Hot Docs Announces First Films for Hot Docs 15

Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck
Is it Hot Docs already? My TIFF Docs coverage only just hits the stands! It's good to have docs on the brain at any time, though, and Hot Docs has lots for us to get excited about this year with their first 17 films announced for the 2015 edition of the festival. (I hope to make it again this year!) Among the titles are the fully authorized Kurt Cobain doc Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the World Premiere of Robert Cohen's Being Canadian, prizewinners from Sundance and other international film festivals, along with retro screenings of Barry Avrich's The Last Mogul and Jennie Livingston's Paris is Burning. The full list of films for Hot Docs '15 will be released March 17. Hot Docs runs April 23- May 3.

The first films announced for the fest are: 

D: Andreas Koefoed | Denmark | 2014 | 94 min | North American Premiere
After narrowly escaping execution and surviving eight years in an Indian prison, a British arms dealer hunts down the MI5 agent who betrayed him, leading to a shocking confrontation with the Danish terrorist who started it all.

D: Robert Cohen | Canada, USA | 2014 | 89 min | World Premiere
Calgary hometown boy turned Hollywood comedy guru Rob Cohen (The Simpsons, The Big Bang Theory) returns to Canada on an epic quest to rediscover our national identity. Meeting up with Mike Myers, Seth Rogen and even the Trailer Park Boys along the way, just imagine Sherman’s March, but wearing a toque.

D: Violeta Ayala | Australia, Bolivia, Colombia, USA | 2015 | 75 min | World Premiere
Three Norwegian teenaged girlfriends get caught smuggling cocaine out of Bolivia. Each is guilty, so why does only one take the fall? Cue a tabloid media storm, professional kidnappers and a behind-bars pregnancy in this sensational exposé.

D: Anders Riis-Hansen | Denmark | 2014 | 75 min | Canadian Premiere
The success and longevity of two of Europe’s greatest circus families hangs in the balance as their respective heirs fall for one another—but combining love and work may be their greatest challenge yet.

D: Camilla Nielsson | Denmark | 2014 | 109 min | Canadian Premiere
Can sworn political enemies work together for a common good? Follow Zimbabwe’s unlikely coalition government of reigning dictator Mugabe’s party and his opposition as they slyly maneuver and reluctantly negotiate to forge a new constitution.

D: John Zaritsky | Canada | 2014 | 86 min | Toronto Premiere
Oscar-winning director John Zaritsky celebrates eccentrics in this light-hearted but affectionate look at non-conformists—from a Utah cave dweller who hasn’t used money in 12 years to a beloved Vancouver psychic often seen with her pet duck in a buggy.

D: Kim Longinotto | UK | 2015 | 98 min | Canadian Premiere
Directing Award: World Cinema Documentary, Sundance 2015
My Generation Award, Zagreb Dox 2015
Acclaimed filmmaker Kim Longinotto crafts a deeply moving portrait of a former teenage prostitute who fought her way off the streets to become an unstoppable force for change in the lives of Chicago’s at-risk women.

D: Tonje Hessen Schei | Norway | 2014 | 78 min | Canadian Premiere
Checkpoints Award, Bergen International Film Festival 2014
Best Norwegian Documentary, Bergen International Film Festival 2014
A penetrating investigation into the war on terror’s defining weapon—the armed drone—featuring incisive analysis from pilots, military experts and powerless bystanders who live in fear of becoming the collateral damage of this high-tech weaponry.

D: Tom Roberts | UAE, Pakistan | 2015 | 82 min | Canadian Premiere
Caught in the crosshairs of violence and politics, healthcare workers are everyday heroes as they struggle to protect children from polio in Pakistan—the epicentre for this crippling disease that has once again become a global threat.

D: Jerry Rothwell | UK, Canada | 2015 | 112 min | Canadian Premiere
World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award: Editing, Sundance 2015
In the early 1970s, a group of young Canadians combined forces to create Greenpeace. Using interviews and previously unseen footage, this is the story of a group of friends who set out to change the world.

D: Brett Morgen | USA | 2015 | 132 min | Canadian Premiere
In this first fully authorized cinematic portrait of music legend Kurt Cobain, never-before-seen home movies, striking animation and interviews with those who knew him best take us into the life and mind of an icon.

D: Barry Avrich | Canada, USA | 2005 | 110 min | Anniversary Screening
To celebrate 10 years since its release, a special screening of Barry Avrich’s The Last Mogul allows audiences to revisit this portrait of one of the most powerful men in show business: Lew Wasserman.

D: Jennie Livingston | USA | 1990 | 71 min | Anniversary Screening
Electrifying audiences with a window into the fierce—and fiercely competitive—world of the 1980s New York black and Latino LGBT ball scene, this paradigm-shifting classic is as audacious and profound as the day it was released 25 years ago.

D: Lyric R. Cabral, David Felix Sutcliffe | USA | 2014 | 93 min | International Premiere
US Documentary Special Jury Award: Break Out First Feature, Sundance 2015
This Sundance award winner exposes the shocking practices and murky justifications driving FBI counterterrorism investigations by following an informant who provides full access on the trail of a new suspect.

D: Matthias Bittner | Germany | 2014 | 89 min | North American Premiere
How did one refugee in Germany become the US government’s justification for the 2003 Iraq invasion? The unrepentant Iraqi “engineer”—the lone source of weapons of mass destruction misinformation—finally reveals how the war based on his lie truly began.

D: Michael Beach Nichols, Christopher K. Walker | USA | 2015 | 86 min | International Premiere
A real-life horror story unfolds in the near-deserted town of Leith, North Dakota, when a dangerous white supremacist attempts to buy up land in a plot to establish a community of neo-Nazis.

D: Bill Ross IV, Turner Ross | USA, Mexico | 2014 | 93 min | International Premiere
US Documentary Special Jury Award: Verite Filmmaking, Sundance 2015
As a cowboy and a lawman navigate their rapidly changing hometowns and an ever-growing divide, Western paints a stunning and subtle portrait of two towns straddling the US-Mexico border that previously existed in harmony.

Please visit www.hotdocs.ca for more info.