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AWD Festival Spotlight: Toronto True Crime Film Festival

By Alliance of Women Directors, March 26, 2019
After a successful inaugural year, Toronto True Crime Film Festival is returning in June 2019 with more complicated cases and compelling cinema. AWD spoke to Festival Director Lisa Gallagher about the origin of the fest and the selection process of bringing true crime films to the big screen. Read more.

Toronto True Crime Film Festival 2019: Film Festival Reveals Lineup, And a New Home

By Andrew Mack, Screen Anarchy, June 4, 2019
Our friends at The Toronto True Crime Film Festival are gearing up for their second annual festival this month. The big change this year is that the festival is switching locations to the cozy Revue Cinema in Roncesvalles Village. The Revue is our city's longest standing cinema, over 100 years old. What it loses in seating capacity it more than makes up for with its intimate atmosphere and setting against hip, young residents of the village. Read more.

Five essential Toronto film festivals to see in June 2019

By Norman Wilner, NOW, June 6, 2019
There's something for everyone this month: national showcases for the cinema of Japan and Italy, as well as festivals for sports, true crime and emerging female, trans and non-binary filmmakers. If you only think of Hot Docs or Inside Out when you’re discussing spring film festivals in Toronto, you are seriously missing out; there are dozens of smaller fests happening all through the season, and June features five that are worth your time. Read more.

Toronto True Crime Film Festival 2019: What You Need to Know

By Victor Stiff, That Shelf, June 10, 2019
After its successful 2018 debut, the Toronto True Crime Film Festival (TTCFF) is back for its second edition. If you’re a fan of the true crime genre – whether your jam is true crime movies, TV series, books, or podcasts – then TTCFF is the place to be this weekend. Read more.

Toronto True Crime Film Festival Review: WATCHING KARLA HOMOLKA

By Breanna, Nightmarish Conjurings, June 10, 2019
This eight-minute documentary surprised me, in that I truly was unaware that a Facebook group focusing on tracking the whereabouts of Homolka existed. I deeply empathized with the anger and concern felt by those uncomfortable to have this cold-hearted woman living in close proximity to their daughters. Hell, she even has children of her own.

It is almost too much to wrap your head around, it becomes very difficult to see this issue in black and white – Though what she did was vile and can never be forgiven, there is the moral argument we must all face. Is it okay to harass her because of her past? Is it okay to use extremely violent language against her? Is it okay to follow her every move? These are the questions presented by Watching Karla Homolka, and ones that I have been pondering for years. Read more.

Nine things to do in Toronto this week

By Jason Anderson, Toronto Star, June 10, 2019
Back for its second year, the TTCFF showcases recent features and docs that dive deep into the more enthralling and lurid of true crime tales. The action begins with the Canadian premiere of Bei Bei, an American documentary about a Chinese immigrant tried for murder in Alabama after a suicide attempt killed her unborn fetus. Along with an anniversary screening of The Hurricane and the Canadian premiere of Mope, a porn-biz drama and Sundance breakout, the two-day program includes a lecture by forensic anthropologist Myriam Nafte and a live recording of the Australian podcast Zealot, so true crime junkies get everything they need. Read more.


By She Does The City, June 11, 2019
True Crime aficionados, unite! It’s that time of year again: Toronto True Crime Festival returns to the Revue Cinema (400 Roncesvalles Ave) with a stacked schedule of murder, secrets and lies! Last year’s event was VERY satisfying and this one is primed to be the same, with a new block of short films, Zealot podcast recorded live, feature-length presentations of selections from across the globe, a lecture on police forensics, director Q&As and more!

Films include Bei Bei, the story of a desperate woman who is jailed on charges of first degree murder and attempted feticide; Sakawa, an intimate portrait of underemployed youth in Ghana who are struggling to make a living by scamming Westerners through the internet; and Mope, the story of two real-life best friends who tumble down a path of destruction. Read more.

Toronto True Crime Film Festival 2019 Review: “Mope” (2019) ★★★★★

By Ulkar Alakbarova, Let The Movie Move Us, June 11, 2019
Movies are meant to capture reality in any form whether we find it too cheesy, romantic, emotional, violent, gruesome, graphic, and so on. We simply can’t ask the film to please us, as all that’s required from us is to join the world that’s being captured and become a part of its pace. Mope is not one of those films that you can easily watch till the end. In fact, you may leave after the first ten minutes, and that’s totally fine. Because you won’t be the first or the last one who will walk out of the screening. But the biggest reward you will get towards the end once you get to the conclusion will totally be worth it. Read more.

Toronto True Crime Film Festival 2019 Review: Bei Bei

By Andrew Parker, The Gate, June 12, 2019
Bei Bei covers a complex tragedy, modern political debates about women’s and immigrants’ rights, and the legal battle where they all intersect with great intelligence, empathy, and political relevancy. It’s a great start to this year’s festival and a sure-fire conversation starter on a number of issues that need to be talked about before such a tragedy ever happens again. Read more.

