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Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival

Festival Coverage

Hot Docs 2015: ‘Monty Python: The Meaning of Life’

Monty Python: The Meaning of Life (DIR. Roger Graef, James Rogan) By: Addison Wylie If Monty Python Live (Mostly) was the comedy troupe’s last hurrah, Monty Python: The Meaning of Life is their congratulatory curtain call and encore. It goes without saying that Roger Graef and James Rogan’s film is essential viewing for any Monty Python fan, or anyone who caught their live show.  This documentary provides audiences with alternate angles, exclusive behind-the-scenes tomfoolery, and…

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Hot Docs 2015: Being Canadian

Being Canadian (DIR. Robert Cohen) By: Addison Wylie Comedy writer Robert Cohen hits the road to Vancouver with a documentary crew in Being Canadian, a humorous look at Canadiana.  Cohen’s goal is to reclaim Canada’s identity and deconstruct the stereotypes that have long followed Canucks;  including igloo assumptions, shabby television programming, adamant politeness, and the country’s overflowing supply of comedy legends. Cohen’s dry wit and bewildered fascination drives this labour of love (no pun intended) in…

Festival Coverage

Hot Docs 2015: A One-On-One With Committed’s Vic Cohen

By: Addison Wylie Where there’s a Howie Mandel production, Vic Cohen is most likely close by.  It’s quite obvious the two comedians are close supportive friends, however audiences are seeing that connection run deeper in the documentary Committed. For twelve years, Mandel has recorded Cohen with a video camera and chronicled his budding career as a comic and as an outrageous, fearless performer.  The documentary has been also been shaped by co-directors Reed Grinsell and Steve…

Festival Coverage

Hot Docs 2015: ‘Elephant’s Dream’ and ‘Milk’

Elephant’s Dream (DIR. Kristof Bilsen) By: Addison Wylie As Kinshasa’s struggling economy heals after the civil war in the DRC, its population waits for stable change.  People try to march on with their community through unfortunate situations with limited resources, but it’s achingly hard.  A sequence featuring a reckless fire burning downtown shows the audience how dire Kinshasa’s firefighting team is. Supreme danger spirals out of control, the help is flustered, and panicked pedestrians criticize. …

Festival Coverage

Hot Docs 2015: ‘The Circus Dynasty’ and ‘The Messenger’

The Circus Dynasty (DIR. Anders Riis-Hansen) By: Gregory Breen The Circus Dynasty’s opening caption prepares the audience for the doc’s concept – a grand dynamic between two of Europe’s greatest circus families. The Berdino family (one of Europe’s largest families of artists) and the Casselly family (the world’s most award-winning artist family) have been delighting audiences all across Europe with the joint circus Arena for 21 years.  A special relationship has developed with the two clans creating…

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Hot Docs 2015: ‘The Amina Profile’ and ‘Seth’s Dominion’

The Amina Profile (DIR. Sophie Deraspe) By: Trevor Jeffery The Amina Profile is three stories in one: a three-part politically charged long-distance romance with a twist;  a bit of Going the Distance meets a bit of Milk, with a lot of Catfish. It’s a story of civil unrest under a dictatorship told through a somber love story: two women meant for each other, with half a world between them – Sandra in Montreal and Amina in Damascus.  Six…

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Hot Docs 2015: ‘Lowdown Tracks’ and ‘Orion: The Man Who Would Be King’

Lowdown Tracks (DIR. Shelly Saywell) By: Gregory Breen If you have ever stopped to smell the roses and listen to a busker, chances are Lowdown Tracks will bring a tear to your eye.  In this heartfelt and engrossing film, activist and musician Lorraine Segato seeks to meet Toronto’s street musicians and record some of the wonderful tunes they play. Segato meets Woody Cormier, Anthony Van Zant, Maryann Epp, Bruce Bathgate and Katt Burr – five very special,…

Festival Coverage

Hot Docs 2015: ‘Committed’ and ‘Hadwin’s Judgement’

Committed (DIR. Howie Mandel, Reed Grinsell, Steve Sunshine) By: Addison Wylie Vic Cohen was a faithful writer on The Howie Mandel Show, but had the presence of someone who was weak.  Mandel (who is naturally attracted to peculiar, desperate people) wanted to learn more about him, and decided to keep a camera rolling on the pair;  documenting their collaborations as well as Cohen’s growth as a confident performer. By capturing twelve years of footage, Committed…

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Hot Docs 2015: ‘Shoulder the Lion’ and ‘The Wolfpack’

Shoulder the Lion (DIR. Erinnisse Rebisz, Patryk Rebisz) By: Trevor Jeffery If the subject matter about artists isn’t clear enough the art-house-meets-documentary style Shoulder The Lion boasts should certainly make the viewer aware that the filmmakers really, really like art.  A lot. In front of the camera are three inspiring figures: Graham Sharpe, a musician living with a constant ringing in his ear, reminding him that his tinnitus will eventually take his hearing, and with it, the…

Festival Coverage

Wylie Writes @ Hot Docs 2014: Hitting the Road to Knock Boots

The Special Need (DIR. Carlo Zoratti) By: Parker Mott The Special Need is a playful pun on that little itch a late-bloomer might get when he or she starts to become interested in the prospect of love and sexual intimacy.  This ticklish desire is possible as well in those with mental or physical disabilities;  the problem is our educational and even judicial systems do not teach citizens about or condone this issue.  It’s merely swept under the…