Hot Docs 2012 Preview, Part 2

by James McNally on April 23, 2012

in Documentaries,Film Festivals,Hot Docs

Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival (April 26-May 6, 2012)

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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