Toronto’s own Hot Docs Film Festival has announced the addition of 14 documentary features that will screen as part of this year’s Special Presentations program. Per the festival, Special Presentations section “features a high-profile collection of world and international premieres, award winners from the recent international festival circuit and works by master filmmakers or featuring some star subjects.”
This year’s picks are rife with captivating subjects, from Bobby Sands to David Byrne, Brian De Palma to Mel Brooks. This portion of the slate also includes a number of award-winning docs, including Sundance winners “Sonita,” “Trapped” and “Life, Animated.”
The 2016 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival will run from April 28 – May 8 in Toronto. The complete Special Presentations program and the full selection of films set to screen at the fest, including the 2016 opening night film, will be announced on March 22.
Check out the new additions to the Special Presentation section below, with all synopses provided by Hot Docs.
“The Age of Conseqeunces”
D: Jared P. Scott | USA | 2016 | 78 min | World Premiere
Sounding an alarm over the critical and disturbing effects of societal inaction, this revealing film highlights the irreversible impacts of climate change—resource scarcity, mass migration and conflict—through the lens of global stability and national security.
D: Chris Smith | USA | 1999 | 107 min | Cinema Eye Legacy Screening
In this beloved cult classic, an aspiring filmmaker struggles to complete a hilariously lo-fi horror film, only to be derailed by personal demons and the staggering ineptitude of his production team.
“Bobby Sands: 66 Days”
D: Brendan Byrne | Ireland, UK | 2016 | 105 min | World Premiere
This riveting account of a turning point in the Troubles in Northern Ireland is taken straight from the diary of Bobby Sands, who led protests of imprisoned Irish Republicans and a hunger strike with momentous consequences.
D: Bill Ross IV, Turner Ross | USA | 2016 | 96 min | International Premiere
An extraordinary lineup of top music stars including event mastermind David Byrne of The Talking Heads, Nelly Furtado, St. Vincent and more perform live with 10 “colour guard” teams—perfectly synchronized students in pep-rally choreography—in this one-of-a-kind, kaleidoscopic event.
D: Noah Baumbach, Jake Paltrow | USA | 2015 | 107 min | Canadian Premiere
From “Carrie” to “Mission: Impossible” to “Scarface” and beyond, Brian de Palma has created some of cinema’s most iconic work. In this career-spanning, funny and candid conversation, he reveals his unique perspective on life, work and the past 50 years in film.
D: Clay Tweel | USA | 2016 | 110 min | International Premiere
At age 34, former NFL defensive back and New Orleans hero Steve Gleason was diagnosed with ALS. With limited time left to live, he purposefully records his spirited and inspiring life—a heartfelt time capsule for his newborn son.
“Hip Hop Evolution”
D: Darby Wheeler | Co-D: Scot McFadyen, Sam Dunn | Canada | 2016 | 90 min | World Premiere
Acclaimed Canadian rapper Shad travels to the Bronx and Harlem to talk with hip-hop’s originators and biggest stars—Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash among others—tracing its evolution from underground to global phenomenon.
“The Last Laugh”
D: Ferne Pearlstein | USA | 2016 | 85 min | International Premiere
Mel Brooks, Sarah Silverman, Carl Reiner, a 90-year-old Auschwitz survivor and others uproariously debate and test the limits of comedy’s ultimate taboo: how to joke about the Holocaust, or if it’s even ethical to try.
“The Legacy of Frida Kahlo”
D: Tadasuke Kotani | Japan | 2015 | 89 min | Canadian Premiere
A renowned Japanese photographer inventories iconic Mexican artist Frida Kahlo’s wardrobe and personal belongings, recently discovered 58 years after her death, lending deserved importance to fashion and “women’s work,” while resurrecting the dead through clothing and talismans.
D: Roger Ross Williams | USA | 2015 | 91 min | International Premiere
Disney cartoons play a key role in helping a young autistic boy communicate and understand the world around him in this moving testament to coming-of-age through fantasy, from Academy Award–winning director Roger Ross Williams.
D: Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami | Iran, Germany, Switzerland | 2015 | 90 min | Canadian Premiere
After her family attempts to sell her into marriage, a young Afghan refugee in Iran channels her frustrations and seizes her destiny through music. Grabbing the mic, she spits fiery rhymes in the face of oppressive traditions.
D: Jerry Rothwell, Reuben Atlas | USA, UK, France | 2016 | 86 min | World Premiere
Controversy erupts when an unassuming young man floods the American wine market with fake vintages valued in the millions, bamboozling the wine world elite, in this humorous and suspenseful tale of an ingenious con on the eve of the 2008 stock market crash.
D: Dawn Porter | USA | 2016 | 80 min | International Premiere
American women’s right to abortion is no longer clear, as 288 dubious laws slyly crafted by the right have decimated access. While a watershed Supreme Court battle looms, witness the human stakes of the right to choose.
“Under the Gun”
D: Stephanie Soechtig | USA | 2016 | 110 min | International Premiere
With razor-sharp arguments and insight, Stephanie Soechtig and Katie Couric (the team behind “Fed Up”) craft a gripping indictment of American gun culture, meeting communities shattered by shootings and exposing the politics that allow the epidemic of violence to persist.