“This is a big year for Hot Docs. With a new cinema we are committing more so than ever to documentary film as a force to be reckoned with,” said Hot Docs director of programming Charlotte Cook, embarking on her first year in the position. “With the largest country representation the Festival has ever had, we will be hearing many new voices from all over the world. It’s wonderful to be able to bring such a great range of films to Toronto audiences, to champion documentary in a city that truly supports documentary as an art form.”
The festival will open with the Canadian premiere of Alison Klayman's Sundance hit "Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry," which will screen in the special presentations program alongside festival favorites like Bart Layton's "The Imposyer," Lauren Greenfield's "The Queen of Versailles," Kevin Macdonald's "Marley," James Swirsky and Lisanne Pajot's "Indie Game: The Movie" and Christian Bonke and Andreas Koefoed's "Ballroom Dancer."
In the competitive Canadian Spectrum program, notable films include Christy Garland’s "The Bastard Sings The Sweetest Song," the story of a tumultuous mother-son relationship in Guyana; Omar Majeed and Ryan Mullins’ "The Frog Princes," the story of a developmentally challenged theatre group’s struggle to mount an ambitious production; Angad Singh Bhalla’s "Herman's House," a trip through the years with jailed Black Panther activist Herman Wallace; and Jonah Bekhor and Zach Math’s "The Final Member", which looks at Iceland’s penis museum’s search for a critical artifact.
In the competitive International Spectrum program, notable films include: Bill Ross and Turner Ross’ "Tchoupitoulas," the adventures of three teenagers exploring the heart of New Orleans at night; Ra'anan Alexandrowicz’s "The Law In These Parts," a candid glimpse into the legal minds behind the rules and regulations governing the Occupied Territories; Elizabeth Mims and Jason Tippet’s "Only The Young," a look at a last stolen summer of first loves; and Sean McAllister’s "The Reluctant Revolutionary," a portrait of a tour guide caught in the 2011 uprising in Yemen’s capital.
The Nightvision program includes: Chris James Thompson’s "Jeff," a biography of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer; Mary Kerr’s "Radioman," the story of Radioman, a fixture in the NYC film scene; and James Franco and Ian Olds’ "Francophrenia," a wild behind-the-scenes doc with James Franco on General Hospital.
Additionally, Hot Docs is pleased to present two retrospective programs: Focus On John Kastner, a mid-career retrospective of the Emmy Award-winning director’s work; and the Outstanding Achievement Award Retrospective, honouring the influential work of masterful Québécois filmmaker Michel Brault.
For a list of the entire Hot Docs lineup, check out the festival's website.