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3/17/2015

Hot Docs Announces 2015 Line-up: Here's What's Playing on the Canadian Front


Martin Chartrand in Finding Macpherson.
Caroline Hayeur, courtesy of the NFB.

The docs are in! The docs are in! Hot Docs has announced the full line-up for the 2015 edition of the festival and it includes a whopping 210 films from 45 countries. The festival opens with the International Premiere of Tig by Kristina Goolsby and Ashley York (way to support female filmmakers, Hot Docs!), which chronicles comedian Tig Notaro, who made headlines in 2012 after she opened an act with the line, “Good evening, I have cancer” which went viral just as her life was heading into a tailspin. Other notable Hot Docs highlights include a conversation with filmmaker Frederick Wiseman (National Gallery) and the addition of a new “Screen on Screen” programme that offers docs about the filmmaking process. (How much does everyone want to see Chuck Norris Vs. Communism?)This series sounds like a great film buff’s side dish to the “Next” programme (my favourite at the fest) that highlights arts and entertainment and includes the latest film from 20 Feet from Stardom director Morgan Neville. Hot Docs 2015 also includes a strong Canadian front with films like OIAF winner Seth’sDominion and Sunday’s Jutra winner Finding Macpherson repping the local scene along with new docs from William D. MacGillivray and John Zaritsky. (Keep an eye on the upcoming Hot Docs issue of POV for coverage on Seth’s Dominion, Finding Macpherson and A Different Drummer!)

Newly announced Canadian films at the festival are:

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS


ATTACKING THE DEVIL: HAROLD EVANS AND THE LAST NAZI WAR CRIME
D: Jacqui Morris, David Morris | UK, Canada | 2014 | 100 min | International Premiere
Fiercely intelligent and principled, Sir Harold Evans, long-time editor of the Sunday Times, spearheaded such landmark public interest campaigns as redress for Thalidomide victims against entrenched pharmaceutical and political powers in his dogged pursuit of journalism that made a difference.

DANNY
D: Justin Simms, William D. MacGillivray | Canada | 2014 | 84 min | Toronto Premiere
This dynamic portrait laced with humour, political shenanigans and backroom anecdotes reveals the real Danny Williams, the charismatic premier who stared down two prime ministers and Big Oil to transform the fortunes of Newfoundland and Labrador.
*Scotiabank Big Ideas series

HOW TO CHANGE THE WORLD
D: Jerry Rothwell | UK, Canada | 2015 | 112 min | Canadian Premiere
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.

MAVIS!
D: Jessica Edwards | Canada, USA | 2015 | 85 min | International Premiere
Music legends and civil rights icons Mavis Staples and the Staples Singers shine in this powerful film rich with six decades of glorious songs and wonderful stories from the star herself, alongside Bonnie Raitt, Bob Dylan and more.

MUSIC LESSONS
D: Michael Mabbott | Canada | 2015 | 20 min | World Premiere
Go behind the scenes with the inspiring children and music teachers at Sistema Toronto and see firsthand how this international movement employs ensemble-based music to build community, confidence and a next generation of talent.
To be followed by a live performance by the Sistema Toronto Yorkwoods Orchestra and a special in-conversation session.

TOM SWIFT AND HIS ELECTRIC RIFLE
D: Nick Berardini | USA, Canada | 2015 | 93 min | International Premiere
This investigative look at the allegedly “non-lethal” TASER gun shows how their initial promise as a safer alternate weapon for law enforcement has proven complicated—even fatal.

CANADIAN SPECTRUM


ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD
D: Suzanne Crocker | Canada | 2014 | 87 min | Toronto Premiere
A family disconnects with the modern world to reconnect with each other by relocating to an isolated cabin in the remote Canadian North—spending nine winter months without electricity, running water or a trace of technology.

THE AMINA PROFILE
D: Sophie Deraspe | Canada | 2015 | 85 min | Toronto Premiere
Lesbian eroticism, the Arab Spring and a suspicious abduction turn an online love affair between a Montreal woman and the writer of the popular blog A Gay Girl in Damascus into an international thriller about identity.

CHAMELEON
D: Ryan Mullins | Canada | 2014 | 78 min | Canadian Premiere
A Ghanaian investigative journalist with a dash of James Bond rises to become a national hero as he slips into disguise undercover to expose corruption and injustice while on a relentless campaign of “naming, shaming and jailing” criminals.

Screening with A DAY AT SCHOOL
D: Victor Ghizaru, Mikael Platon | Canada | 2014 | 7 min | Canadian Premiere

DEPROGRAMMED
D: Mia Donovan | Canada | 2015 | 90 min | World Premiere
Anti-cult crusader Ted Patrick’s controversial deprogramming techniques spurred an underground movement that spanned decades until halted by lawsuits and felony convictions for kidnapping and imprisonment. Years later, his subjects speak to the true cost of their ‘emancipation.’

