May 02

Hot Docs 2017: Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower

To say Joshua Wong is a remarkable individual would be an understatement. Already gracing the cover of Time magazine, as “the face of protest,” at age 18, he displayed a gift from a young age for sorting through complex issues and finding concrete solutions. Wong is living proof that a clear message and resilience can […]

May 02

Hot Docs 2017: Integral Man

Writer-director Joseph Clement’s subject for Integral Man is the modern renaissance man Jim Stewart.  Stewart is a brilliant concert-level violinist with a contagious passion for music, but he is also an accomplished teacher of mathematics.  Spurred on by some students who told him that his notes on the chalkboard were clearer than the textbook they […]

May 02

Hot Doc 2017: Birth of a Family

Tasha Hubbard’s Birth of a Family documents the first meeting of a family torn asunder by racist government policies, decades after their separation.  As infants, Betty Ann, Esther, Rosalie, and Ben were taken from their indigenous mother and placed into separate white homes across North America as part of Canada’s “Sixties Scoop”.  The story of […]

May 02

Hot Docs 2017: Step

As the final credits began to roll on Amanda Lipitz’s Step, a woman sitting next to me turned and said “wow.” She stated that she felt like she had cried throughout the whole film, the sound of sniffles and the frequent dabbing of eyes did not go unnoticed, but these were clearly tears of joy. […]

May 01

Hot Docs 2017: Unarmed Verses

The Toronto Community Housing’s Villaways neighbourhood is viewed as a slum by some, but for 12-year-old Francine Valentine it is home. However, it may not be her home for much longer. With the area about to go through a massive redevelopment, one that will bring shiny new condos that most of the current residents will […]

May 01

Hot Docs 2017: Living the Game

The biggest change between grade 8 and grade 9 was that once I started high school I was allowed to leave school property on lunch. And leave I did. Every weekday from noon to 1, my friends and I walked to the nearest arcade. When I had quarters, I spent them, and when I was […]

May 01

Hot Docs 2017: Manic

It’s apparent that Kalina Burton’s Manic is made with passion, care, and respect for the mental health of its subjects: Burton’s own brother and sister.  It’s also clear that an amateur is at the helm.  Burton has a lot to learn about pacing, structure, and focus. The film opens with blunt white text on a black […]

April 30

Hot Docs 2017: Ask The Sexpert

When Dr. Mahinder Watsa was starting out his career as a doctor, he wrote a medical column in the back of a ladies’ journal. At the time, young women were dying from back-alley abortions while others committed suicide, unwilling to let their prospective husbands know they were not virgins (due to sexual abuse). Dr. Watsa […]

April 30

Hot Docs 2017: Tokyo Idols

Sad-sack middle-aged men in Japan are flocking to ‘pop’ concerts performed by underage girls. These artist are called Idols, they perform in ‘girl groups,’ and to date there about 10,000 of them. They are so intoxicating that one 43-year-old man has blown his life’s savings on this “religion” that saved him from depression. They’re providing […]

April 29

Hot Docs 2017: Thank You For the Rain

There are moments in this world when we know we could have done more. The recent elections in the US, Brexit in the UK, among many others have left many people realizing they should have done more. The focus of the new documentary, Thank You For the Rain, directed by Julia Dahr, is a Kenyan […]

April 28

Hot Docs 2017: 78/52

Psycho was a watershed moment in cinema, and not just because it was the first film to show a flushing toilet.  Alexandre O. Philippe’s documentary 78/52 explores this cultural touchstone through interviews with a myriad of film people, from directors and editors to actors, composers, and critics.  The film begins by exploring the philosophies, style, […]

April 28

Hot Docs 2017: About My Liberty, Unrest

Over at In the Seats, I continued my Hot Docs coverage with reviews of About My Liberty and Unrest. I have included the Hot Docs synopsis of both films and links to my reviews below: About My Liberty Hot Docs synopsis: ”A group of millennial students plan protests unlike any Japan has ever seen—loud, well-marketed […]

April 28

Hot Docs 2017: PACmen

If you are still trying to understand how Donald Trump ascended to the highest office in America, then it would be wise to take a closer look at the Republican presidential nominees who were also in the race. In his eye-opening and thoroughly engaging film PACmen, director Luke Walker presents a fly on the wall […]

April 27

Hot Docs 2017: The Road Forward

There’s been a great deal of discussion in recent years about the past and ongoing injustices suffered by the indigenous community. As there should be. From suicide epidemics to systemic racism to the alarming number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women to the over-representation of Aboriginal men in Canadian prisons, the challenges of the First […]

April 27

Hot Docs 2017: Sunday Beauty Queen

Hong Kong, like many cities around the world, benefits from the help of underpaid Filipino workers. A local domestic worker would cost $8 an hour, but a Filipina in the same role works round the clock, 6 days a week, for just $500 a month. There are strict rules for these poor workers, who aren’t […]

April 27

Hot Docs 2017: Bee Nation

In a tension filled room, an audience sits on the edge of their seats, gazing at William Kaysaywaysemat III standing on stage. They wait in anticipation for the young man to open his mouth and spell a word into a microphone. Regardless of one’s personal views of such competitions in terms of spectator sports, it […]

April 26

Hot Docs 2017: Mermaids

The myth of the mermaid has been told by the ancient Greeks, Inuit communities, and most famously in children’s fairy tales. Popular culture has also played a key role in perpetuating the allure be it the romantic charm of Disney’s The Little Mermaid or the dark musical fun of Agnieszka Smoczynska’s The Lure, our love […]

April 26

Hot Docs 2017: Gilbert, School Life, Rivolta, Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World

Over at In the Seats, I continued my Hot Docs coverage with reviews of Gilbert, School Life, Rivolta and Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World . I have included the Hot Docs synopsis of both films and links to my reviews below: Gilbert Hot Docs synopsis: ”The bluest jokes and the shrillest whine delivered […]

April 26

Hot Docs 2017: Let There Be Light

Today, the vast majority of the energy we produce comes from burning fossil fuels.  We generate smaller amounts by splitting large radioactive atoms, capturing a tiny percentage of the energy in sunlight, or other various techniques, but these are not currently capable of generating energy at the same cost and abundance of fossil fuels.  Let […]

April 26

Hot Docs 2017: Still Tomorrow

Jian Fan’s Still Tomorrow considers its fascinating subject in all its facets.  The film follows a year in the life of Yu Xuihua, a middle age woman with cerebral palsy who has worked on her parent’s farm for her whole life.  Her arranged marriage of 20 years is one of convenience, and her life is […]