Hot Docs Rounds Up the World’s Best New DocumentariesToronto April 24th – May 4th
Films shown at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, a century-old landmark located in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood.
Documentaries have the power to change us, the world around us and set the record straight. They can take us to the farthest reaches of the earth, inside our own nature, they can raise awareness of things that need to be fixed and entertain, enlighten and galvanize.
The film FED UP, from Stephanie Soechtig and Mark Monroe, narrated by Katie Couric, rings the alarm on what sugar is doing to us. It’s toxic to humans, creates disease, causes early death and it’s a political football. The documentary reveals the dark side of corporate lobbying that keeps corporations built on sugar fat and happy. Most of us are blissfully unaware of the damage sugar does and wage the ages old battle of diet and exercise to shed those pesky pounds. These things don’t work. This is the kind of necessary slap in the face documentaries can provide and thankfully they are being seen more widely all the time.
The Toronto-based Hot Docs Film Festival is underway now, and Fed Up is just one of the important and effective docs in its long list of offerings. Hot Docs is rapidly moving up the international prestige ladder. Now in its 21st year, Hot Docs attracts fans, media and guests from around everywhere. It provides the world in a couple of weeks, the pressing issues that face us today ranging from politics, social action, real life mysteries, unusual characters, science, the environment, culture and any topic that concerns human beings on this planet.
Guests include Alice Cooper, oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle, pop culture icon George Takei, master puppeteer Caroll Spinney, the brave plaintiffs in The Case Against 8, author Cory Doctorow, hacker-culture expert Gabriella Coleman, Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig, Brandy Burre of The Wire, blogger and street photographer Ari Seth Cohen, American psychic Miss Cleo, Turkish-American Internet personality, political activist and commentator Cenk Uygur, and the godfather of the zombie movie genre George Romero, for starters.
The National Film Board of Canada is showing Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker John Kastner’s OUT OF MIND, OUT OF SIGHT, in its world premiere April 27 which follows four patients inside the Brockville Mental Health Centre. The NFB is also presenting ABSENCES, GUIDELINES, JUTRA, SELF (LESS) PORTRAIT, and WHERE I’M FROM.
Also screening are WEIWEI: THE FAKE CASE by Andreas Johnsen in its North American Premiere, concerning world famous Chinese artist Ai Weiwei who is kidnapped by the Chinese authorities and detained at a secret location. 81 days later he is released, but put under house arrest. 18 cameras are monitoring his studio and home as are police. And there’s a lawsuit brought against him by the Chinese government he deems fake.
SUPER DUPER ALICE COOPER (Special Presentations) from Reginald Harkema, Scot McFadyen, and Sam Dunn in its Canadian premiere, follows Cooper from the “chicken incident” in Toronto in 1969 that made him a star to legendary status. Archival materials and rock opera tells it like ti is. Cooper, who mustn’t be golfing that week, is attending.
BEFORE THE LAST CURTAIN FALLS (Canadian Spectrum) by Thomas Wallner is a dance film featuring the Belgian transvestite and transsexual performers with scenes from their European ballet Gardenia. It has been called a “profoundly human portrait of love—and a masterpiece of documentary art”.
UKRAINE IS NOT A BROTHEL directed by Kitty Green in its Canadian Premiere. It follows Ukraine’s topless feminist sensation Femen is outraged by the world image of Ukraine’s women brides for sale or commodities of sex tourism. Femen, the world's most provocative feminist organization goes to war, bare-breasted and angry.
112 WEDDINGS by Doug Block in its International Premiere looks at the subjects of Block’s intimate wedding videos years after the ceremonies to see what has become of his glowing couples. Contrasting rapturous wedding day flashbacks with candid present-day interviews, we get a glimpse into the ways we change.
WHITEY: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA V. JAMES J. BULGER from director Joe Berlinger follows the headline grabbing trial of accused Boston gangster 'Whitey' Bulger, which unearthed evidence of corruption within the highest levels of law enforcement. Berlinger spent a year with Federal Prosecutors, retired FBI and State Police, victims, lawyers, gangsters and journalists trying to find out why Bulger had such power and influence for so long.
Hot Docs also offers industry and business opportunities, conference sessions and market events and services for documentary practitioners, including the renowned Hot Docs Forum, Hot Docs Deal Maker and The Doc Shop. Every little thing you need to know including schedules, ticketing, synopses, contacts and guests can be found at Hot Docs Film Festival