The 26th Hot Docs
April 25-May 5
Approximately 150 new features, in addition to several retrospective presentations, make up the lineup of North America’s largest documentary festival.
NÎPAWISTAMÂSOWIN: WE WILL STAND UP
The Canadian Spectrum includes the fest’s opening night film, Tasha Hubbard’s NÎPAWISTAMÂSOWIN: WE WILL STAND UP
, which spotlights systemic bias in the Canadian legal system following the acquittal of the killer of a Cree man; Ariella Pahlke, Nance Ackerman, and Teresa MacInnes’ CONVICTION
, which gives voice to incarcerated Canadian women; Chris Flanagan’s SHELLA RECORD: A REGGAE MYSTERY
, following a reggae fanatic’s obsessive search for a mysterious singer; Rama Rau’s THE DAUGHTER TREE
, which addresses the consequences of Indian society’s preference of male babies; Matt Gallagher’s PREY
, about a survivor of sexual abuse who sues the Catholic Church; and Ingrid Veninger’s THE WORLD OR NOTHING
, which follows the celebrity dreams of twin brothers from Cuba.
BUDDHA IN AFRICA
In the International Spectrum, titles include: Nicole Schafer’s BUDDHA IN AFRICA
, a portrait of a Malawian boy raised in a Chinese Buddhist orphanage; Maya Newell’s IN MY BLOOD IT RUNS
, the coming of age story of an Aboriginal boy in Australia; Marcela Arteaga’s THE GUARDIAN OF MEMORY
, which focuses on the stories of Mexican migrants seeking asylum in the US; Nadir Bouhmouch’s AMUSSU
, on the resistance efforts of a Moroccan village against a polluting mining company; Bahman Kiarostami’s EXODUS
, which follows the bureaucratic hurdles facing Afghan migrants attempting to leave Iran; and Pailin Wedel’s HOPE FROZEN
, about a Bangkok family that controversially cryopreserves their deceased toddler.
KILLING PATIENT ZERO
Special Presentations at the festival include the world premieres of Laurie Lynd’s KILLING PATIENT ZERO
, which aims to vindicate the Québécois man blamed for spreading AIDS in the early 1980s; Phyllis Ellis’ TOXIC BEAUTY
, which investigates the harmful consequences of the unregulated cosmetics industry; and Mark Franchetti and Andrew Meier’s OUR GODFATHER
, in which a Mafioso turned state’s witness breaks his silence after three decades.
MR TOILET: THE WORLD’S #2 MAN
Among the debuts in the World Showcase are: Mijie Li’s CONFUCIAN DREAM
, following a young woman who tries to spread her newfound Confucianism; Aisha Jamal’s A KANDAHAR AWAY
, a culture clash about an Afghan family in Saskatchewan; Lily Zepeda’s MR TOILET: THE WORLD’S #2 MAN
, about an entrepreneur’s quest to solve the world’s global sanitation crisis; Hye-Ryeong Park’s THE WANDERING CHEF
, in which a well-known Korean chef pays tribute to a maternal figure’s passing via a special banquet; Julia Horn’s DEAR BROTHER
, about the touching relationship between a man and his catatonic brother; Alban Teurlai and Thierry Demaizière’s LOURDES
, a portrait of the French pilgrimage site; Jason DaSilva’s WHEN WE WALK
, a follow up to the filmmaker’s WHEN I WALK
, as he must navigate the broken US healthcare system to be closer to his son following his divorce; and Andrei Kutsila’s STRIP AND WAR
, an odd couple portrait of a former Soviet military officer and his stripper grandson.
PROPAGANDA: THE ART OF SELLING LIES
Work appearing in Artscapes includes Jamie Kastner’s THERE ARE NO FAKES
, about a forgery ring involving one of Canada’s most notable First Nations artists; Yang Sun and S Leo Chiang’s OUR TIME MACHINE
, on an artistic collaboration between a Peking Opera director with Alzheimer’s and his son; Annekatrin Hendel’s BEAUTY AND DECAY
, about a bouncer whose photography captured East Berlin’s 1980s punk scene; and Stacey Tenenbaum’s PIPE DREAMS
, on a Canadian organ competition; while the Making Believe section, which explores truth and lies, includes Shamira Raphaëla and Clarice Gargard’s DADDY AND THE WARLORD
, in which Gargard investigates her father’s connections to Liberian strongman Charles Taylor; Matthew O’Connor and Barnaby O’Connor’s THE PICKUP GAME
, an inside look at the disturbing world of pickup artists; and Larry Weinstein’s PROPAGANDA: THE ART OF SELLING LIES
, an exploration of the rise and power of manipulation.
BECAUSE WE ARE GIRLS
This year’s event offers a special focus on female filmmakers and subjects, including the Focus on Canadian filmmaker Julia Ivanova, who enjoys a retrospective of her work as well as screenings of her latest doc, MY DADS, MY MOMS AND ME
, which revisits the subjects of her earlier film, FATHERHOOD DREAMS, about gay men raising families. Women are also at the core of the new Persister section, which presents work like: Yu Gu’s A WOMAN’S WORK: THE NFL’S CHEERLEADER PROBLEM
, about former cheerleaders facing off in court against the NFL; Claudia Sparrow’s MAXIMA
, which focuses on an indigenous Peruvian woman’s standoff with a mining corporation; Tülin Özdemir’s RED MOON
, in which the filmmaker explores the life of her aunt, who was forced to become a child bride; and Baljit Sangra’s BECAUSE WE ARE GIRLS
, about sisters from an Indian-Canadian family who bring their own cousin to court for childhood sexual abuse.
European nonfiction is also a focus of this year’s slate, with Made in Italy, a showcase of Italian work like Gustav Hofer and Luca Ragazzi’s DICKTATORSHIP: MACHO MADE IN ITALY
, which explores the nation’s propensity for chauvinism and misogyny; Brunella Filì’s ALLA SALUTE
, which follows a celebrity chef on a culinary odyssey after he receives a cancer diagnosis; and Claudia Tosi’s I HAD A DREAM
, a reflection on Italy’s past decade of political turmoil through the eyes of two female politicians; while The Changing Face of Europe spotlights work from Latvia, Estonia, and Sweden, among others, including Kaspars Goba’s INGA CAN HEAR
, about a teenager who is the only hearing member of her family; Minna Hint and Meelis Muhu’s TO SHARE OR NOT TO SHARE
, about a Londoner who relocates to Estonia to start a barter-based sharing community; and Ellinor Hallin and Ellen Fiske’s SCHEME BIRDS
, focused on an expectant teen mom seeking a way out of her dead-end surroundings.
Among the remaining sections are Animal Magnetism, which presents work like Mincheol Wang’s GARDEN, ZOOLOGICAL
, an observational film about a small South Korean zoo and the impact of confinement on its inhabitants; and Nightvision, with Rodney Ascher and David Lawrence’s THE EL DUCE TAPES
, about a notorious shock-rock band from the 1980s and ’90s.