Davis Guggenheim's U2 documentary "From The Sky Down" will have its world premiere at the opening night Gala for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) Sept. 8, it was announced today.
TIFF's lineup has always included music docs - last year was Bruce Springsteen's and prior years have included Joy Division, Dixie Chicks, Neil Young and Kurt Cobain - but this is the first time in the festival's 36-year history that it will open with a documentary.
"Davis Guggenheim's fascinating account of this world-renowned band is the perfect film to kick off our 11-day celebration of artists, stories and voices from around the world," said Piers Handling, director and CEO, TIFF.
The film looks at 1991's acclaimed seventh studio album, "Achtung Baby," and the 20 years that have followed through new interviews and previously unseen footage from Berlin and Dublin.
"In the terrain of rock bands - implosion or explosion is seemingly inevitable. U2 has defied the gravitational pull towards destruction, this band has endured and thrived. The movie "From The Sky Down" asks the question why," Guggenheim said in a statement.
Guggenheim, best known for his global warming film "An Inconvenient Truth," also made the in-depth electric guitar tribute "It Might Get Loud," featuring The Edge, Jimmy Page and Jack White, who all attended its premiere at TIFF 2008.
TIFF 2011, which runs this year September 8-18, also includes the world premiere of Pearl Jam's "Twenty," directed by Cameron Crowe. The documentary starts pre Pearl Jam, presumably with Mother Love Bone, and is culled from more than 1,200 hours of rarely seen or never before seen footage. The press release says the film is "told in big themes and bold colors with blistering sound."
The synopsis: "Pearl Jam "Twenty" chronicles the years leading up to the band's formation, the chaos that ensued soon after their rise to megastardom, their step back from centre stage, and the creation of a trusted circle that would surround them - giving way to a work culture that would sustain them."
The Madonna-direct "W.E." - described as "a romantic exploration of the mysterious connection across decades between two women confronting the consequences of desire" - will also have its North American premiere at TIFF.
More films will be announced throughout August.