The 29th Hot Docs
April 28-May 8
Making its return to an in-person event, along with online offerings throughout Canada, North America’s largest nonfiction event showcases approximately 145 new and recent doc features.
Among the offerings:
Director: Noura Kevorkian
Unfolding over a decade, the story of migrant workers toiling in Lebanon’s fields since before Syria’s civil war, who find themselves stranded in a refugee camp.
BERNIE LANGILLE WANTS TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO BERNIE LANGILLE
Director: Jackie Torrens
In this offbeat whodunit, a man sets out to uncover the truth behind the strange, unresolved death of his grandfather by recreating the mystery in miniature.
DON’T COME SEARCHING
Director: Andrew Moir
When her boyfriend, a migrant laborer, returns to their stifling Jamaican town with an engagement ring and news of his terminal diagnosis, Sophia must find her own strength in a world that would have her powerless.
Director: Jason Loftus
After meeting a survivor of an activist group that boldly hacked Chinese state television to protest human rights violations, an exiled illustrator recreates the events through his art.
FREEDOM FROM EVERYTHING
Director: Mike Hoolboom
A reflection on AIDS and coronavirus—two pandemics that have shaped the filmmaker’s life—while exposing the perils of a neoliberal agenda and the pitfalls of a gig economy.
Director: Tess Girard
From an eccentric old couple’s plan to save humanity with a bunker of buried school buses to the musings of a youthful gravedigger, the filmmaker explores our basic human need for a place to call home.
Director: Bogna Kowalczyk
Lula is every inch a rebel, performing as a drag queen in his blatantly homophobic country.
Director: Karl Malakunas
In the majestic tropical island of Palawan, three environmental crusaders confront murder, betrayal, and political corruption.
THE KILLING OF A JOURNALIST
Director: Matt Sarnecki
When an investigative journalist and his fiancée are brutally murdered and Slovakia’s police fail to question the prime suspect, democracy itself may not survive.
Director: Olha Zhurba
Adopted by soldiers, Roma became a child mascot for Ukraine’s revolution before being discarded to an orphanage.
Director: Reed Harkness
An emotional, vibrant portrait of a mother and son’s relationship after she leaves him to start a new life.
Director: Shameela Seedat
Debates unfold as over a hundred of the highest achieving law students from the African continent argue hypothetical human rights cases—and grapple with their own countries’ real migration issues—at the annual African Human Rights Moot Court Competition.
ALL OF OUR HEARTBEATS ARE CONNECTED THROUGH EXPLODING STARS
Director: Jennifer Rainsford
An essay about loss that connects human and environmental trauma with unexpected ties between internal and external worlds.
AND STILL I SING
Director: Fazila Amiri
Under the mentorship of a controversial pop star, two young singers vie to become the first-ever female winners of AFGHAN STAR.
Director: Marta Dauliute, Viktorija Siaulyte
Entrepreneurialism is tested at the Swedish co-living start-up Tech Farm, where its tenants are inspired to run their entire existence as a self-managed enterprise.
IL POSTO (A STEADY JOB)
Director: Mattia Colombo, Gianluca Matarrese
Thousands of Italian nurses travel by bus to compete in massive job competitions for only a few permanent positions.
THE LAST LAP DANCE
Director: Isri Halpern
When the police closed Israeli strip clubs in 2020, the social and political fallout pits sex workers demanding a voice against those who purport to represent the women’s best interests.
Director: Marek Kozakiewicz
After moving back to her xenophobic Polish hometown to care for her teenage brother, a woman struggles to keep her girlfriend a secret and build a new family in the closed, conservative community.
Director: Louie Palu
An experiential journey along Eastern Ukraine’s frontline exploring the intricate layers of unseen forces that shape the ongoing conflict.
ANGELS OF SINJAR
Director: Hanna Polak
After surviving an ISIS attack on the Yezidi, Hanifa sets out into one of the most underreported and dangerous places on Earth to find her enslaved sisters and bring them home.
INTO THE WEEDS
Director: Jennifer Baichwal
A David vs Goliath story of a former groundskeeper who takes on a multinational agrochemical corporation after his terminal cancer diagnosis.
