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.
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.
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…
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.
78/52 (DIR. Alexandre Philippe) It’s a testament to Alfred Hitchcock’s talent as a filmmaker that he directed the shower scene from Psycho and he is still known for things other than that; any other director would have simply become known by that singular sequence. Even though, that particular scene may well be the single most studied, analyzed and deconstructed scene in the history of cinema and, as a part of this tradition, there is Alexandre…
Girl Inside (DIR. Maya Gallus) Hot Docs’ Focus on Maya Gallus programme features a screening of the documentarian’s 2007 Girl Inside, a film that chronicles a three-year process towards a substantial surgery for transgendered adult Madison.
Close Ties (DIR. Zofia Kowalewska) The audience, from afar, watches a stubborn married couple in Zofia Kowalewska’s short-form doc Close Ties. They bicker about money and time spent in the bathroom just as often as they look at each other and give “that look” that they’ll always be there for each other.
Spookers (DIR. Florian Habicht) Spookers focuses on the Watsons, a New Zealand family who has run one of the most successful scare attractions out of an old psychiatric ward.
My Enemy, My Brother (DIR. Ann Shin) In 2015, Ann Shin documented a rather unusual event: an Iranian child soldier, Zahed, had recently had a chance encounter with an Iraqi soldier, Najah, whom he had saved during the Iran-Iraq war, at a Vancouver institution for survivors of torture. This chance encounter had made the two men friends. This anomaly had led to the short film My Enemy, My Brother. Now, Hot Docs is home to the…
Mermaids (DIR. Ali Weinstein) Mermaids takes on real-life issues and shows the beneficial qualities of becoming a real-life mermaid.