what happened miss simone
What Happened, Miss Simone?

Today Hot Docs announced 10 documentary features that will screen in this year’s Special Presentations program, joining 17 selections previously announced. Special Presentations features a high-profile collection of world and international premieres, award winners from the recent international festival circuit and works by master filmmakers or featuring some star subjects.

Musical stories abound with portraits of icons Nina Simone and Mavis Staples, and looks at the Netherlands’ prestigious Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra on tour and at the young members of Toronto’s own Sistema Toronto Yorkwoods Orchestra. Delve into the world of foodies, explore the controversies surrounding nuclear power in the heart of the U.S., witness Earth like never before, and discover the harsh truths behind a weapon that claims to save lives. Learn the behind-the-scenes stories of a media crusader who made a difference and the devastating fallout from online vigilantism run amok.

Award winners from the recent international festival circuit include ATTACKING THE DEVIL (Special Jury Award, Sheffield Doc/Fest 2014).

Special Presentations will screen as part of the 2015 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, running April 23 to May 3. The complete Special Presentations program and the full selection of films to screen at Hot Docs 2015 will be announced on March 17, including the 2015 opening night film. Ticket packages and passes are now on sale online and at the CraveTV Hot Docs Box Office, located at 2 Bloor Street West, Cumberland Terrace–Main Level. Single tickets and package redemption will be available beginning Tuesday, March 17, 2015.

Special Presentation titles appear below, ordered alphabetically:


D: Heddy Honigmann | Netherlands | 2014 | 94 min | Canadian Premiere
Award-winning documentary veteran Heddy Honigmann follows Netherlands’ prestigious Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra on an astounding musical journey as they perform 50 concerts on six continents to celebrate their 125th anniversary. With stunning passion and intellect, the masters perform and discuss their music.

D: Jacqui Morris, David Morris | UK, Canada | 2014 | 100 min | International Premiere
Fiercely intelligent and principled, Sir Harold Evans, long-time editor of the Sunday Times, spearheaded such landmark public interest campaigns as redress for Thalidomide victims against entrenched pharmaceutical and political powers in his dogged pursuit of journalism that made a difference.

D: Henrik Stockare, Thomas Jackson, Charlotte Landelius | Sweden | 2014 | 94 min | North American Premiere
Deliciously lavish and inventive, the world’s top restaurants unveil their latest offerings to the new power players on the culinary scene: globe-trotting Foodies whose online reviews reach hundreds of thousands and can make or break a dish.

D: Neal Broffman | USA | 2014 | 75 min | International Premiere
The potential and perils of online vigilantism and crowdsourcing are starkly realized for a family searching for their missing son, when the theory that he is a terrorist behind the Boston Marathon bombings goes viral.

D: Ivy Meeropol | USA | 2015 | 93 min | International Premiere
Enter the reactor core of Indian Point, a nuclear power plant situated only 35 miles from New York City. Since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, the plant has become a battleground for politicians, big business and activists.


D: Jessica Edwards | Canada, USA | 2015 | 85 min | International Premiere
Music legends and civil rights icons Mavis Staples and the Staple Singers shine in this powerful film rich with six decades of glorious songs and wonderful stories from the star herself, alongside Bonnie Raitt, Bob Dylan and more.

D: Michael Mabbott | Canada | 2015 | 20 min | World Premiere
Go behind the scenes with the inspiring children and music teachers at Sistema Toronto and see first-hand how this international movement employs ensemble-based music to build community, confidence and a next generation of talent. To be followed by a live performance by the Sistema Toronto Yorkwoods Orchestra and a special in-conversation session.

D: Guy Reid | UK | 2015 | 89 min | Canadian Premiere
Witness Earth like never before. Combining arresting cinematography with provocative thoughts from the world’s foremost environmentalists, scientists and philosophers, Planetary offers an alternate theory for survival in our planet’s most desperate age.

D: Nick Berardini | USA, Canada | 2015 | 93 min | International Premiere
This investigative look at the allegedly “non-lethal” TASER guns shows how their initial promise as a safer alternate weapon for law enforcement has proven complicated—even fatal.

D: Liz Garbus | USA | 2014 | 102 min | Canadian Premiere
The legendary Nina Simone is brought back to life in this intimate portrait of her tumultuous life. Deemed the “High Priestess of Soul,” Simone made her mark as a pianist, singer and civil rights icon.

Hot Docs (www.hotdocs.ca), North America’s largest documentary festival, conference and market, will present its 22nd annual edition from April 23 to May 3, 2015. An outstanding selection of approximately 200 documentaries from Canada and around the world will be presented to Toronto audiences and international delegates. Hot Docs will also mount a full roster of conference sessions and market events and services for documentary practitioners, including the renowned Hot Docs Forum, Hot Docs Deal Maker and The Doc Shop. In partnership with Blue Ice Group, Hot Docs operates the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, a century-old landmark located in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood.