Five Must-See Music Films at TIFF

From Chet Baker to Arcade Fire

UPDATE 09/08/2015: Amazing Grace will not be playing this year at TIFF due to a legal injunction from Aretha Franklin, according to Billboard.

TIFF is like Christmas for movie fans, and Torontonians have it very, very lucky. Some of the biggest stars come through our fine city, and with hundreds of films premiering over the course of a week, there’s almost too much to take in. And while that’s no exception for music docs and films, we’ve gone ahead and done you a favor: narrowing down a list of TIFF’s most promising music-related films.


Reflektor Tapes

Arcade Fire’s career has sky rocketed since 2004, releasing hit record after record since their breakthrough album Funeral. It certainly was no different for their massively successful 2013 LP Reflektor. The Reflektor Tapes goes beyond the classic concert film; illuminating the creative process behind the album, and documenting their performances from Carnival in Jamaica, to Earls Court in London, finishing up with their North American Tour.

Keith Richards: Under the Influence

One of the most anticipated docs coming to TIFF this year features The Rolling Stones legendary guitar player Keith Richards during the recording of this first solo record in 23 years, Crosseyed Heart. Directed by Morgan Neville, the story meshes in clips from Richards past of drug and alcohol abuse. The Toronto release is fitting, as the film recalls moments from Richard’s 1977 drug bust in Toronto, which was the starting point for his rehabilitation.

Born To Be Blue

Ethan Hawke stars as Chet Baker in this biopic about the Jazz Trumpeter’s struggles with drug addiction. Retelling his life with real and fictitious events in the 1960s, the film picks up late in his career after he’s been publically disgraced as a heroin junkie while he tries to make a comeback.

Amazing Grace

In 1972 Aretha Franklin spent two days recording at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angele;s what became her most successful album, Amazing Grace. Sydney Pollack, the renowned director / producer, along with a crew was there to film the entire process. Despite the tremendous success of the album, the footage never saw the light of day. Shortly before his death in 2008, Pollack told the film’s producer, Alan Elliot, his wish for the film to be made, — and that’s exactly what he did.

Green Room

After a DIY punk band The Ain’t Rights take a last minute gig at a sleazy bar in the backwoods of Oregon, they find themselves trapped in the venue’s green room by a group of neo-nazi skinheads. Starring Anton Yelchin, Alia Shawkat, Imogen Poots and Patrick Stewart, the band has to scrounge together whatever they can to defend themselves and escape in this electrifying thriller.