It is hard to believe that we are only 10 days away from the start of Hot Docs, the largest documentary film festival in the world. Hot Docs has screened many award-winning and highly revered films over the years. Films such as The Cove, Inocente, Cutie and the Boxer, The Queen of Versailles, Senna, The Invisible War, The Imposter, Muscle Shoals, Beauty Day, Valentine Road, and Crash Reel have played the festival. Featuring 197 films from around the world, deciding which films to see at Hot Docs can be a daunting task. Fortunately, we are here to help! Here are 10 films that we cannot wait to see at the festival this year:
Patrice Fortier is an environmental steward like no other. Owner of his own seeding company, and part-time artist, Fortier devotes his time to safekeeping rare and forgotten vegetable varieties (e.g. 18th-century breed of turnips from France, a prized Polish rutabaga). Julie Perron’s film offers a unique look at a man who sees the beauty in every seed.
The Special Need
Enea, a 29 year-old Italian man with autism, wants a sexual relationship. Enlisting the help of two childhood friends, Carlo and Alex, Enea begins to learn the language of seduction and gain the confidence to ask women out on dates. However, after enduring numerous rejections, Enea must resort to unorthodox solutions.
Dutch physician Rebecca Gomperts and her crew exploit a maritime legal loophole to offer safe abortions to women around the world. With 47,000 women dying each year from unsafe and illegal abortions, Gomperts’ activist group, Women on Waves, will stop at nothing to provide them with the right to choose. Director Diana Whitten highlights how Grompert’s experiment evolved into an international movement.
Beyond Clueless takes a look at the post-John Hughes teen movie era. A time when Cher Horowitz was the ultimate fashion icon, Freddie Prinze, Jr. the ultimate dreamboat, and cafeteria seating arrangements were explicitly mapped out based on cliques. Gathering footage from over 200 of these films, Beyond Clueless weaves together a comprehensive visual essay exploring the tropes of this particular genre of films.
At age 50 and 60 respectively, biologists Aubrey de Grey and Bill Andrews are determined to reverse the aging process. Believing that finding a cure to mortality is the ultimate goal, Grey and Andrews debate scholars and skeptics who question the logic of their endeavor. Is immortality a real possibility or are the men crusaders who are simply in denial of their own fate?
Write Down, I Am an Arab
Palestinian filmmaker Ibtisam Mara’ana Menuhin latest work crafts a portrait of Mahmoud Darwish, considered by many to be the most influential writer in the Arab world. His writing inspired millions, shaped Palestinian identity and helped galvanize generations to their cause. Menuhin documents why the impact of Darwish’s words and life should never be forgotten.
Ukraine is Not a Brothel
The mandate of Ukraine topless feminist activist organization FEMEN is to fight against the world’s perception that Ukrainian women are brides to buy or commodities of sex tourism. Willing to do whatever it takes, even if it means going to jail, FEMEN creates controversy wherever they go. Director Kitty Green explores if FEMEN are strong women fighting the patriarchy left over from their Soviet past, or simply idealistic hypocrites whose naïve displays actually work against the cause they’re supposedly fighting for?
Mom and Me director Danic Champoux’s latest film finds 50 people revealing some of their most intimate thoughts. Openly baring their souls on screen, the film covers a multitude of subjects that range from funny to heartbreaking. Their candidness creates a diverse portrait of human existence.
Award-winning filmmakers Robert Nixon and Fisher Stevens, provide an intimate look at legendary oceanographer, marine biologist and botanist Dr. Sylvia Earle. Dedicating her life to exploring the world’s oceans, Earle helped to raise awareness of the urgent need for their conservation. The film documents Earle’s extraordinary life from her youth to her appointment as Chief Scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to her Mission Blue initiative.
Songs for Alexis
Ryan is an 18 year-old musician who is a bit of an icon in the transgender world (he began his transition from girl to boy four years earlier). However, the parents of his 16 year-old girlfriend, Alexis, disapprove of their relationship. Songs for Alexis is a coming-of-age tale that explores how two teenagers are forced to confront the harsh realities of the adult world.
Hot Docs runs from April 24th to May 4th , visit the festival’s website for the complete list of films and schedules. Stay tuned to Cinema Axis as we will have all things Hot Docs beginning April 24th.