Hot Docs kicks off its 25th year today (and runs through May 6), and here are 15 films showing during the first few days of the festival that are worth catching and guaranteed to scratch your non-fiction itch.
We talk to Canadian-Nigerian filmmaker Shasha Nakhai about her debut feature documentary Take Light (premiering at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival this weekend), which finds her returning to her hometown of Port Harcourt to take an on the ground look at Nigeria’s ongoing energy crisis.
Although he didn’t initially set out to do so, first time documentarian Jonathan Olshefski ended up spending almost a decade with the subjects of his equally heart-warming and heart-wrenching film Quest (which opens at The Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema this weekend and expands in the coming weeks).
Canada’s 150th birthday is a cause for many to celebrate what makes the country such a great place to live, but it should also be used as a time to reflect on what citizens can do to make Canada a better, more equitable place for all its citizens. To that end and just in time for the Canada Day long weekend, the Hot Docs organization has delivered their most ambitious and unique in-house project to date: the anthology documentary In the Name of All Canadians (which made its World Premiere at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema this past Wednesday and opens properly at the theatre on Friday the 30th), a series of five short films and a wrap-around segment that brings to light issues, controversies, and important to remember past precedents surrounding the rocky history and implementation of the 35 year old Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Few films have captured the volatility of Israeli politics quite like filmmaker Shimon Dotan’s documentary The Settlers, which opens this week theatrically at The Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema after screening as part of Doc Soup this past February.
The documentary California Typewriter takes a look at one Berkeley repair shop’s role in the resurgence of typewriting culture – amid a plethora of celebrities talking about their love for their old school machines – but it gets bogged down by the weight of too many anecdotes and not enough substance.
The Iron Sheik is a legend of the WWF wrestling ring, and over two decades he played the part of the villain opposite Hulk Hogan’s shining good-guy routine. Khosrow Vaziri, the man behind the Iron Sheik persona, has a much larger story than playing the heel though, and it all comes out in the documentary, The Sheik.
The Hot Docs documentary film festival is celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year–from April 25 through May 4–and from what was unveiled at this week’s press conference at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema (a wonderfully restored movie house that is one of the only cinemas solely dedicated to documentary films in North America) the organizers and programmers have decided to make it a spectacular one.
In the spring of 2004, 21-year-old Lara Roxx left her hometown of Montreal and headed to L.A to try to make tons of cash in the adult entertainment industry. Within two months of working in this industry she contracted the most virulent form of HIV while performing sex in front of the camera. Inside Lara Roxx, a documentary premiering at this year’s Hot Docs film festival in Toronto, is about the adult movie industry and its impact on a young life.