Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival is a few days away. Hot Docs is North America’s largest documentary festival, conference and market, will present its 24th annual edition from April 27-May 7, 2017.
An outstanding selection of over 200 documentaries from Canada and around the world will be presented to Toronto audiences and international delegates. This first volume of my Hot Docs Preview highlights two films that focus on issues around social justice and politics — along with setting the record straight.
The history of the U.S. labour movement often highlights Cesar Chavez as being the leader of the first farm workers’ union. But missing from the records is the equally influential co—founder, Dolores Huerta, who worked alongside Chavez day and night for racial and labour justice. Huerta became one of the most defiant activists in U.S. history.
Director Peter Bratt‘s documentary tells us what is missing from this history. Through archival footage and interviews from contemporaries and from Dolores herself, the film sets the record straight. It portrays Dolores’ flaws and heroic qualities, while giving her all to a cause she truly believes in.
I learn so much more about the labour movement, and about Dolores Huerta through this film. She is a force to be reckoned with. With flaws and all, Dolores deserves more than just recognition and praise for her work; she deserves to have her story told. Highly recommend this film.
Screens: May 1st, 2nd, 5th and 6th
The Road Forward, Marie Clements, provided by the National Film Board of Canada
This musical documentary by Marie Clements connects us to a moment in Canada’s Indigenous civil rights history; the beginnings of the Native Brotherhood and Sisterhood, with the momentum of First Nations activism today.
Interviews with members of the brotherhood and sisterhood, re-enactments, and musical sequences depict how the movement grew to become a powerful voice for Indigenous people across the country. Although not seamless, Clements’ efforts in creating a film that links past and present — through story-songs, blues, rock and traditional Native vocables — are commendable. The telling of this history is much needed especially in our current times, and as the 150th Confederation celebrations take place in Canada this year. Definitely see this film.
Screens: April 30th, May 1st and 6th