Festivals: Hot Docs

Friday One Sheet: A BROKEN HOUSE

New key art from Akiko Stehrenberger is always a thing to celebrate; here for Jimmy Goldblum's short documentary, A Broken House (Hiraeth). A Syrian Architecture student in the United States, who smashed his own models meticulously handmade of his Damascus...

Friday One Sheet: ALL LIGHT, EVERYWHERE

You may not guess that this week's poster is for a documentary on police body cameras.  It is striking,  nonetheless.  The One Sheet resembles Mercury orbiting the sun (indeed, it could very well be a minimal poster art for Danny...

Hot Docs 2021 Review: MAU Designs Rules For Life

Watching the Bergman Brothers' wide-reaching, yet fleet documentary, Mau, on the life and career of Canadian super-star architect and designer Bruce Mau, I could not help but think of the final scene of Shaolin Soccer. After having won the big...

Hot Docs 2021 Review: WUHAN WUHAN Is An Engaging Display Of Empathy

Yung Chang's quietly effective documentary Wuhan Wuhan is both a time travelling machine and an empathy machine. Straddling the cinematic line between Frederick Wiseman and Robert Altman, high praise that is both obvious and merited, Chang's film takes us back to February...

Friday One Sheet: A Tale Of Two Surf Docs, BANGLA SURF GIRLS and NO SURF ON MARS

Today is a study of contrast in posters for surfing documentaries. The first, Bangla Surf Girls, is a study in blue and pink and pastel for a crowd pleasing story of three female teenagers from Bangladesh who trade domestic drudgery...

Hot Docs 2020 Review: THE WALRUS AND THE WHISTLEBLOWER, Attachment and Amusement

I doubt there is any Ontarian of a certain age who couldn't sing you the jingle for Marineland. The commercial was in regular rotation when I was growing up in Toronto: images of whales, walrus, deer, and other wildlife and...

Friday One Sheet: ONCE UPON A TIME IN VENEZUELA

The HotDocs film festival in Toronto opened yesterday, in its virtual edition, and it seems fitting to offer key art from a documentary. The poster for Once Upon A Time In Venezuela simply frames a still from the film, two...

Hot Docs 2020 Exclusive: Premiering The Trailer For DOPE IS DEATH, Fighting Heroin Addiction and The System in 1970s New York

Hot Docs Film Festival has gone digital this Spring in wake of the pandemic shaking most of the World to its knees. Starting on May 28th films can be screened online including the Canadian premiere of Mia Donovan`s Dope is...

Hot Docs 2019 Review: HONEYLAND Intertwines Humanity and Mother Earth in a Melancholy, Universal Story

We first meet Haditze walking precariously cliff-side to harvest a wild colony of bees. With the sun gorgeously settling in on the valley, she makes her way back to the isolated homestead she keeps with her infirm octogenarian mother. It...

Hot Docs 2019 Review: COLD CASE HAMMARSKJÖLD Is Hella-Good Storytelling

"This could either be the world's biggest murder mystery, or the world's most idiotic conspiracy theory." Two years before the JFK assassination, on the 18th of September 1961, the world was shocked by the suspicious death of the second serving...

Friday One Sheet: PUSH

Hot Docs is coming to Toronto, and what better way to celebrate that than with a documentary on the increasing urban-global housing crisis (of which several Canadian cities qualify). Fredrik Gertten's documentary examines the 'gentrification' issue in a variety of...

Hot Docs 2018 Review: THE RUSSIAN JOB Makes You Laugh on the Inside

How is this for an elevator pitch:  What if Roy Andersson directed Roger & Me? No pitch is necessary, because a collaboration between a Czech journalist, Petr Horký, and freelance photographer (and regular contributor to the New York Times) Milan...

Hot Docs 2018 Review: CERES Connects Children to the Land

With so much of the worlds population living in cities, where all the food comes from the grocery store, or some variant of urban market, immediate, highly proximate documentaries such as Janet Van den Bran's Ceres are essential. She follows...

Hot Docs 2018 Review: TUNGRUS, 15 Minutes of Tragicomic Absurdity

"If anybody wants to adopt a rooster, do your research, and as with all pets, be prepared for life to become hell." Tungrus examines the perils of pet ownership in a middle-class Mumbai flat, when a family adopts a 2...

Hot Docs 2018 Review: SHIRKERS, Weaponized Narcissism

Sandi Tan is the writer, director, narrator, and star of Shirkers, the documentary slash true crime story of her first film (also called Shirkers) which she made with her high school pals, and a mysterious American benefactor. The benefactor, named...

Hot Docs 2018 Review: DREAMING MURAKAMI, Found In Translation

The perfect sentence does not exist. Language is a way of thinking, but it is a boundary, not the infinite. Perhaps, there is a perfect thought. Or a perfect dream. There is very likely a perfect musical note. Language remains...

Friday One Sheet: 93QUEEN and THE RUSSIAN JOB

Hot Docs is currently happening in Toronto, and while researching what to see, and what to include in our previous Curtain Raiser post, I came across a few well designed posters for films at the fest. One publicist was kind...

Hot Docs 2018 Curtain Raiser: From M.I.A. To MeToo

North America's largest documentary film festival, Hot Docs, kicks off tomorrow with its 25th edition. And while the festival has always specialized in content focused on the margins of society and telling their stories, we are in the age of...

Hot Docs 2018: THE ARTIST & THE PERVERT, North American Trailer Debut

Our attention turns to the upcoming Hot Docs Film Festival here in Toronto in April. Of the many films that will raise eyebrows and questions the film The Artist & The Pervert by directors Beatrice Behn and René Gebhardt is...

Hot Docs 2018: Full Lineup Announced

Toronto's premiere documentary festival, and one one of the largest in the world, dropped its full lineup today, a month ahead of its opening night on April 26. Let it be known that the documentary world is keen and proactive. ...