Hot Docs Announces Festival Line-up

Joy of Man's Desiring
Hot Docs announced the complete line-up for the 2014 edition of the festival today.  This year’s festival features 197 documentaries from 43 countries. Brian Knappenberger’s The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz was announced as the opening night selection for Hot Docs 2014. The screening marks the film’s international premiere. Star Trek actor and meme king George Takei joins the Scotiabank Big Ideas series for a chat following Being Takei. The must-see screening of the festival, though, might be a retrospective screening of Harlan County USA  with director Barbara Kopple in attendance for an in-depth conversation. Doc fans will not want to miss that event!

Today’s programming announcement includes 24 homegrown feature films that will screen at Hot Docs ’14 as part of the Canadian Spectrum. These films by Canadian directors tell stories both local and global. Canadian Spectrum sees filmmakers sharing stories from around the world and from their own backyard. Notable Canuck entries include Denis Côté’s Joy of Man’s Desiring, which marks the director’s return to documentary after 2012’s Bestiaire, and John Kastner’s Out of Mind, Out of Sight, which brings the director back to the Brockville Mental Health Centre to continue the exploration of mental illness that began in last year’s festival hit NCR: Not Criminally Responsible. Kastner's film is one of seven NFB films screening at the festival. The National Film Board of Canada, a Hot Docs staple, also brings Julia Kwan's Everything Will Be Fine, which will have its World Premiere at the festival and screens in the Canadian Spectrum. The Canadian Spectrum also includes a healthy roster of short films, while more shorts—Canadian and international—screen elsewhere in the programme.With a list as intriguing as the one below, one could easily enjoy Hot Docs on CanCon alone!

The Canadian films at the festival are:


The Backward Class
D: Madeleine Grant | Canada | 2014 | 91 min | World Premiere
Intent on breaking out of the cycle of poverty, the Dalit students of Shanti Bhavan school in India prepare to make history by becoming the first from their “untouchable” caste to take high-school graduation exams.

Before the Last Curtain Falls
D: Thomas Wallner | Germany, Belgium | 2014 | 86 min | World Premiere
Stunning cinematography and soaring music unite the tumultuous off-stage lives of six aging Belgian transvestite and transsexual performers with scenes from their European ballet Gardenia into a profoundly human portrait of love—and a masterpiece of documentary art and contemporary dance cinema.

The Boy from Geita
D: Vic Sarin | Canada | 2014 | 79 min | World Premiere
A young Tanzanian boy with albinism survives a brutal attempt to steal his body parts; witch doctors claim a potion made from them will bestow good fortune. The promise of surgery in Canada offers him hope.

David & Me
D: Ray Klonsky, Marc Lamy | Canada | 2014 | 69 min | World Premiere
In 1985, a Brooklyn teen is convicted of pre-meditated murder based on questionable testimonies. A tenacious filmmaker has taken up his cause, presenting compelling new evidence aimed at freeing him after 28 years of incarceration.

A Dress Rehearsal for an Execution
D: Bahman Tavoosi | Canada | 2013 | 60 min | Toronto Premiere
Jahangir Razmi’s Pulitzer Prize-winning photo of political prisoner executions in post-revolution Iran was so powerful, he hid his identity for 27 years to avoid life-threatening repercussions. His reemergence prompts an Iranian-Canadian artist to recreate the photo using actors.
Screening with Gun Porn
D: Brahm Rosensweig | Canada | 2013 | 10 min | World Premiere

Everything Will Be
D: Julia Kwan | Canada | 2014 | 86 min | World Premiere
Vancouver’s once-thriving Chinatown is disappearing as hip new ventures move into vacant storefronts to the astonishment of the many elderly denizens. Sundance award-winning director Julia Kwan crafts a heartwarming and cinematically stunning ode to a community in transition.

D: Jean-François Caissy | Canada | 2014 | 76 min | North American Premiere
From the tense confines of the principal’s office to the lawless outdoors, a series of tableaux illustrates defining teen moments and the daily trials of adolescents at a rural Quebec secondary school.
Screening with Jutra
D: Marie-Josée St-Pierre | Canada | 2014 | 13 min | Toronto Premiere

I’ve Seen the Unicorn
D: Vincent Toi | Canada | 2014 | 61 min | World Premiere
On the tiny island nation of Mauritius, a determined young fisherman sets his eye on becoming a champion jockey in a legendary horse-racing event that’s an evocative reminder of the country’s colonial past.
Screening with Flor de Toloache
D: Jenny Schweitzer | USA, Canada | 2014 | 4 min | Canadian Premiere

Joy of Man’s Desiring
D: Denis Côté | Canada | 2014 | 70 min | Toronto Premiere
From machinists to garment makers, this cinematic essay captures the energies and rituals of labour that relies on routine and repetition. Director Denis Côté is a master craftsman in this philosophical study of our need to work.

Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story
D: Grant Baldwin | Canada | 2014 | 75 min | World Premiere
If our culture is so food obsessed, why do we toss away nearly 50 per cent of it? Two filmmakers quit grocery shopping, surviving on discarded food as they explore consumable waste from farm to fridge.
Screening with 米花糕 (Or the Chinese Rice Krispie Square)
D: Xavier-Justin Nagy | Canada | 2013 | 5 min | World Premiere

Kung Fu Elliot
D: Matthew Bauckman, Jaret Belliveau | Canada | 2013 | 91 min | Canadian Premiere
Elliot “White Lightning” Scott wants to become Canada’s first action hero by starring in his own low-budget karate epic, BLOOD FIGHT. This Slamdance award-winning documentary follows Scott’s production as he realizes his dreams “by any means necessary.”
Screening with Will the Real Dave Barber Please Stand Up?
D: Dave Barber | Canada | 2014 | 4 min | Toronto Premiere

D: Tony Girardin | Canada | 2014 | 90 min | World Premiere
Giuseppe Marinoni is Canada’s most revered bicycle craftsman. At 75, he still builds bikes, tends his chickens and forages for mushrooms. He’s also attempting a world cycling record, even if it kills him.
Screening with Hart
D: Nicolas-Alexandre Tremblay, Coussot Regis | Canada | 2014 | 11 min | World Premiere

Out of Mind, Out of Sight
D: John Kastner | Canada | 2014 | 88 min | World Premiere
With unprecedented access, multiple Emmy award-winner John Kastner returns to the Brockville Mental Health Centre to capture patients struggling for control of their lives in the face of a society that fears and demonizes them for their violent acts.

The Secret Trial 5
D: Amar Wala | Canada | 2014 | 84 min | World Premiere
The film tells the shocking story of Canada’s security certificates, an unusual policy mechanism used to imprison five Muslim men without charge for nearly 30 years combined, while the evidence against them remains secret.

Self(Less) Portrait
D: Danic Champoux | Canada | 2014 | 98 min | Toronto Premiere
In an era when social media is redrawing the boundaries between private and public, 50 people reveal their most intimate thoughts to camera in this funny and inventive montage exploring the diversity of human existence.

Slums: Cities of Tomorrow
D: Jean-Nicolas Orhon | Canada | 2013 | 81 min | Toronto Premiere
Challenging conventional thinking, first-person stories from slum dwellers on four continents and brilliant analysis by such critics as Robert Neuwirth make the case that slums—home to a billion people worldwide—are the solution and not the problem.

The Sower
D: Julie Perron | Canada | 2013 | 77 min | Toronto Premiere
Driven to safeguard rare and forgotten vegetable varieties for the sake of biodiversity, Patrice Fortier works with painstaking perseverance to create a remarkable seed company based in rural Quebec.

The Theory of Happiness
D: Gregory Gan | Canada | 2014 | 82 min | World Premiere
Deep in the Ukrainian countryside, a small but passionate commune attempts to discover a recipe for happiness through mathematical formulas and political poetry. Will their utopian dreams turn into a veritable nightmare?


Super Duper Alice Cooper
D: Reginald Harkema, Scot McFadyen, Sam Dunn | Canada | 2014 | 86 min | Canadian Premiere
Alice Cooper’s onstage encounter with a chicken in Toronto in 1969 catapulted him from rock star to rock legend. This dizzying blend of archive materials and rock opera follows the evolution of a preacher’s son to glam metal godfather

-The Iron Sheik was announced during a previous release.


Leave Them Laughing
D: John Zaritsky | Canada, USA | 2009 | 90 min
Diagnosed with ALS, Carla Zilbersmith, a 46-year-old writer, singer, performer and wickedly funny smart-ass is determined to embrace every single moment of the short time she has left.

Romeo and Juliet in Sarejevo
D: John Zaritsky | Canada | 1994 | 90 min
A poignant and powerful documentary about the interlocking destinies of two young lovers shot down amidst the carnage of besieged Sarajevo. The conflict which convulsed Bosnia in the 1990s comes into focus through their story. Presented with the Toronto Public Library as part of the Keep Toronto Reading Festival 2014.

Ski Bums
D: John Zaritsky | Canada | 2002 | 76 min
Looking beyond the sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll clichés, Ski Bums explores the seductive power of a life devoted to the mountains through a group of extreme skiers and snowboarders in Whistler, B.C.

The Wild Horse Redemption
D: John Zaritsky | Canada | 2007 | 91 min
At a prison in the high desert foothills of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, some inmates volunteer to spend 90 days taming wild horses, providing therapeutic rehabilitation for both prisoners and mustangs.


