Hotel Coolgardie (DIR. Pete Gleeson) By: Addison Wylie I find myself with Hot Docs déjà vu. I liked a movie – at least, I think I did – but I feel sick to my stomach. A similar love/hate set of emotions I felt towards last year’s The Wolfpack.
No Man Is an Island (DIR. Tim De Keersmaecker) By: Addison Wylie I imagine Tim De Keersmaecker’s outline for No Man Is an Island looked good on paper: make a first-hand view at how African refugees perceive life while living in the unknown territory of Lampedusa. Unfortunately, the documentary is another victim of poor fly-on-the-wall filmmaking.
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…
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.
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.
Holy Hell (DIR. Will Allen) By: Shahbaz Khayambashi Cults have almost become a stereotype in our society to a point where anyone can practically spot one on sight. This is one of the main reasons why Holy Hell is so powerful.
De Palma (DIR. Noah Baumbach, Jake Paltrow) By: Shannon Page Directed by Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha!, Mistress America) and Jake Paltrow (Young Ones), De Palma is a love letter to twentieth-century cinema and an engaging look into the mind of an artist whose career has been nothing if not eclectic.
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…
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…
Aim For The Roses (DIR. John Bolton) By: Shahbaz Khayambashi After describing the premise of this documentary to a friend, her response was short and simple: “sounds stupid.” I have to say, I didn’t disagree with the sentiment that it sounded “stupid”, but the final result is one of the most exciting, most unusual documentaries I have ever seen.