Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival announced its full film line-up for the upcoming 20th edition, April 25 - May 5, at a press conference this morning at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema in Toronto. From 2,386 film submissions, this year’s slate will present 205 titles from 43 countries in 11 screening programs.
"This year’s festival is about looking back and celebrating our 20th anniversary, and also looking forward,” says Hot Docs director of programming Charlotte Cook. “This year we are celebrating, big ideas, innovation and the future. We will have many new and exciting experiences at the festival to give back to the local, and filmmaking, community that have supported us for two decades. This festival is for them."
In addition to the opening night World premiere of Shawney Cohen’s THE MANOR, a first-time filmmaker’s intimate tragi-comic family portrait, other notable films in the Special Presentations program include: Gus Holwerda’s THE UNBELIEVERS, which follows renowned scientists Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss advancing the importance of science and reason; AJ Schnack’s CAUCUS, a behind-the-scenes look at the 2012 Iowa Caucus; Malcom Ingram’s CONTINENTAL, a stylish portrait of the legendary NYC gay bathhouse; Lucy Walker’s THE CRASH REEL, a high adrenaline look at snowboarder Kevin Pearce’s fighting for his life; Penny Lane’s OUR NIXON, a revealing look at one of the most controversial presidencies in US history; Marta Cunningham’s VALENTINE ROAD, depicting a heartbreaking tragedy in which at an eighth-grader fatally shoots his LGBTQ classmate; and Raoul Peck’s FATAL ASSISTANCE, a portrayal of the failure and corruption behind international aid post-disaster.
12 O’CLOCK BOYS
In the competitive Canadian Spectrum program, notable films include: Michelle Latimer’s ALIAS, which illuminates the lives, music, and dreams of five rapper’s in Toronto’s street hip-hop scene; John Kastner’s NCR: NOT CRIMINALLY RESPONSIBLE, a compassionate portrayal of the dilemma between the rights of the mentally ill and the safety of others; Charles Wilkinson’s OIL SANDS KARAOKE, the story of oil sands workers easing their loneliness at their local karaoke bar; Hans Olson’s THE AUCTIONEER, a charming portrayal of a man helping his rural Alberta neighbours deal with a transforming culture; Anne Wheeler’s CHI, following actress Babz Chula’s journey to India in hopes of finding a cure for her cancer; Liz Marshall’s THE GHOSTS IN OUR MACHINE, which captures the sentience of animals through stunning images; and Nimisha Mukerji’s BLOOD RELATIVE, the story of a man’s fight to obtain life-saving medical treatment for young people in India.
In the competitive International Spectrum program, notable films include: Lotfy Nathan’s 12 O’CLOCK BOYS, the story of a young boy longing to join a notorious dirt-bike gang; Matt Wolf’s TEENAGE, a look at the rise of teenage culture; Inigo Westmeier’s DRAGON GIRLS, a glimpse at the young female warriors-in-training at an ancient Shaolin Kung Fu school outside Beijing; Jessica Oreck’s AATSINKI: THE STORY OF ARCTIC COWBOYS, a wholly absorbing portrait of reindeer herders in Lapland; Jon Bang Carlsen’s JUST THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF VIOLENCE, the story of troubled teens ripped from their beds by intervention specialists and involuntarily placed in reform school; Zhu Yu’s CLOUDY MOUNTAINS, which follows a father and son working in the toxic cloudy mountains of Western China; and Ran Tal’s GARDEN OF EDEN, a look the revealing interaction between a diverse group of vacationers in an Israeli national park.
In the World Showcase program, notable films include: Matthew Pond and Kirk Marcolina’s THE LIFE AND CRIMES OF DORIS PAYNE, the story of an 81-year-old jewel thief’s unrepentant account of her life of crime; Victor Buhler’s A WHOLE LOTT MORE, a touching look at an auto industry facility on the brink of crisis and its 1200-plus employees, all with developmental disabilities; Laura Checkoway’s LUCKY, an intimate portrait of a homeless woman masking her pain behind a tattoo-covered face; Nebojsa Slijepcevic’s GANGSTER OF LOVE, a comic look at the pitfalls of modern love in a traditional society; and Rena Mundo Croshere and Nadine Mundo’s AMERICAN COMMUNE, the story of a legendary hippie commune in Tennessee.
THE PUNK SINGER
The Made In Poland program includes: Bartosz M. Kowalski’s A DREAM IN THE MAKING, a story of friendship and determination to escape the confines of an impoverished and violent Warsaw neighbourhood; Lidia Duda’s ENTANGLED, a tragic portrait of a victim and his aggressor who cannot entirely escape each other; and Wiktoria Szymanska’s THE MAN WHO MADE ANGELS FLY, about an extraordinary artist revisiting his past by bringing his famous puppets out of storage one last time.
The Next program includes: Sini Anderson’s THE PUNK SINGER, the ultimate biography of punk singer and feminist icon Kathleen Hanna; Katherine Knight and Marcia Connolly’s SPRING AND ARNAUD, the breathtakingly tender portrait of two artists, their work and their love; Mika Mattila’s CHIMERAS, about the founding father of Chinese contemporary art Wang Guangyi; and James Leong and Lynn Lee’s THE GREAT NORTH KOREAN PICTURE SHOW, a glimpse into North Korea’s only film school.
The Nightvision program includes: Morgan Matthews’ SHOOTING BIGFOOT, the story of fanatic bigfoot hunters; Amy Finkel’s FUREVER, about owners memorializing their pets; Jeanie Finlay’s THE GREAT HIP HOP HOAX, a portrait of rapping best friends Silibil n’ Brains; and Michal Marzak’s FUCK FOR FOREST, the story of a group of idealists with a naked approach to helping the environment.
WILLIAM AND THE WINDMILL
The Rule Breakers and Innovators program includes: Ben Nabors’ WILLIAM AND THE WINDMILL, the story of a teenage Malawian boy who builds a windmill and saves his family; Alex Winter’s DOWNLOADED, a look at the creation of online peer-to-peer file sharing; Merete Mueller and Christopher Smith’s TINY: A STORY ABOUT LIVING SMALL, about the new movement of building tiny houses but ultimately living large; and Simon Klose’s TPB AFK: THE PIRATE BAY AWAY FROM KEYBOARD, the story of the co-founders of the world’s largest file-sharing site squaring off against Hollywood.
The REDUX program includes: Joel DeMott and Jeff Kreines’ SEVENTEEN, which follows a group of teenagers dealing with the emotions of their final year of high school; Bill Ross’ RIVER, the story of friends and brothers setting sail on a hilarious adventure; James Marsh’s THE BURGER AND THE KING, a portrait of Elvis through the food he ate and those that fed him; and Ruth Leitman and Carol Weaks Cassidy’s WILDWOOD, NJ, a candid glimpse at Jersey girls on beaches and boardwalks.
Additionally, Hot Docs is pleased to present two retrospective programs: Focus On Peter Mettler, a mid-career retrospective of the filmmaker’s work; and the Outstanding Achievement Award Retrospective, honouring the influential work of masterful filmmaker Les Blank.