D: Carole Laganière | Canada | 2013 | 75 min | Toronto Premiere
As her mother gradually succumbs to Alzheimer’s, two-time Hot Docs award-winner Carole Laganière weaves her own experience of separation with three other deeply personal stories in this elegant exploration of absence and loss.
Screening with Sunday, We’ll See
D: Sophie B. Jacques | Canada | 2013 | 19 min | Toronto Premiere

Judgement in Hungary
D: Eszter Hajdu | Canada, Germany, Portugal, Hungary, Switzerland, Israel, Netherlands, UK, USA, France | 2013 | 107 min | North American Premiere
This tense, sobering courtroom saga, following the two-year trial of four men accused of murderous attacks on the Roma community in a Hungarian town, reveals systemic corruption, negligence and apathy.

Khrushchev does America
D: Tim Toidze | France, USA, Canada | 2013 | 59 min | North American Premiere
At the peak of the Cold War, a surreal and unbelievably fleeting love affair developed between Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and the American public. This pre-Glasnost road movie is a kaleidoscopic collage of archival footage and Khrushchev’s voice recordings.
Screening with with Controversies    
D: Ryan McKenna | Canada | 2014 | 17 min | Toronto Premiere

My Place
D: Emmanuel Moonchil Park | Canada, South Korea | 2013 | 77 min | International Premiere
Tensions arise when the director’s sister decides to become a single mom in Canada. Far from South Korea where her more traditional parents live, the family is forced to straddle two worlds in order to raise the child.
Screening with Chevette 83
D: D: Luis Oliva | Canada | 2013 | 4 min | Toronto Premiere

Jesse McCracken | Canada | 2013 | 8 min | World Premiere
Screening with The Homestretch
D: Anne de Mare, Kirsten Kelly | USA | 2014 | 90 min | World Premiere
Three exceptional teens engage in a high-stakes fight to stay in school while facing the incredible obstacle of being homeless. Struggling with abandonment, isolation and instability, can they build the future they dream of?

Where I’m From
D: Claude Demers | Canada | 2014 | 78 min | North American Premiere
Two boys discover their world between the magical banks of the Saint Lawrence River and the working class streets of Verdun. Clothing the hard knocks of poverty in memories of adventure, the film renders childhood trauma into cinematic poetry.
Screening with Christmas with Don Cherry
D: Wade Vroom | Canada | 2014 | 13 min | World Premiere

The World of Adrien
D: Katerine Giguère | Canada | 2013 | 11 min | Toronto Premiere
Screening with Bintou
D: Simone Catharina Gaul | Germany | 2014 | 64 min | North American Premiere
An enterprising young dressmaker from Burkina Faso yearns to show on Paris runways. But while catering to white ex-pat clients, her emotional past threatens her glamorous dreams in this insightful portrait of a modern African working woman.


Come Worry with Us!
D: Helene Klodawsky | Canada | 2013 | 81 min | Toronto Premiere
Can band members rock out on stage one minute and change diapers the next? Jessica and Efrim take their baby on a North American tour with Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra to find out if musicians—especially moms—can have it all.
Screening with Things Change
D: Martine Asselin | Canada | 2014 | 3 min | Toronto Premiere

D: Dennis Mohr | Canada | 2014 | 52 min | World Premiere
What do Justin Bieber, Rob Ford and Conrad Black have in common? They all have cameos in this smart and fascinating investigation into how mug shots, originally intended to keep track of criminals, have been repurposed as art and historical evidence.
Screening with Love Ya
: Jessica Pronk, Chris Altorf | Canada | 2013 | 19 min | World Premiere
*For screenings at the Isabel Bader Theatre (Apr. 28 & 29), audiences are invited before and after the film to view an on-site exhibit of original vintage mug shots, presented in collaboration with the Stephen Bulger Gallery.

You Won’t Regret That Tattoo
D: Angie Bird | Canada | 2013 | 13 min | World Premiere
Screening with Advanced Style
D: Lina Plioplyte | USA | 2014 | 72 min | World Premiere
Seven of New York’s most stylish elderly women are profiled in this invigorating portrait about the intersection of aging and beauty, based on the popular blog by renowned fashion photographer Ari Seth Cohen.


Beyond Clueless
D: Charlie Lyne | UK, Canada | 2014 | 91 min | Canadian Premiere
This surprising and comprehensive visual essay on the modern teen movie genre explores over 200 films from The Craft to Mean Girls that celebrate prom queens, cafeteria cliques and the warm apple pies in between.
All synopses courtesy Hot Docs.

Please visit www.hotdocs.ca for full line-up and show times.
Hot Docs runs April 24 - May 4, 2014.