Toronto premieres for ‘The Australian Dream’ and ‘Hearts and Bones’

‘The Australian Dream.’

Daniel Gordon’s The Australian Dream and Ben Lawrence’s Hearts and Bones will have their international premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival.

In addition, Eva Orner’s Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator will be among 25 titles in the TIFF Docs section, along with The Australian Dream.

Good Thing Productions and Passion Pictures’ The Australian Dream opened the Melbourne International Film Festival. Written by Stan Grant, the film looks at race, identity and belonging from the perspective of former Sydney Swans captain and Indigenous rights activist Adam Goodes.

In 2013 Goodes sparked a national conversation about racism after requesting a 13-year-old Collingwood supporter be removed from the ground after calling him an “ape.”

Madman Entertainment will launch the film on 100—plus screens on August 22.

Lawrence’s debut feature Hearts and Bones, which had its world premiere at the Sydney Film Festival, will screen in the Discovery program.

Produced by Matt Reeder and set in western Sydney, it tells the story of a friendship between a war photographer (Hugo Weaving) and a South Sudanese refugee (newcomer Andrew Luri), who are connected by a photograph that threatens to destroy them both. Madman will release the film next year.

At TIFF, which runs from September 5-15, Justin Kurzel’s True History of the Kelly Gang will be among the gala premieres and Unjoo Moon’s I Am Woman will screen in special presentations.

The Other Lamb, the first English-language feature by Polish director Małgorzata Szumowska, scripted by Australian Catherine Smyth-McMullen, will also screen in special presentations.

‘Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator.’

A Netflix Original from the UK’s Pulse, Orner’s doc chronicles the spectacular rise and scandalous fall of hot-yoga evangelist Bikram Choudhury through archival footage and extensive insider interviews.

The founder of Bikram Yoga, Choudhury created an empire of yoga studios in the US but for years was the subject of civil lawsuits alleging harassment, rape, racial discrimination and gay slurs.

He denied the claims but settled a number of lawsuits. He returned to India in 2016 after a California judge ordered him to pay $US6.8 million to his former attorney, Minakshi Jafa-Bodden, who had sued him for sexual harassment. When he failed to pay, a judge issued a warrant, so if he ever goes back to the US, he’ll be arrested.

TIFF Docs kicks off with the world premiere of Feras Fayyad’s The Cave, about an underground hospital led by a female doctor in war-torn Syria. The line-up includes Barbara Kopple’s Desert One, chronicling a perilous mission to rescue hostages in Iran, and Alex Gibney’s Citizen K, profiling the Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Of the 37 titles in the Discovery program, more than half are directed by women. The opener is Chiara Malta’s Simple Women, in which a director serendipitously meets Elina Löwensohn, an actor she idolized in her youth, prompting her to question her filmmaking process.

Women’s journeys are also explored as central themes in Antoneta Kastrati’s ZANA, Filippo Meneghetti’s Two of Us, Hinde Boujemaa’s Noura’s Dream, Hisham Saqr’s Certified Mail, Ina Weisse’s The Audition, Jorunn Myklebust Syversen’s Disco, Kim Seung-woo’s Bring Me Home, Klaudia Reynicke’s Love Me Tender and Mahnaz Mohammadi’s Son-Mother.

For the full line-up go here.