Toronto True Crime Film Festival 2019 Review: SAKAWA

By Andrew Parker, The Gate, June 12, 2019
Sakawa is a film examining raw truths faced by those living well below the poverty line with few tangible job prospects and even less opportunities for government assistance. These con artists often joke about some of the more disreputable aspects of their job (and they’re admittedly pretty funny and spot on in their assessments of human nature), but that’s what one does to keep from crying or getting bogged down in guilt and regret. Sakawa shows to an exceptional degree the rewards and tolls of living a life of poverty and crime. Read more.

The 2019 Toronto True Crime Film Festival brings the heat

By Valeska Griffiths, Anatomy Of A Scream, June 13, 2019
The temperature is rising, but instead of sweat, our pores are seeping luminol. Our verdict? The summer heat means that it is time for crime! We were very impressed with last year’s selections, and we think that true crime fanatics will find a lot of reasons to attend this year’s instalment. Read more.


By She Does The City, June 1, 2018
Are you a Criminal superfan? Can’t get enough Mindhunter? Do you pore over details of gruesome murders, both past and present? Honey, have we got the festival for YOU. Toronto True Crime Film Festival, a two-day film festival dedicated to this most addictive genre, is coming to The Royal (608 College St) June 8 and 9. The fest includes documentary films, fictionalized films based on true crimes, panel discussions and more. From a 15th anniversary screening of Patty Jenkins’ Academy Award-winning biopic Monster to a symposium devoted to answering why women are so obsessed with true crime (guilty as charged!), you’ll find something to slake your thirst for the depraved. We chatted with Lisa Gallagher, the Toronto True Crime Festival Director, about what she’s excited for at this inaugural fest. Read more.

Crime Hopefully Pays: Inside the first annual Toronto True Crime Film Festival

By Andrew Parker, The Gate, June 5, 2018
Given the ubiquitous presence of around-the-clock re-runs of Dateline48 HoursLive PD, and any number of Law and Order incarnations across multiple networks and boatloads of Netflix documentaries, it’s somewhat astounding that Toronto hasn’t had a true crime film festival of its own until now. This Friday and Saturday at The Royal and Monarch Tavern in Toronto, locals can scratch their itch for all things illegal and disturbing at the first annual Toronto True Crime Film Festival. While the festival assuredly taps into our continued obsession as a culture with the ins and outs of lawless activity, it’s also a chance to showcase some fine feature and short filmmaking that happen to revolve around real life criminal incidents. Read more.

Women Take The Lead In Toronto True Crime Film Festival’s Stunning Shorts

By Kirsten Murray, Ms En Scene, June 5th, 2018
Toronto’s first annual True Crime Film Festival arrives at The Royal Cinema on June 8th. With a line-up set to send chills down the most hardened of spines, the festival is bringing documentaries and fictionalised films based on true events to the big screen for two full days, as well as an intriguing symposium section. Each of the five feature films have been paired with one short film, certain to set the tone for the main screening event. Women feature heavily in each of these shorts, both in front of and behind the camera, proving that women continue to be drawn to the genre, creating compelling narratives while successfully handling sensitive subject matter. Read more.


By Victor Stiff, In The Seats, June 6th, 2018
In October 1974, 12-year-old Jan Broberg was taken from her idyllic small-town home. She was abducted by her neighbour, family friend, and walking heebie-jeebie factory, Robert Berchtold. Before the kidnapping, Berchtold’s relationship with Jan made the Brobergs uncomfortable, and still, they waited almost a week to notify the authorities of her abduction. Events only grow stranger from there. Director Skye Borgman’s true crime documentary, Abducted in Plain Sight, includes stories about extramarital affairs, alien abduction, and biker gang security details. Read more.

Abducted In Plain Sight

By Laura Di Girolamo, Exclaim!, June 7th, 2018
Abducted in Plain Sight is a total mindfuck of a true crime documentary. With brutal honesty, it tells the harrowing story of a deeply twisted man who preys on a naive family's vulnerabilities, the details of which are so strange they'll make your head spin.

This is the kind of case that goes from a kidnapping to a complex series of sexual manipulations, to a Mexican prison, to a secret radio that brainwashes a young girl into believing in a Christ-like space alien. And that's just the first half hour. Read more.


By Courtney Small, In The Seats, June 7th, 2018
With the debut edition of the Toronto True Crime Film Festival kicking off at the Royal Cinema this coming Friday and Saturday, we thought we’d take a look at all the short films chose to screen before every feature because short films need love too. Read more.

