This morning, Hot Docs announced the full lineup for the 16th edition of this internationally-renowned documentary film festival, running this year from April 30 — May 10. From the press release, I learned that there were almost 2,000 films submitted, and from that huge number, 171 films from 39 countries were selected for screening.
Hot Docs Director of Programming Sean Farnel at the press conference (Photo: Jay Kerr)
My involvement this year started a number of weeks ago, when I was invited to help screen submissions as an Associate Programmer. Now my role shifts back to being a member of the online media. I’m hoping to watch and review as many of these carefully-chosen documentaries as I can fit into my schedule. Just having a look over some of the selections, I’m excited and looking forward to my sixth year of attending what is probably my favourite local film festival. Here are just a few of the highlights I’m anticipating:
- Act of God (Jennifer Baichwal) will open the festival, exploring the lives of people who have been struck by lightning.
- Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country (Anders Østergaard) takes us onto the streets of Myanmar (Burma) with footage shot by protesting monks.
- Let’s Make Money (Erwin Wagenhofer) penetrates the world of high finance and neo-liberal economics.
- Objectified (Gary Hustwit) will make its Canadian premiere after several packed screenings at SXSW.
- Rough Aunties (Kim Longinotto) are a group of remarkable women who care for the abused children of Durban, South Africa.
- Sergio (Greg Barker) is a portrait of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Sergio Vieira de Mello who was the victim of a bomb attack in Iraq in 2003.
- Tyson (James Toback) is a controversial portrait of the fighter Mike Tyson by one of his closest friends.
- We Live in Public (Ondi Timoner) is a document of Internet pioneer Josh Harris’ decade-long experiment in living his life online in the public eye.
- Winnebago Man (Ben Steinbauer) introduces us to the man behind the infamous YouTube hit, the world’s angriest RV salesman.
Tickets and passes are already on sale, and I can assure you that Hot Docs is one of the best bargains for film lovers in this city.
P.S. Looking over the final lineup, I realize that none of the 61 documentaries I watched in February made it in. And I saw some very good films.