Spring is springing and that means Hot Docs, my favourite film festival of the year. The 18th annual Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival will present 199 films this year between April 28th and May 8th, and you’d better believe that I’ll be there covering it. In fact, it will be my own eighth year of attendance, and fifth as an accredited journalist. Negotiations are underway, but I believe we’ll have reviews again from the Doc Brothers, Jay and Drew Kerr. Some screeners have already found their way to me, and I’ll be seeing lots at the festival, too, so look for extensive coverage of what looks to be a very strong year for documentary film.
Here are just a few films that I’m looking forward to seeing at this year’s festival. Look for additional preview posts between now and when the festival begins on April 28. Tickets and passes are on sale now, so don’t hesitate!
El Sicario, Room 164 (Director: Gianfranco Rosi): A hooded man sits in a hotel room and describes in detail his life as a hitman for the Mexican drug cartels. Without ever leaving the confines of the room, the film takes us into a shadowy world of violence and betrayals.
Gnarr (Director: Gaukur Úlfarsson): In the wake of Iceland’s economic implosion, comedian Jon Gnarr launches a political party as a joke. The last laugh is on him when the citizens of Reykjavik, fed up with politics as usual, propel him into the mayor’s seat.
Becoming Chaz (Directors: Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato): A friend of mine recently “came out” as transgendered, and I want to learn as much as I can about a very misunderstood topic. I’m also very curious to see how Chaz (formerly Chastity) Bono, the little girl from the Sonny & Cher show, has dealt with both the transformation and the intense curiosity of a celebrity-obsessed culture.
The Interrupters (Directors: Steve James and Alex Kotlowitz): From the co-director of Hoop Dreams comes another Chicago story of hard knocks and hope. We follow three “violence interrupters” in Chicago who are now desperately trying to protect their communities from the violence they once embraced.