Hot Docs 2012 Preview, Part 2

As prom­ised, here are a few more films that should be on your radar at this year’s Hot Docs. We’re just a few days away now, so if you haven’t already got your tick­ets or passes, bet­ter get on that!

China Heavyweight

China Heavyweight (Director: Yung Chang)

Yung Chang’s pre­vi­ous film, Up the Yangtze (review), was both a crit­ical and com­mer­cial suc­cess back in 2008, and I’m hop­ing that his knack for find­ing great char­ac­ters who can illu­min­ate the big­ger stor­ies behind China’s dra­matic changes will make China Heavyweight another hit. This time, he fol­lows a box­ing coach on his recruit­ing trips into the coun­tryside. Boxing can bring both per­sonal rewards and col­lect­ive glory to the nation, and the film explores the choices these young ath­letes are faced with on their path to suc­cess.

The Ambassador

The Ambassador (Director: Mads Brügger)

The dir­ector of pre­vi­ous Hot Docs favour­ite The White Chapel con­tin­ues his prank­ish ways, this time in the heart of Africa. Brügger travels “in char­ac­ter” as a racist busi­ness­man to the troubled Central African Republic, ostens­ibly to open a match fact­ory, but really in search of illi­cit dia­monds. When he buys a dip­lo­matic post, things take a turn for the tra­gi­comic. An explor­a­tion of cor­rup­tion and the ongo­ing pil­la­ging of Africa by white men, this prom­ises to be a darkly comedic look at the “Dark Continent.”

The Imposter

The Imposter (Director: Bart Layton)

In 1994 a 13-year-old boy dis­ap­pears without a trace from San Antonio, Texas. Three and a half years later he is found alive, thou­sands of miles away in a vil­lage in south­ern Spain with a story of kid­nap and tor­ture. But why does he now have a strange accent and look so dif­fer­ent? Most of all, why doesn’t his fam­ily notice? Are they so relieved to have him back home safely that they’re over­look­ing these anom­alies? A real-life mys­tery that prom­ises to be much stranger than fic­tion.

Outing

Outing (Directors: Sebastian Meise and Thomas Reider)

A young Swedish man recog­nizes in him­self the darkest of desires, a sexual attrac­tion to chil­dren. Instead of keep­ing this ter­rible secret, he reaches out, try­ing to set bound­ar­ies and pre­vent him­self from hurt­ing any­one. But how will the world react to someone like him? What resources are avail­able to help him man­age his con­flict­ing desires? The bravery of both film­makers and sub­ject here deserves atten­tion. How do we con­front and treat a prob­lem that is not going away?

Only the Young

Only the Young (Directors: Elizabeth Mims and Jason Tippet)

A story of friend­ship and young love plays out over one sum­mer in the lives of a group of young people in a small desert town. I’ve heard noth­ing but raves about this film from people who saw it at the True/False fest­ival, and in a world where the old often com­plain about the young, it’s refresh­ing to see a film about young people who are genu­ine, earn­est, and doing their best to be good people. I’ve pur­posely sched­uled this as my last film of the fest­ival.

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