FINDING MACPHERSON
D: Serge Giguère | Canada | 2014 | 77 min | Toronto Premiere
Gorgeously hand-painted sequences from her films illuminate a black Montreal artist’s magical 10-year search across continents to discover the true identity of a black lumberjack mentioned in a popular Quebec song.

FRACTURED LAND
D: Damien Gillis, Fiona Rayher | Canada | 2015 | 78 min | World Premiere
With some of the world’s largest fracking operations on his territory, a young Indigenous leader and lawyer confronts the fractures within his community and himself as he struggles to reconcile traditional teachings with the law to protect the land.
Screening with THE WOLVERINE: THE FIGHT OF THE JAMES BAY CREE
D: Ernest Webb | Canada | 2014 | 9 min | Toronto Premiere

HAIDA GWAII: ON THE EDGE OF THE WORLD
D: Charles Wilkinson | Canada | 2015 | 75 min | World Premiere
The team behind Oil Sands Karaoke captures the stunning beauty of Haida Gwaii, where Aboriginal rights activists, newcomer ecologists and quirky islanders unite to create a sustainable and healing community—now at risk from a proposed oil tanker route.

JESUS TOWN USA
D: Julian Pinder, Billie Mintz | Canada, USA | 2014 | 80 min | International Premiere
In this cinematically stylish comedy, the Wichita foothills stand in for Jerusalem as a small Christian community that has re-enacted Christ’s Passion for 88 years grapples with the news that the paperboy playing Jesus is a Buddhist.
Screening with THE LITTLE DEPUTY
D: Trevor Anderson | Canada | 2015 | 9 min | Toronto Premiere

LOWDOWN TRACKS
D: Shelley Saywell | Canada | 2015 | 86 min | World Premiere
Passion, talent and tragedy combine in the performances of five transient musicians who busk for change on Toronto’s streets. Their songs of survival and stories of life on the margins deeply resonate, with help from The Parachute Club’s Lorraine Segato.

THE MESSENGER
D: Su Rynard | Canada, France | 2015 | 93 min | World Premiere
From Turkey’s Mount Ararat to the streets of New York, experts and enthusiasts raise the alarm over the disappearance of populations of glorious songbirds—humanity’s canary in the coalmine signalling ever-worsening environmental devastation.

MOM AND ME
D: Lena Macdonald | Canada | 2014 | 58 min | World Premiere
In this deeply personal film, the director delves into her complicated relationship with her mother, following her painful journey through addiction, prostitution and homelessness on the streets of Toronto, and ultimately shapes a moving testament to love and hope.

NO PLACE TO HIDE: THE REHTAEH PARSONS STORY
D: Rama Rau | Canada | 2015 | 47 min | World Premiere
Those closest to Rehtaeh Parsons, the Canadian teenager whose suicide due to cyber-bullying shocked the world, recall her brief life, exposing the systems that failed her and the public outcry, led by Anonymous, for justice.
Screening with SURVIVORS ROWE
D: Daniel Roher | Canada | 2015 | 29 min | World Premiere

NUESTRO MONTE LUNA
D: Pablo Alvarez-Mesa | Canada, Colombia | 2015 | 96 min | World Premiere
The deadly risks faced by teenaged matadors-in-training are overshadowed by the threats to their livelihood when the controversial sport of bullfighting, and the values and traditions at its heart, is challenged in Colombia.

PINOCCHIO
D: André-Line Beauparlant | Canada | 2015 | 75 min | World Premiere
The director’s con-artist brother sits imprisoned in Brazil, facing deportation to Canada. He’s an elusive world traveller, a skilled liar and manipulator, both charming and charismatic. How do you trust someone who feels no obligation to truth?
Screening with JULIO
D: Eui Yong Zong | Canada | 2014 | 5 min | World Premiere

THE SANDWICH NAZI
D: Lewis Bennett | Canada | 2015 | 72 min | Canadian Premiere
Deli owner Salam Kahil is an art collector, former male escort, amateur musician and sandwich maker to the homeless in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside who delights in shocking his customers with outrageously lewd stories.
Screening with POP-UP PORNO: M4M
D: Stephen Dunn | Canada | 2015 | 3 min | Canadian Premiere

SPEED SISTERS
D: Amber Fares | Palestine, USA, Qatar, Denmark, UK, Canada | 2015 | 80 min | International Premiere
Bold and fearless, the first all-female car racing team in the Middle East is burning rubber and tearing up tracks all over Palestine as they defy the odds and shatter stereotypes of Arab women.
Screening with HELL RUNS ON GASOLINE!
D: Martin Bureau | Canada | 2015 | 9 min | Toronto Premiere

SUGAR COATED
D: Michèle Hozer | Canada | 2015 | 85 min | World Premiere
As obesity rates skyrocket and doctors treat the first generation of children suffering from fatty liver disease, the sugar industry has adopted the Big Tobacco playbook to sow confusion and doubt—and keep its profits sweet.

