The National Parks Project (Directors: Various): I missed the one screening of this film that took place in Austin at SXSW last month, but won’t miss my chance at Hot Docs. This project brings together 13 filmmakers and 39 musicians to create short films about 13 of Canada’s national parks during the centenary of the founding of Parks Canada. It’s an enormous project that also features a television series documenting the making of each of the films, so I’m looking forward to exploring this for a long time to come.
The Pirate Tapes (Directors: Matvei Zhivov, Roger Singh, Andrew Moniz, and Rock Baijnauth): Tracing the rise of piracy in the waters off the Horn of Africa, this film features a young Somali-Canadian who smuggles a hidden camera along as he takes part in a pirate raid. Even as it promises to uncover the complex roots of the problem, this film also buzzes with the energy of a real-life thriller.
Cinema Komunisto (Director: Mila Turajlic): A cinematic history of Yugoslavia, a country which no longer exists. From the idealism of the post-war period to its eventual collapse barely a decade after the death of its architect Marshal Tito, the history of Yugoslavia is bound up with its output of films which aspired to use the myths of wartime heroism to propel its people into a harmonious and prosperous future.
Knuckle (Director: Ian Palmer): For more than a decade, director Ian Palmer documented the feuds of the Travellers, an itinerant subculture living in caravans all over Ireland. Through contests of bareknuckle boxing, the intensely clannish community resolves its disputes. Knuckle introduces us to a pair of brothers as they fight for their family’s honour.