MAKE PEOPLE BETTER
Director: Cody Sheehy
A rogue Chinese biophysicist disappears after developing the first designer babies, shocking the world and the entire scientific community.
THE SMELL OF MONEY
Director: Shawn Bannon
A century after her grandfather claimed his freedom from slavery, Elsie and her rural North Carolina community fight back against environmental racism.
THE TALENTED MR ROSENBERG
Director: Barry Avrich
A lurid and revelatory look into into the mind, motive, and method of the Yorkville Swindler, and the people who fell for his cons over and over again.
THE ART OF SILENCE
Director: Maurizius Staerkle Drux
The story of legendary mime Marcel Marceau comes to life through reflections from his family and those he inspired.
Director: Joannie LaFreniere
A quirky portrait of 93-year-old master photographer Gabor Szilasi, a Hungarian émigré renowned for his eloquent portrayals of everyday Canadian life.
HISTORJÀ: STITCHES FOR SÁPMI
Director: Thomas Jackson
The skilled stitches of Sámi textile artist Britta Marakatt-Labba transform into powerful acts of resistance.
HOW SABA KEPT SINGING
Director: Sara Taksler
At 94, David never fully revealed to his family how he survived Auschwitz: he sang to entertain SS guards.
IMAGES OF A NORDIC DRAMA
Director: Nils Gaup
A persistent art collector champions an unknown Norwegian artist after finding a cache of provocative paintings in a barn,
Director: Karol Palka
A portrait of a mother and daughter living in nature outside the modern world invokes an atmosphere of expectation.
BE MY VOICE
Director: Nahid Persson
An Iranian journalist and activist uses her freedom in exile to amplify the voices of millions of women rebelling against the forced hijab despite threats of violence.
Director: Phyllis Ellis
When international sports governing bodies rule some female athletes must medically alter their healthy bodies under the guise of fair play, four champions fight back.
Director: Patty Ivins
You’re invited to the dinner of a lifetime, where white women sit down to wine, a meal, and a radically honest conversation about racism.
Director: Jasmin Mara Lopez
When the filmmaker confronts her grandfather’s acts of sexual violence, she exposes generations of victims who suffered the same abuse.
Director: Thora Lorentzen
An immersive visual yearbook of a pastoral Danish boarding school where 120 teenagers quickly go from total strangers to chosen family in the time of COVID.
THE UNSOLVED MURDER OF BEVERLY LYNN SMITH
A deep dive into a Canadian cold case and the controversial sting operation that was designed to catch a killer.
Director: Marcos Pimentel
Belo Horizonte, Brazil’s street art gives voice to the voiceless, crying out against a botched pandemic response, police violence, and economic disenfranchisement.
Director: Miryam Charles
A confrontation with grief by way of liberatory imagination, moving through time and between Canada, the United States, and Haiti.
XARAASI XANNE: CROSSING VOICES
A portrait of radical collectivity focused on a group of African migrant workers in Europe who returned to Mali to establish an agricultural cooperative in the 1970s.
Director: Louis Hothothot
The filmmaker returns to China to unravel his distant relationship with his parents, who paid a steep price for having him as an illegal second child under the country’s punitive one-child policy.
Director: Tracey Arcabasso Smith
When the filmmaker confronts her childhood sexual abuse, she unearths a history of intergenerational abuse in her seemingly idyllic family.
The Changing Face of Europe
BIGGER THAN TRAUMA
Director: Vedrana Pribacic
Twenty-five later, women who suffered sexual violence during the Croatian war confront their traumas through an unorthodox therapy group.
HOW THE ROOM FELT
A group of female and non-binary friends in Georgia create their own safe spaces away from their unaccepting provincial surroundings.
Made in Chile
Director: Yerko Ravlic
In the vast Chilean desert, a lonely security guard prepares to make contact, both with his estranged ex-wife and with extraterrestrial life.
Director: Roberto Baeza
Using actors and family members, the directors recreate their fathers’ deep friendship forged in Pinochet’s torture camp.
Director: Vee Bravo
A look at the revolutionary struggle for Chile’s new constitution, where everyday citizens faced down violent police repression on the frontlines.