author, film critic, and broadcaster Geoff Pevere
WHERE: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, 506 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON 
WHEN:
November 7th, December 5th, January 9th, February 13th, March 6th, April 3rd | 6:30 PM
WHY: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema is screening some of the greatest true crime documentaries (and the greatest documentaries bar none) on their big screen, followed by in-depth discussions with legal experts and filmmakers.

November 7th - Gringo: The Dangerous Life of John McAfee (2016) 
It’s a case of stranger than fiction when it comes to the life of tech millionaire John McAfee who made his fortune from his anti-virus software only to use it to surround himself by armed men in a compound in the jungle of Belize where he lived a libertine lifestyle. When one of his neighbours turns up dead, McAfee is wanted for questioning and flees to Guatemala. He turns up again in the U.S. in 2016 as the Libertarian Party’s potential nomination for president. In Gringo, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Nanette Burstein is hot on the pursuit of the truth about the renegade mogul.

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December 5th - In God We Trust (2013)
Filmmakers Derek Anderson and Victor Kubicek craft an in-depth look at the crimes of Bernie Madoff in this incisive documentary bolstered by an unlikely protagonist: Madoff’s personal secretary of 25 years. Eleanor Squillari worked closely with Madoff with no idea he was pulling off the biggest financial scam in U.S. history. Devastated by the discovery she had been helping a criminal, she decides to help the FBI and digs into every record and document from over the years. In God We Trust is an effective overview of how Madoff made off with billions of dollars and how one woman helped take him down.

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January 9th - Bus 174 (2002)
In Rio de Janeiro in the year 2000, an armed man hijacked a bus and held the passengers hostage while the incompetent and under-trained police force struggled to contain the situation. Quickly, it became a televised event on national Brazilian networks, reaching over 35 million people. The armed man is named Sandro do Nascimento, and he's one of Brazil’s countless homeless who has already endured his own share of tragedy. In Bus 174, filmmakers José Padilha and Felipe Lacerda look beyond this terrible incident and at the systemic neglect that has prisons overrun in inhumane conditions and the streets filled with forgotten people like do Nascimento.

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February 13th - Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer (2003)
Serial killer Aileen Wuornos murdered seven men between 1989 and 1990 and was sentenced to death. Nick Broomfield's second documentary on Wuornos focuses on her last days leading up to her 2002 execution featuring an exclusive final interview. What's apparent is that she's not of sound mind. She contradicts herself, makes bizarre statements, and is clearly unwell, and yet she's cleared as sane and executed. Broomfield pays special attention to her difficult childhood that led to her running away when she was 13, creating a challenging portrait of the making and unmaking of a serial killer in the American justice system.

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March 6th - Killing For Love (2016)
Young lovers Jens Soering and Elizabeth Haysom were arrested in London in 1986 for cheque fraud—only to arouse suspicion when their love letters linked them to the gruesome murder of Elizabeth’s parents a year prior in Bedford County, Virginia. Extradited to the U.S., both have been in jail ever since, but Jens now maintains he committed the murders out of love for Elizabeth, who manipulated him. Killing For Love reveals all the bizarre twists and turns of this dark love story, featuring actors Daniel Brühl and Imogen Poots reading the chilling letters.

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April 3rd - The Imposter (2012)
In 1994, a young boy named Nicholas Barclay went missing in San Antonio, Texas. Three years later his family is overjoyed to hear he has turned up in Spain, claiming he was kidnapped. When he returns, he seems quite different, both in personality and physically, but his desperate family accept him, apparently not realizing that he is in fact another person, Frédéric Bourdin, a serial imposter. One of the strangest characters you’ll encounter in non-fiction, Bourdin claims to have assumed 500 false identities. This chilling documentary follows all the twists and turns of this bizarre true story.

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RETROPATH!: Eaten Alive

 
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WHAT: Eaten Alive
WHO: Directed by Tobe Hooper
WHERE: The Royal Cinema, 608 College Street, Toronto, ON 
WHEN: 
Tuesday, October 17th, 2017 | 8:00 PM
WHY: Loosely based on the story of American serial killer Joe Ball (or the Bluebeard of South Texas or The Alligator Man), who owned a bar with an alligator pit as a local attraction in Elmendorf, Texas and was known to have killed as many as 20 women in the 1930s. Although suspected of several murders, he was never formally convicted because he committed suicide before he was arrested. 

In Eaten Alive, a sex worker named Clara finds refuge in a decrepit little establishment called the Starlight Hotel—located deep in the swampland of rural East Texas—after narrowly escaping the perverted paws of a frisky customer named Buck (Robert Englund). There, she meets the business's deranged proprietor, a man named Judd (Neville Brand), who is driven so mad from his own delusions that he attacks her with a pitchfork and then feeds her to his pet Nile crocodile, who lives in the swamp beside the building. What follows is a parade of oddball hotel guests (including an acting masterclass in unhinged lunacy from William Finley), all invariably in grave danger at the hands of Judd and his vicious friend. 

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imagineNATIVE FILM + MEDIA ARTS FESTIVAL: Indictment Programme

 
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WHAT: Indictment: The Crimes Of Shelly Chartier, screening as part of the Indictment Programme 
WHO: Directed by Shane Belcourt & Lisa Jackson
WHERE: TIFF Bell Lightbox, Cinema 2, 350 King Street West, Toronto, ON 
WHEN:
Saturday, October 21st, 2017 | 8:30 PM
WHY: A riveting true story about the crimes of Shelly Chartier, a reclusive young woman from a small Manitoba First Nation who captivated the press and made international headlines. Sensationalized in the media as a high profile catfishing case involving an NBA superstar and an aspiring model, Shelly was portrayed as a master manipulator who used social media as her weapon. Through the sensitive and intelligent lens of directors Lisa Jackson and Shane Belcourt, the sensationalism is swept aside to reveal a much more compelling—and complex—story of a young woman caught in historical circumstances beyond her control and how she struggles to rebuild her life after incarceration. With in-depth access to Shelly, Indictment unpacks the crime and raises important questions about our justice system.

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Submissions Are Now Open!

Submissions now open for the first annual Toronto True Crime Film Festival and we can't wait to see what you've got!

Whether you've made an in-depth expository documentary about a particular crime, a thorough biopic on individuals or parties on either side of the law, a personal and emotional exploration of the effects of crimes on victims and communities, a gritty investigative drama based on a real-life impossible-to-crack cases or deep-seated conspiracies, a fictionalized retelling of a fascinating crime, a terrifying horror flick based on a real-life monster, or anything in between—we want to see it!

Check out our Submissions page here or head directly to our FilmFreeway page:

 
 

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It's Really Happening!

It started, really, with my excitement to see My Friend Dahmer at this summer's Fantasia International Film Festival. I was talking with my partner about it—and in general about how the true crime selections of any given film festival are always at the top of my list—on our annual five hour train ride to Montreal when I said, "Somebody should start a festival that's just true crime movies!"

We played with the idea—me gushing about my favourite true crime documentaries, him reading me a list of films that are based on real criminal events—but I didn't really think it would be something I would do myself until I started talking to more people about it. My friend Richelle, who works as a Programming Director for The Royal Cinema, told me that it totally sounded like something her venue would be interested in hosting. My partner Steven continued to bounce ideas around with me. A few of my true crime compadres, when asked drunkenly via text, jumped at the idea of being a part of such a thing were it to ever to happen for real.

By the end of that ten day trip, I had firmed up a team a programmers and had a very good chance at landing a venue. In the month since I've been back in Toronto, I've purchased a domain, created this website, set up accounts across social media, secured official festival dates with an official venue, organized a submissions platform, and hosted our first staff meeting!

What started as a very casual remark has quickly snowballed into one of the most exciting projects I've ever been a part of. Now I can say, "It's really happening!"