A Jihad for Love (Director: Parvez Sharma): The first documentary of its kind, it follows several gay and lesbian Muslims from 12 different countries as their faith and their sexuality collide. From the same producer (Sandi Simcha Dubowski) as Trembling Before G-d, a similar film about homosexuality among Orthodox and Hasidic Jews. I have an ongoing interest in the way organized religion deals with the gay and lesbian community, and was really hoping that For The Bible Tells Me So, a similar film from a Christian perspective, would make it to TIFF. But this promises to be a very interesting and provocative film in its own right.
Operation Filmmaker (Director: Nina Davenport): Actor/director Liev Schreiber was watching MTV when he saw a segment on a young charismatic Iraqi film student named Muthana Mohmed who felt that his dream to become a filmmaker had been crushed, first by Saddam Hussein and then by the American bombs that destroyed his film school. Convinced he could help, Schreiber invites Mohmed to assist on the set of his film Everything is Illuminated (review). The charitable gesture soon goes awry, as frustrated expectations complicate the relationship between the young Iraqi and his American “benefactors.”
Dai-Nipponjin (Director: Hitoshi Matsumoto): Hitoshi Matsumoto both directs and stars in this comedy about a Tokyo man who periodically transforms into a giant and battles huge monsters who attack the city. If this wacky premise isn’t enough, the film also aims some satirical jabs at current Japanese society, while revelling in the cliches of the classic Japanese monster movies.