Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival‘s upcoming 22nd edition, starting April 23 until May 3, is just around the corner. From 2,724 film submissions, this year’s slate will present 210 titles from 45 countries in 12 screening programs. Like previous years, the festival has a stellar lline-up of films to please all documentary fans.
Hot Docs boasts 14 programs from which you can choose; the difficult task is how do you narrow your lists? This is where my Top Picks will hopefully assist you in making your choices.
In the Canadian Spectrum program, I would suggest:
Ryan Mullins’ CHAMELEON, which tells the story of journalist extraordinaire Anas Aremeyaw Anas, who is not afraid to use extreme measures to get to the truth of a story.
Damien Gillis and Fiona Rayher bring us FRACTURED LAND. The film follows young Aboriginal leader and lawyer Caleb Behn, whose territory is currently under siege from some of the world’s largest natural gas operations.
In the International Spectrum program, I pick:
DRAWING THE TIGER by directors Amy Benson, Ramyata Limbu and Scott Squire. The film follows one Nepalese family’s daily struggle to survive. How to put food on the table, pay their debts, survive each day is their reality. When their bright daughter is given the chance to study in Kathmandu, their hopes rise. But not all is as it seems.
Erinnisse and Patryk Rebisz’s film SHOULDER THE LION is an introspecive and visually captivating story about three artists who continue to be creative despite certain physical limitations. A visual essay that aims to make one ponder about art and how our abilities dictate how we see the world around us.
Iiris Härmä’s LEAVING AFRICA is an ode to friendship between two 60-something women, Finnish Riitta and Ugandan Catherine, who share a home in Uganda. Together Riita and Catherine work to teach basic sex education, family planning, towards creating an atmosphere where women can be empowered. This inspirational and moving film will sure to create some interesting conversations afterwards.
In the Nightvision program I suggest:
Bryan Carberry and Clay Tweel’s FINDERS KEEPERS, a stranger-than-fiction tale of a human foot inadvertently bought at an auction. The story that follows sounds is certainly worthy of capturing of film. An exploration of class divides, media exploitation and much more.
Rodney Ascher’s THE NIGHTMARE, a real-life horror film about the mysterious phenomenon of sleep paralysis. The film is inspired by Ascher’s own experiences with sleep paralysis. This is certainly for the curious… Here’s hoping we can sleep calmly at night after watching this film.
In the Screen on Screen program, I highlight:
CHUCK NORRIS VS COMMUNISM by Mara Adina and Brett Ratner. In the 1980s, ordinary citizens in communist Romania risked arrest and imprisonment to screen Hollywood blockbusters. This film uses funny film clips and carefully staged re-enactments to bring to life the stories of these Stallone-loving, dictatorship-toppling movie fans.
Some very interesting docs in this list, if I say so myself. And this is only part one! For full Hot Docs listings, film schedule, and box office info, please go to hotdocs.ca. For part 2 of my Top Picks, come back soon, as I’ll have more Hot Docs suggestions for you.