Hot Docs 2014 Lineup Announced: From Pulp to Alice Cooper To Weddings to Zombies And Much More

Contributing Writer; Toronto, Canada (@triflic)
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Toronto's Hot Docs Festival is Canada's largest festival dedicated solely to documentaries. It is perhaps the world's largest too, for that matter. 

The festival organizers have announced the full film line-up for the upcoming 21st edition, which runs from April 24 to May 4. Hot Docs will be showing 197 shorts and features from 43 different countries in 12 programs, and a few of us locals have combed through the massive selection therein to offer a preview of sorts.

This year's festival is a little light on big-league documentary filmmaker names.  There is no Errol Morris, no James Marsh, no Jennifer Baichwal, Heidi Ewing or Rachel Grady (although there is stalwart, Joe Berlinger in the line-up.)  However, as per usual, the festival is long on interesting subjects from odd corners of the world, both in terms of niche cultural elements through to aggressive activism to a rock doc or three. Plus, they're screening Harlan County with Barbara Kopple in attendance, and providing value-added participants for a number of special screenings. Want to see George Takei outside of the nerd-convention hubbub? Hot Docs has you covered.

Below are a few selections of interest (from the opening night Gala, to the ever-unusual Midnight section) along with the festival descriptions (or in some cases, the Kickstarter campaign descriptions) to help you, perhaps, narrow things down a little if you plan on attending next month.

Along with the premieres, we are getting a slew of previously announced Canadian premieres of films that already hit Sundance, such as Joe Berlinger's Whitey or the Award winning Rich Hill. In terms of installations, the super interesting is Mugshot, which will be screened in conjunction with an art exhibit of numerous vintage mugshots.

Hot Docs has turned into quite the festival, and as always I look forward to being surprised by something I would never expect to enjoy.

THE INTERNET’S OWN BOY: THE STORY OF AARON SWARTZ

As a teenager, Aaron Swartz took the Internet community by storm with capabilities, intellect and understanding that matched its most seasoned members. He helped found or develop countless household-name technologies and companies in the time it takes most people finish college.

Aaron was a pioneer in Internet activism, and stood at the forefront of the SOPA and PIPA victories. He looked towards a limitless future—but his life took a dramatic turn. In 2011 and 2012, he was indicted by prosecutors who charged him with a staggering number of felonies. Aaron found himself facing 35 years in prison, and at the age of 26 was found dead in his apartment, from an apparent suicide. As we hear from those closest to Aaron, this incredibly inspirational and moving story shows how one of the most promising minds of a generation found himself staring down a government prosecuting him under the very laws he was fighting against.

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  • Jaguar Lives

    Toronto, I hate you right you now (no offence).

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