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Hot Docs 2016: ‘Cheer Up’ and ‘How to Build a Time Machine’

Cheer Up (DIR. Christy Garland) By: Shannon Page Miia is the coach of the Ice Queens, a teenage cheerleading team from Finland’s Article Circle that regularly places dead-last in national competitions.  Determined to win, Miia travels to Texas to learn the art of winning from the world champions, Cheer Athletics, and returns to Finland with the intention of turning her team around.  The pressure that she puts on her girls to become the best pushes the…

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…