The Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, the largest festival for documentaries in North America, has unveiled its 2015 lineup.
Featuring 210 documentaries from around the world, this year’s slate boasts impressive variety. “This year’s festival takes us around the world, showcasing stories from 45 different countries and the best in Canadian filmmaking,” said Hot Docs director of programming Charlotte Cook. “Through even more live and interactive experiences we have more ways than ever for the audience to be a part of the festival. Bringing this exceptional work to Toronto is a huge honor and we can’t wait to join the filmmakers in sharing their work with our incredible audience.”
As a part of the Scotiabank Big Ideas Series, special guests will include comedian Tig Notaro, Major League Baseball player Billy Bean (subject of “Out to Win”) and more. Read on for highlights of the festival program below, separate by section.
“Tig,” directed by Kristina Goolsby and Ashley York. A testament to comedian Tig Notaro’s defiant spirit and incredible humour in the face of adversity (Opening Night selection).
“The Arms Drop,” directed by Andreas Koefoed. Follows a British arms dealer’s hunt for the MI5 agent who betrayed him.
“The Bolivian Case,” directed by Violeta Ayala. A sensational exposé about three teenage girls caught smuggling cocaine.
“Mavis!,” directed by Jessica Edwards. A powerful film rich with songs and stories from music legend and civil rights icon Mavis Staples.
“Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle,” directed by Nick Berardini. An investigative look at the allegedly non-lethal TASER gun.
“War of Lies,” directed by Matthias Bittner. A riveting account about the effects of misinformation about weapons of mass destruction.
“Western,” directed by Bill Ross IV and Turner Ross. A subtle portrait of the ever-growing divide between two towns straddling the US-Mexico border.
International Spectrum (Competitive)
“Blood Sisters,” directed by Malin Andersson. The story of twin sisters bound by trauma.
“The Closer We Get,” directed by Karen Guthrie. A sharply focused snapshot of strained family dynamics.
“Drawing the Tiger,” directed by Amy Benson and Scott Squire. A powerful portrait of a studious daughter carrying her family’s hopes for a brighter future.
“Stand By for Tape Back-Up,” directed by Ross Sutherland. A poetic and humorous meditation on memory and loss.
Canadian Spectrum (Competitive)
“Haidi Gwaii: On the Edge of the World,” directed by Charles Wilkinson. A look at a sustainable and healing community at risk from a proposed oil tanker route.
“Lowdown Tracks,” directed by Shelly Saywell. Tells the stories of five transient musicians on Toronto’s streets.
“The Messenger,” directed by Su Rynard. Highlights ever-worsening environmental devastation through the alarming disappearance of songbirds.
“No Place to Hide: The Rehtaeh Parsons Story,” directed by Rama Rau. An alarming account of the effects of cyber-bullying.
“Pinocchio,” directed by André-Line Beauparlant. A deeply personal portrait of the struggle to trust someone who feels no obligation to the truth.
“(Dis)Honesty: The Truth About Lies,” directed by Yael Melamede. A fascinating and insightful study on honesty.
“End of the World,” directed by Monika Pawluczuk. A revealing look at personal struggles as the Mayan doomsday prophecy looms in the night.
“Gayby Baby,” directed by Maya Newell. A moving and honest film about the lives of children of same-sex parents.
“Peace Officer,” directed by Scott Christopherson and Brad Barber. A timely investigation of the controversies behind recent police shootings and the militarization of American law enforcement.
“Southern Rites,” directed by Gillian Laub. A complex look at race relations and the true pace of progress in America.
Made In India
“English India,” directed by Spandan Banerjee. A look at a country coming to terms with its own identity as it shakes off the weight of its colonial past.
“A Sinner in Mecca,” directed by Parvez Sharma. A fascinating personal essay on a gay Muslim’s inner-most struggles.
“The Superstars of Koti,” directed by Anuj Adlakha and Farha Alam. A coming-of-age tale about three boys united as “chosen ones.”
Screen on Screen
“Original Copy,” directed by Florian Heinzen-Ziob and Georg Heinzen. A delightful ode to Mumbai’s last one-of-a-kind film poster painter.
“Raiders!,” directed by Jeremy Coon and Tim Skousen. The story of two friends painfully remaking “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”
“A Woman Like Me,” directed by Elizabeth Giamatti and Alex Sichel. A funny and moving documentary-drama hybrid about the filmmaker’s tumultuous journey with terminal cancer.
For the full Hot Docs 2015 lineup, visit the festival’s official website here.
READ MORE: Meet the 2015 SXSW Filmmakers #1: Alex Sichel and Elizabeth Giamatti Navigate a Terminal Illness in ‘A Woman Like Me’