By Indiewire | Indiewire March 31, 2006 at 9:50AM
Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival announced that the North American premiere of Chema Rodriquez's film, "The Railroad All Stars" will open the festival, to run April 28-May 7 in Toronto. Hot Docs is one of North America's largest documentary festivals, and the 13th edition is set to screen 99 documentaries from 23 countries. Rodriquez's opening night film is about a group of prostitutes in Guatemala who try to raise public awareness of their plight by starting a female soccer team. It is a story about perseverance in the face of prejudice and ridicule.
The festival will feature a Canadian Spectrum to showcase the recent works of Canadian documentary cinema. The showcase, which includes 15 world premieres, will open with Academy Award-nominated director Larry Weinstein's "Mozartballs." The film was made in tribute to Mozart's 250th birthday, and celebrates the enduring power of the musician by exploring various characters whose lives have been shaped by his work. Other featured films in this category include: Jean-Daniel LaFond's "American Fugitive: The Truth About Hassan," about the criminal David Theodore Belfield who killed an Iranian diplomat and remains on the FBI's most wanted list; Jesse James Miller and Pete McCormack's "Uganda Rising," about the civil war that has been going on for two decades and has killed thousands of the Acholi people in Northern Uganda; and Greg Hamilton's "Mystic Ball," which looks at the game of Chinlone, the national sport of the Myanmar (Burma).
The festival's International Showcase will also feature a diverse array of filmmakers and cinematic themes. Andrew Neel and Luke Meyer's "Darkon" is set to run, and was a recent winner of the Audience Award for Best Documentary at this year's SXSW Fillm Festival. Other entries vary from Honi Hameagel's light-hearted documentary "Beach Boys" about a bunch of Israeli guys who spend most of their time bumming around the beach in Tel Aviv, to Dhruv Dhawan's serious film, "From Dust," which is set in Sri Lanka and chronicles two families as they try to rebuild their homes after the tsunami.
A number of special presentations were announced in addition to the festival lineup. They are: the North American premiere of Atom Egoyan's "Citadel"; and the international premier of "His Big White Self," a film from the UK by Nick Broomfield. Hot Docs will also screen several films that highlight worldwide activist efforts as part of their theme program--"Join Me! How to Start a Revolution." Other highlights include a tribute to Werner Herzog, who will receive Hot Doc's Career Achievement Award, and will participate in an onstage interview.
"An issue-orientated work with tremendous personality and emotion, 'The Railroad All-Stars' is the perfect film to carry the documentary flag into the festival," commented Sean Farnel, director of programming in a release. "We're sure it'll set the tone for a program of films..."
For more information on the films and special events, please visit the festival website.