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British rock band The Rolling Stones performs in concert during their Ole tour at Morumbi stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on February 24, 2016.NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP / Getty Images

In the smashing new documentary The Rolling Stones Ole Ole Ole!: A Trip Across Latin America, the multimillionaire singer for the lips-and-tongue express sings that it is only rock 'n' roll.

But of course, the self-deprecating modifier "only" is jive. We know it, Mick Jagger know it and the Toronto International Film Festival absolutely knows it.

On Friday evening, the Paul Dugdale-directed film makes its world premiere at Roy Thomson Hall. Band members Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood will attend the event. Cameras will flash and fans will gawk, and smoking bylaws are sure to be ignored when it comes to those two guitar-playing ciggie fiends.

In the last handful of years, music documentaries are increasingly a big deal at TIFF. We can call Al Pacino or Jennifer Lawrence rock stars of sorts, but there's no rock star like the real thing, and the red carpets love the Bono and the Boss as much as it adores any Hollywood idol you can name.

"There's been a growing momentum with music documentaries," says Thom Powers, since 2006 the festival's international documentary programmer.

"In 2010, we showed The Promise: The Making Of Darkness on the Edge of Town, and it was an enormous success," Powers says, referring to the Springsteen film. "That was followed by the U2 doc From the Sky Down as the festival's opening-night film, which was unprecedented for us."

Other rockumentaries in 2011 included Albert Maysles' The Love We Make (about a Paul McCartney 9/11 concert in New York), Cameron Crowe's Pearl Jam Twenty and Jonathan Demme's Neil Young Journeys. The doc on the Cinnamon Girl singer received its world premiere at the Princess of Wales Theatre, which was refitted with a seat-rattling sound system for the occasion.

This year's crop of music docs can't compare to 2011's edition in terms of star power, but the schedule is rich in content and variety. Beyond the Stones film, highlights include the jazz stories I Called Him Morgan and Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary, Jim Jarmusch's Gimme Danger (about Iggy Pop and the Stooges), the quirky, lovable Fab Four film The Sixth Beatle and Demme's Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids.

With the growing prominence of the music docs at TIFF comes the criticism that artistry takes a back seat to red-carpet appeal. Last year's Netflix film Keith Richards: Under the Influence, for example, was basically a cross-promotional companion piece to the musician's new solo album Crosseyed Heart. Powers admits there are "different layers" to the range of docs.

"Everyone has their own appetite when it comes to what they get out these films," he explains. "But the 1,700 people who came out to see the Keith Richards film last year seemed to have a blast, and with this year's documentary on Justin Timberlake, the fans will be able to experience one of the most crowd-pleasing performers of our time and have a better seat in the house than you could ever purchase through normal conditions."

Through normal conditions. A theme that emerges in The Rolling Stones Ole Ole Ole! – and which is also strongly brought to bear in Lutz Gregor's Mali Blues at TIFF – is the indomitable spirit of musicians and music lovers. We see a religious-like devotion to the Rolling Stones in Ole Ole Ole!, which documents the band's visits to Latin America countries where rock 'n' roll was driven underground by authoritarian regimes in the past. In Mali Blues, we meet Tuareg musician Ahmed Ag Kaedi, a guitar player who was forced to flee his desert home under threats that fundamentalists would chop off his fingers.

"The minute you ban something," says Richards in Ole Ole Ole!, "you're going to create a movement." The film culminates in the first-ever Stones show in Cuba, the embargoed island nation. The free concert was delayed and in doubt. But while the Pope didn't like the idea of the band playing on Good Friday and requested a change in the date of the show, the Stones sang Sympathy for the Devil on the Catholic people's holiest day of the year anyway.

So, only rock 'n' roll? No way – not in Buenos Aries, not in Havana and not at TIFF.

The Rolling Stones Ole Ole Ole! screens Sept. 16, 9:30 p.m., Roy Thomson Hall; Sept. 17, 12:45 p.m., Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema; Sept. 18, 6:30 p.m., Scotiabank Theatre Toronto.