Tag Archives: HotDocs14

May 04

Hot Docs Review: The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz

Recently, during a heated discussion around the dinner table, a relative proclaimed that we need to stop using “that’s just the way things are” as an excuse. She was lamenting the fact that we as a society have become too complacent. We are letting corporations govern what is morally just and no longer questioning the […]

May 03

Hot Docs Review: Life After Death

Early on in Joe Callander’s Life After Death, Texan philanthropist Suzette Munson confidently proclaims “I know what I want and I get it.” Though she is referring to meeting her husband Dave over MySpace, one gets the sense that she is speaking about the film as well. The founder of Love 41, an organization committed […]

May 02

Hot Docs Review: The Writer with No Hands

There’s a fine line between determination and obsession. Often the distinguishing characteristic lies in the eyes of the observer. One of the many things that The Writer with No Hands gets right is its understanding that the documentarian is often the final judge in regards to where a person falls on that line. This is […]

May 02

Hot Docs Review: I Love Kuduro

Music has a funny way of transcending cultural boundaries. Walk into any club and you will find bodies of all shapes, from various backgrounds, joyously dancing to the same infectious beat. It is this type of universal love for the power of music that is at the heart of Mário Patrocinio’s I Love Kuduro. Patrocinio’s […]

May 01

Hot Docs Review: The Overnighters

What is the role of a church? What is the role of a pastor? What is the role of a congregation? Is the Sheppard responsible for governing the sheep or has society evolved to a point where it is now the other way around? One of the foundations of any religion is to help those […]

May 01

Hot Docs Review: The Immortalists

We’ve been obsessed with discovering eternal youth for centuries. From the searches for the Fountain of Youth by explorers to the plastic surgeons of today, humans are obsessed with combating aging. Is this just a pipe dream caused by fear of death, or could we actually become immortal? The Immortalists chronicles two guys who believe […]

April 30

Hot Docs Review: The Pink Helmet Posse

It’s easy to look at the advancements for female athletes in the 21st century and think we’ve made great progress. The improvements have occurred, but strong perceptions remain that can direct girls away from athletics. This is especially true at an early age, when adults shape their ideas for what is possible. My older daughter […]

April 30

Hot Docs Review: Kung Fu Elliot

Peddling his own brand of no-budget action flicks, or “respectable cheese”, outside local video stores, Elliot Scott is driven by his dream of becoming Canada’s first action hero. Hoping to turn his martial arts prowess into international stardom like his idols Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme, Halifax based Scott gives himself completely to each […]

April 29

Hot Docs Review: The Life and Mind of Mark DeFriest

For 30 years Mark DeFriest has only had one goal on his mind: freedom. Unjustly sent to prison at age 19 for “stealing” tools that were allegedly willed to him by his father, DeFriest has watched his four-year stint turn into a life sentence. What heinous act did DeFriest do to warrant such punishment? He […]

April 29

Hot Docs Review: The Sower

What is the goal of a cherry tree? Is it to make the best cherries? Not really, the cherries are only to attract birds (and the occasional human) that take the seeds away from the parent tree so they can grow. The seeds of the tree are its children. Every plant, tree, vegetable and flower […]

April 28

Hot Docs Review: Mugshot

After viewing Mugshot, I found myself observing the faces of the people around me differently. As if opening my eyes for the first time, I no longer simply saw the guy with the shaggy hair, or the brunette with too much makeup on. Instead I observed individuals who probably had fascinating stories to tell. Every […]

April 27

Hot Docs Review: Self(less) Portrait

The medium of film, and our relationship to it, is rather fascinating when you think about it. We often look to film to not only entertain us, but also to hold up a mirror to the world we know. It is often only when we see ourselves reflected on screen that it becomes apparent that […]

April 27

Hot Docs Review: David & Me

David & Me is a documentary created by Ray Klonsky and Marc Lamy – the former also being the “me” in the title. The film presents the life and predicament of David McCallum, a man who has been imprisoned in New York for 29 years for a murder he did not commit. Ray, who is […]

April 26

Hot Docs Review: Pine Ridge

When we think of Native Americans in movies, the images that appear frequently go back to one-note characterizations from westerns in their heyday. Revisionist films have shown the awful treatment from the U.S. government, but it’s still within a historical perspective. We rarely learn about what’s happening in our present day on the reservations. The […]

April 26

Hot Docs Review: The Special Need

Stories about men on quests to lose their virginity have become so clichéd that it is hard not to roll your eyes whenever a new one pops up in theatres. In a world where 40 year-old virgins and pie-loving teenagers have given virginity a comedic face, it warms the heart to discover a sweet natured […]

April 26

Hot Docs Review: Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story

“Clean your plate”, “Eat your vegetables”, “Just one more bite”, “There are starving children in…” are all phrases our parents and grandparents used to convince us to try and not waste food.  However, what they didn’t know is they were fixing a pothole while the highway crumbled.  The problem of food waste is enormous and […]

April 25

Hot Docs Review: Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger

Wrapped in a labyrinth of lies and half-truths, Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger is a truly captivating mystery. In documenting both the criminal life and subsequent 2013 racketeering trial of Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger, filmmaker Joe Berlinger ends up with a film that poses more complex questions than it does […]

April 25

Hot Docs Review: Love Me

There comes a point in Jonathon Narducci’s Love Me, where you both want to shake and conversely hug the characters on screen. You want to scream “wake up” at the top of your lungs to those who, blinded by their desire for love, fall prey to the same traps over and over again. Exploring the […]

April 24

Hot Docs Review: Vessel

Fresh off of its debut at SXSW Film Festival, where it won both the audience award for documentary and a special jury citation for “political courage”, Vessel is an electrifying look at Dr. Rebecca Gomperts’ activist group Women on Waves. Founded in 1999, Women on Waves is an organization that aims to offer safe abortions […]

April 24

Hot Docs Review: Ukraine is Not a Brothel

Dripping with confidence and visual flare, Kitty Green’s debut film Ukraine is Not a Brothel is as bold as its subject matter. The film aims to shed a light on FEMEN, a Ukrainian feminist activist organization most famously known for their topless protests. Outraged by the fact that the world at large think of Ukrainian […]