Toronto True Crime Film Festival 2018 Review: “My Name Is Myeisha” (2018) ★★★★★

By Ulkar Alakbarova, Let The Movie Move Us, June 7th, 2018
A lost life is like a broken dream. Every broken dream makes a hole in our society. And as we lose someone at a very young age, we lose the opportunity that is given only once – the chance that that one person could’ve done something to make this world a better place. And sometimes, by taking someone’s life, a future life within that person is also taken away. How can we reduce the terrible mistakes we make? Because we all know “sorry” can be a useless word when it is too late. Frankly speaking, what difference does that “sorry” make to someone who has, as you can imagine, lost their life. Read more.


By Paolo Kagaoan, In The Seats, June 7th, 2018
Myeisha Jackson (Rhaechyl Walker) was just a regular girl going clubbing with her cousins at the third night of Kwanzaa. She breaks the fourth wall, talks to her audience about coming from the Inland Empire and going to Los Angeles. She’s happy, an unapologetic black woman, but her mood can’t remove our sense of dread. About what happens to her. Read more.

Review: Abducted In Plain Sight

By Andrew Lewis, Scene Creek, June 8th, 2018
The first ever Toronto True Crime Film Festival is being held on June 8th and 9th and its showcasing some of the most exciting new true crime films. One of the films featured is Abducted In Plain Sight, a documentary film about the story of Jan Broberg. Kidnapped as a child by a family friend, Broberg’s story unfolds throughout the documentary as we learn the bizarre and twisted details of the crime she was victim to. Read more.

Toronto True Crime Film Festival 2018 Review: “The Stranger” (2017) ★★★★★

By Ulkar Alakbarova, Let The Movie Move Us, June 8th, 2018
Most documentaries that attempt to recreate any event that occurred in real life are amazingly intriguing to watch. But how many of them bring real documentary subjects to play themselves? And that’s where the challenging part begins for any filmmaker to keep the viewer’s attention focused throughout the film, have the facts straight and deliver it in a way which blurs the difference between fiction and real life and that is what The Stranger is about. Read more.

[TTCFF 18] Taking a Look at the First Annual Toronto True Crime Film Festival

By Daniel Kurland, Bloody Disgusting, June 11th, 2018
True crime is an area that has always maintained some sort of fascination within the public consciousness. The topic is inherently interesting because these stories aren’t the murderers and boogeyman that are invented for fiction, but rather these are the monsters that lurk about in real life. This stuff actually happened and there’s obviously appeal in attempting to understand why. Even though true crime has always resonated with the public on some level, the area has exploded over the past few years. True crime has turned into one of the most popular categories for podcasts. Reddit is full of communities that are devoted to armchair detectives who are trying to solve cold cases. CrimeCon, which is essentially Comic-Con, but for true crime, has not only become a reality, but it’s become wildly popular. People have a hunger for true crime like they never have before, so it’s only natural that film festivals would start to pop up that capitalize on this sect of storytelling and the community behind it. Accordingly, the inaugural edition of the Toronto True Crime Film Festival just concluded and it amounted to a satisfying, exciting celebration of true crime and filmmaking. Read more.


By Laura Di Girolamo, Exclaim!, June 11th, 2018
My Name is Myeisha answers a question: what would happen if the story of a black teenager being gunned down by police was told from the perspective of the teenager herself, and not that of the often-biased media?

Using a blend of narrative, spoken word, performance art, hip-hop and surreal dream sequences that bring to mind the ending of Bob Fosse's other musical about death, All That Jazz, My Name Is Myeisha takes an unorthodox approach to examining the last hours of the life of Myeisha. Read more.


By Laura Di Girolamo, Exclaim!, June 11th, 2018
The Toronto True Crime Festival has done an excellent job at programming films that, in various ways, break established conventions of what true crime films are expected to be. From the bizarre story laid out in the otherwise by-the-books doc Abducted in Plain Sight to My Name is Myeisha, a surrealist hip-hop musical about a black teenager's last moments on Earth before she's shot by police, these films are anything but typical of the genre.

The Stranger, a 2017 Danish documentary about a young single mom named Amanda who slowly begins to realize her boyfriend Caspar is not who he appears to be, is no exception. Told entirely via re-enactments, The Stranger is notable because these re-enactments star Amanda herself, as well as her friends and family (excepting, for reasons that become obvious, Caspar, who is played by an actor). We watch the story unfold right alongside Amanda, who speaks to the camera to tell us how she felt in that moment, and what, through hindsight, she wishes she had known before everything began spiralling out of control. Read more.

Episode 078 – The Toronto True Crime Film Festival 2018

By Cole Roulain & Ericca Long, Magic Lantern Podcast, June 13th, 2018
In this special episode we discuss the films and symposiums of the inaugural Toronto True Crime Film Festival, a two day festival devoted to true crime on the big screen, including both documentaries and fictionalized films based on true crimes. The program included five features, each paired with a thematically linked short film, and three symposiums that covered a remarkable variety of true crime cases and related topics. This was a grand time and Toronto is a wonderful city to spend a weekend in, delving deeply into the darkness in our hearts. We look forward to next year! Listen here.