Pop stars outshine movie stars at TIFF

Big names from the world of music including Eric Clapton, Lady Gaga and the Tragically Hip mingle with the movie stars in this year’s film-fest programming.

Lady Gaga, left, and director Chris Moukarbel attend a news conference for Gaga: Five Foot Two on day 2 of the Toronto International Film Festival at the TIFF Bell Lightbox on Sept. 8 in Toronto. (EVAN AGOSTINI)

There’s a little more pop to your TIFF than usual this year, as a passel of big names from the world of music prepare to mingle with the movie stars during the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.

Lady Gaga, Eric Clapton, Grace Jones and beloved Canadian rockers the Tragically Hip all feature in documentaries making their debuts at this year’s fest, whilst being dead for a number of years will deter neither Michael Jackson nor Sammy Davis, Jr., from making beyond-the-grave appearances on the big screen over the next few days. Eminem has a producer credit on a TIFF film (Bodied), as does Drake, who also appears on-screen in his project The Carter Effect, though neither are thought to be coming to town.

Here’s a quick rundown on some of the musicians set to rub shoulders, both literally and figuratively, with Angelina Jolie, George Clooney, Kate Winslet, Idris Elba and the many other Hollywood types in town to strut the red carpet and titillate the paparazzi until Sept. 17.

Eric Clapton

The iconic guitar-slinger is the subject of a star-studded documentary entitled Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars helmed by Rush director Lili Fini Zanuck that promises an in-depth look at his tumultuous five-decade career and occasionally tragic life through up-close-and-personal interviews with Clapton, his family and friends, and peers both living and dead such as Steve Winwood, George Harrison, Jimi Hendrix and B.B. King. Clapton will face the public at a news conference on Sept. 11 that will be live-streamed for the curious on the TIFF website. No word yet, however, on whether Slowhand will deign to furnish us with a few hot licks while making the promotional rounds in Toronto.

  • Screens Sept. 10 at 6:15 p.m. at the TIFF Bell Lightbox; Sept. 11 at 3:30 p.m. at the Scotiabank Theatre and Sept. 16 at 5:45 p.m. at the Scotiabank

The Tragically Hip

The Tragically Hip tour documentary Long Time Running will screen at TIFF starting Sept. 13.
The Tragically Hip tour documentary Long Time Running will screen at TIFF starting Sept. 13.  (DAVID BASTEDO)  


Taking their first collaborative crack at a rock-’n’-roll concert picture, co-directors Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier — the duo behind the acclaimed documentaries Manufactured Landscapes and Watermark — got on the bus, in the dressing room and up onstage with the treasured Kingston quintet for the duration of last summer’s Man Machine Poem tour to make Long Time Running, a chronicle of what most assume will be the Tragically Hip’s final trip across Canada, given frontman Gord Downie’s diagnosis with terminal brain cancer two springs ago.