TRANSATLANTIC
D: Felix Dufour-Laperrière | Canada | 2014 | 72 min | Toronto Premiere
Thirty days at sea showcases powerful rolling Atlantic swells in breathtaking black-and-white as a crew commands a cargo ship between continents. The ocean’s vastness and immense power contrasts the routine duties of modern seafarers in this cinematic meditation.
Screening with NAN LAKOU KANAVAL
D: Kaveh Nabatian | Canada | 2014 | 8 min | Toronto Premiere

SCREEN ON SCREEN


LANZMANN
D: Adam Benzine | UK, Canada | 2015 | 40 min | World Premiere
On the eve of its 30th anniversary, the filmmaker behind landmark Holocaust documentary Shoah reflects on suicidal thoughts, death threats, political pressure and even a severe beating endured to fulfill creation of his 10-hour masterpiece.

CAROLE LAGANIÈRE RETROSPECTIVE


EAST END KIDS
D: Carole Laganière | Canada | 2004 | 52 min
In this Hot Docs award winner, Laganière revisits the low-income neighbourhood of her youth and arms young people with cameras to document their lives and reveal their hopes for their future.
Screening with EAST END FOREVER
D: Carole Laganière | Canada | 2011 | 80 min
Eight years after East End Kids, Laganière catches up with its subjects to recollect the dreams they once shared onscreen and to trace to unexpected paths their lives have taken.

THE FIANCEE OF LIFE
D: Carole Laganière | Canada | 2001 | 52 min
With a delicate touch, Laganière bravely provides a space for children who have lost a parent or sibling to speak honestly, and often profoundly, on their feelings about death.

THE MOON AND THE VIOLIN
D: Carole Laganière | Canada | 2003 | 65 min
There’s no business like show business in this award-winning film about a retirement community for artists. Often funny, sometimes bittersweet, the residents reflect on their successes, failures and lives lived with creativity and passion.

SOME FAREWELLS
D: Carole Laganière | Canada, Argentina | 2014 | 63 min | Toronto Premiere
In a small Quebec hospital, patients smoke cigarettes, sleep under the stars and reap the benefits of a novel approach to palliative care that treats the facility like a home and the patients like family.

WORLD SHOWCASE


THE CREATION OF MEANING
D: Simone Rapisarda Casanova | Canada, Italy | 2014 | 90 min | Toronto Premiere
Once the scene of a devastating World War II massacre, the breathtaking Tuscan Alps are now home to a shepherd whose pastoral life is made precarious by money troubles. But time and meaning can blur at high altitudes, as this unhurried study shows.

HADWIN’S JUDGEMENT
D: Sasha Snow | Canada, UK | 2014 | 87 min | World Premiere
In 1997, Grant Hadwin cut down The Golden Spruce, a unique 300-year-old tree that was both sacred and scientifically remarkable, in a desperately audacious sounding of the alarm to save BC’s rainforest; instead, it brought sorrow and despair.

LAST OF THE ELEPHANT MEN
D: Arnaud Bouquet, Daniel Ferguson | Canada, France | 2014 | 90 min | Toronto Premiere
From the awe-inspiring temples of Angkor to the bustling streets of Phnom Penh, three generations of indigenous Bunong elephant owners struggle against industrial development to save these magnificent creatures at the heart of their own and their people’s identity.

NEXT


SETH’S DOMINION
D: Luc Chamberland | Canada | 2014 | 42 min | Toronto Premiere
Made over eight years, this award-winning trip into the imagination of Canadian cartoonist dubbed “Seth” combines animation and stylized live action to imitate the artist’s comic book aesthetic.
Screening with I THOUGHT I TOLD YOU TO SHUT UP!!
D: Charlie Tyrell | Canada | 2015 | 13 min | Canadian Premiere

STAY AWHILE
D: Jessica Edwards | Canada | 2014 | 71 min | Toronto Premiere
One of Canada’s first-ever musical sensations to crack the American market, 70s pop group The Bells is the focus of this intimate and loving portrait, directed by the daughter of two of its lead vocalists.
Screening with HOME COOKED MUSIC
D: Mike Maryniuk | Canada | 2014 | 10 min | Toronto Premiere

REDUX


PLEASANT STREET
D: Gerry Rogers | Canada | 2004 | 60 min
In picturesque St John’s, Newfoundland, three friends are forced to face their mortality when they are diagnosed with cancer. This award-winning firsthand work from the director behind My Left Breast chronicles their funny, gut-wrenching and inspiring stories.

Please visit www.hotdocs.ca for the full line-up.
Hot Docs runs April 23 – May 3.