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Hot Docs 2018: ‘First Stripes’

Jean-François Caissy’s look into the Canadian Armed Forces’ intensive training program is a slice-of-life style treat for those especially interested in modern military training practices.  First Stripes follows a 12-week course in French Canada, from the time recruits are being told the rules of the facility and getting in shape to performing mission simulations and learning how to use their weapons.

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Unarmed Verses

Signs posted around a low-income housing block in Toronto announcing “new developments” promises desirable changes, but it’s the community who are woefully anticipating the shift.  This upcoming demolition, in pending stages of growth, means permanent relocation for these residents.  Kids and teenagers are encouraged to direct their focus on other, less stressful interests, such as poetry and music.

Festival Coverage

Hot Docs 2017: ‘Do Donkeys Act?’ and ‘Flames’

Do Donkeys Act? (DIR. David Redmon, Ashley Sabin) Do Donkeys Act? takes an animal that is not usually afforded much dignity – the donkey – and gives movie goers an opportunity to let the animals speak for themselves (without speaking). The film takes its audience to visit various donkey sanctuaries around the world, where donkeys that have been subjected to abuse or neglect are cared for, healed, and allowed to relax and retire.

Festival Coverage

Hot Docs 2017: ‘Birth of a Family’ and ‘Pecking Order’

Birth of a Family (DIR. Tasha Hubbard) Birth of a Family follows four siblings, three sisters and a brother, who were taken from their mother and placed in separate families during the “sixties scoop” – a period of three decades in Canada that saw tens of thousands of indigenous children removed from their homes and sent to live with non-indigenous families throughout North America.  Now middle aged, the siblings meet for the first time and attempt…

Festival Coverage

Hot Docs 2017: ‘Gilbert’ and ‘Integral Man’

Gilbert (DIR. Neil Berkeley) I expected to laugh while watching Gilbert, but I certainly didn’t expect to be misty-eyed and charmed by foul-mouth comic Gilbert Gottfried.  Just as Private Parts showed an identifiable side to shock jock Howard Stern, Neil Berkeley’s Gilbert shows Gottfried’s tenderness while staying true to the comedian’s relentlessly profane wheelhouse.