#HOTDOCS: 2016 HOTDOCS FILM FESTIVAL PREVIEW
By Siobhán Rich for Mr. Will Wong
Every Spring, Documentary lovers focus their attention in one direction: The Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival. The 23rd edition of the Festival boasts 232 documentaries including 71 Canadian or Canadian co-productions. With filmmakers from 51 countries, 40% of whom are women, Hot Docs remains a beacon of diverse programming.
The Festival will kick off on April 28th with the world premiere of Canadian Filmmaker Rama Rau’s League of Exotique Dancers. Over the 10 days that follow, an impressive schedule of Films will thrill festival goers with offerings from both first time Documentarians and masters of the craft. Here are a few titles to look out for when building your Hot Docs schedule.
Canadian music fans are sure to be enthralled with Spirit Unforgettable by Director Pete McCormack. The Film focuses on Spirit of the West frontman John Mann and his battle with early onset Alzheimer’s.
If there are still any outstanding questions abut the “trial of the century” Ezra Edleman’s five-episode, seven-and-a-half-hour Documentary series O.J. Simpson: Made in America intends to answer them. It will be screened both in its entirety and as of the Scotiabank Big Ideas Series, which will include an extended Q&A with special guests.
One man transformed television in the 70’s. In Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing’s Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You, we meet the man who challenged the way American’s thought by bringing the difficult issues of the day into their living rooms on a nightly basis.
Sundance award winner Weiner will be making its Canadian debut at Hot Docs. Directors Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg turn their lens on a political melodrama that has to be seen to be believed.
Toronto arts lovers are no doubt familiar with the beautiful multidisciplinary production Contemporary Color from last year’s Luminato Festival. Bill Ross IV and Turner Ross will bring this spectacular show to the big screen during Hot Docs.
True cinephiles will need no more than the title of Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow’s new Film to be convinced to line up this highly-anticipated Documentary: De Palma.
A few must-sees for hardcore Documentary fans include Joe Berlinger’s Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru (also part of the Scotiabank Big Ideas Series), Unlocking the Cage by Chris Hegedus and DA Pennebaker, and of course, Werner Herzog’s Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World.
Finally, the new DocX program will feature a single screening Canadian Matt Johnson’s Operation Avalanche. This Mockumentary about the moon landing premiered to rave reviews at Sundance and is guaranteed to be a hot ticket.
Last year Hot Docs brought together over 200,00 Documentary enthusiasts. Thanks to the stellar work of the Hot Docs Programming Team, that number is only going to increase in 2016.
The Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival will run from April 28 to May 8, 2016. More here.