By Peter Knegt | Indiewire March 24, 2009 at 2:30AM
The Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival announced its full film line up for its 16th edition, April 30-May 10, at a press conference this morning. From a record 1,948 film submissions, this year's program includes 171 titles from 39 countries. Thirty-six of these films will be receiving their world premieres.
"These are wild times," noted Sean Farnel, Hot Docs' director of programming, in a statement, "but as a reflection of the present, documentary continues to be a vibrant storytelling form, helping us to make sense of the world, even as it enlightens, entertains and empowers our audiences."
In addition to the previously announced Special Presentations titles, which include the opening night world premiere of Jennifer Baichwal's "Act of God," other films in the Special Presentations program include Kirby Dick's "Outrage," described by the fest as "a searing indictment of closeted American politicians who hypocritically campaign against the lesbian and gay community," Louie Psihoyos' "The Cove," a "passionate and gripping intervention to end Japan's dolphin slaughter," Gary Hustwit's "Objectified," which offers a "fascinating look our complex relationship with manufactured objects," and the Canadian premiere of Mercedes Stalenhoef's "Carmen Meets Borat," a "dark comedy about the Romanian villagers who were stunned to learn of their misrepresentation as Kazakhstani idiots in the 'Borat' film."
Additionally, three Canadian films will also be screened as Special Presentations: Kevin McMahon's "Waterlife," Larry Weinstein's "Inside Hana's Suitcase," and John Greyson's "Fig Trees."
In the competitive International Spectrum program, notable films include the world premiere of Mads Bruegger's "The Red Chapel," which "follows a Danish journalist and two comedians' provocative exploits in North Korea," the world premiere of Lucy Bailey and Andrew Thompson's "Mugabe and the White African," a look at "one white farmer's harrowing attempt to save his farm from the despotic ruler's controversial land reclamation policy," the world premiere of Mary Rosanne Katzke's "About Face The Story of Gwendellin Bradshaw," "about a young women who seeks to reunite with her mentally ill mother who disfigured her as a baby," the international premiere of Samantha Buck's "21 Below," a look at "the radically different life choices made by sisters in one middle class family," the international premiere of Eric Daniel Metzgar's "Reporter," which "follows Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof as he reports on the humanitarian crises in the Congo," the international premiere of Aron Gaudet's "The Way We Get By," a look "at three seniors who greet American troops returning from war," the North American premiere of Peter Liechti's "The Sound of Insects - Record of a Mummy," the "recreation of one man's solitary last days as he commits suicide from self-imposed starvation," the North American premiere of Fabienne Godet's "My Greatest Escape," "a character study of a career criminal known for his daring prison escapes," the North American premiere of Peter Kerekes' "Cooking History," in which "military cooks offer their unique perspectives on the 20th century's major conflicts," the Canadian premiere of Yoav Shamir's "Defamation," which "looks for modern manifestations of the 'oldest hatred'", and the Canadian premiere of Simone Bitton's "Rachel," which "investigates the death of a young peace activist in the Gaza Strip."
In the competitive Canadian Spectrum program, 10 feature-length films will be receiving their world premieres: Philip Lyall and Nimisha Mukerji's "65_RedRoses," Larry Young's "Ana and Arthur," Rosie Dransfeld's "Broke," Barry Greenwald and Alethea Arnaquq-Baril's "The Experimental Eskimos," Srinivas Krishna's "Ganesh: Boy Wonder,' Alan Zweig's "A Hard Name," Hubert Davis' "Invisible City," Albert Nerenberg's "Laughology," Alison Rose's "Love at the Starlite Motel," and Sarah Goodman's "When We Were Boys."
Other screening programs at this year's Festival include: World Showcase, a popular survey of compelling docs from around the globe; Made in South Korea, a revealing look at new work from this burgeoning doc centre; Next, docs on music, arts and the creative process; Let's Make Money, a look at the need and greed surrounding money.
Additionally, Hot Docs will present three retrospective programs: Focus on Ron Mann, a mid-career retrospective of the Toronto doc maverick; the Outstanding Achievement Award Retrospective, honouring the pioneering work of Canadian filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin; and the Spotlight on the NFB at 70, which features seminal NFB titles selected by special guest programmers.
Also a premier documentary conference and market, Hot Docs will be welcoming close to 2000 industry delegates who will partake in a wide array of industry events and services, including conferences sessions, receptions and parties, Rendezvous producer-commissioning meetings, The Doc Shop and the Toronto Documentary Forum, May 6-7.
Check out the full list of films here.