Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival

Festival Coverage

Hot Docs 2016: ‘The Pearl of Africa’ and ‘Putuparri and the Rainmakers’

The Pearl of Africa (DIR. Jonny von Wallström) By: Shannon Page Director Jonny von Wallström’s first full-length documentary is the story of Cleopatra Kambugu, a transgender woman living in Uganda who is forced to leave her country after a bill is passed making her gender identity punishable by life in prison or even execution.  The Pearl of Africa follows Cleo as she travels from Uganda to Thailand for sex reassignment surgery.

Festival Coverage

Hot Docs 2016: ‘Bobby Sands: 66 Days’ and ‘Off the Rails’

Bobby Sands: 66 Days (DIR. Brendan Byrne) By: Shannon Page Bobby Sands, a member of the Irish Republican Army, was only twenty-seven years old when he died in prison in 1981 after refusing food for 66 days.  Sands was the first of ten IRA prisoners to die as the result of a hunger strike in protest of their status as regular criminals, as opposed to political prisoners.

Festival Coverage

Hot Docs 2016: ‘A Dog’s Life’ and ‘Hotel Dallas’

A Dog’s Life (DIR. Hélène Choquette) By: Shahbaz Khayambashi Research has shown time and time again that pets are beneficial to homeless individuals, as they provide love, support and companionship to a marginalized, frequently ignored population.  A Dog’s Life is a study of the benefits and hardships that come along with being homeless with a dog, discovered through interviews with several people in this particular situation.  What follows are anecdotes about a variety of topics…

Festival Coverage

Hot Docs 2016: ‘Credit for Murder’ and ‘Tickled’

Credit for Murder (DIR. Vladi Antonevicz) By: Shahbaz Khayambashi A video appears on YouTube which depicts the ritualistic slaughter of two men by masked individuals: one man is beheaded and the other is shot.  The video appears to come from Russia.  The Russian authorities say it is fake, until one man is identified after his father comes forward.  This is the beginning of an unusual and captivating story about Russian neo-Nazis, recounted by a Jewish filmmaker…

Festival Coverage

Hot Docs 2015: ‘Help Us Find Sunil Tripathi’ and ‘Raiders!’

Help Us Find Sunil Tripathi (DIR. Neil Broffman) By: Shannon Page If you own a computer, have a Facebook account, frequent Twitter, or read the news – basically, if you interact with information and technology at all – you should watch Help Us Find Sunil Tripathi.  The emotional and thoughtful film, directed by Neil Broffman, tells the story of a Brown University student who went missing one month prior to the Boston Marathon bombings and…


Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck

By: Addison Wylie Many associate angst with Kurt Cobain.  The feeling is riddled throughout his musical work and how he presented Nirvana to the world.  With Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, documentarian Brett Morgen (The Kid Stays in the Picture) has peeled back the musician’s enigmatic career to find the origin behind his hurt and disassociation. Cobain is respectfully represented as someone who was robbed out of an upbringing he wished he had growing up…

Festival Coverage

Hot Docs 2015: ’Live From New York!’ and ‘The Queen of Silence’

Live From New York! (DIR. Bao Nguyen) By: Trevor Jeffery How do you describe a forty-year “New York institution” in 90 minutes?  Live From New York! explores both the mythos and the cultural significance of the longest running sketch comedy series, Saturday Night Live (SNL). The documentary covers a lot of ground: the rise (and fall and rise);  behind the scenes;  cultural impact;  and the ongoing issues with race and gender dynamics.  While each topic…