Big Shots at Hot Docs
by Ralph Lucas – Publisher
(April 9, 2019 – Toronto, ON) There is far more coming to Toronto for Hot Docs than a very impressive lineup of documentary films. Some VIPs from all over the place will soon be arriving in town to attend the festival and support the films they are part of. Who?
Let’s start with legendary funnyperson, British actor, comedian and screenwriter John Cleese. He’s part of a small gaggle of participants behind John Walker’s new film, Assholes: A Theory. The 81-minute film is based on the New York Times bestselling book of the same title and the book’s author, Aaron James, will also be here. Suji Gelerman is a psychotherapist and Amiée Morrison is a professor in the University of Waterloo’s Literature and Digital Humanities department—both provide comments on the psychology and behavior of assholes. Sherry Lee Benson-Podolchuk is a former RCMP officer who wrote Women Not Wanted, an exposé of RCMP workplace bullying; she is now she’s now a consultant and keynote speaker on workplace conflict, bullying and harassment. Robert Hockett is a law professor at Cornell University who consulted for both Occupy Wall Street and the Federal Reserve in the wake of the Great Recession of 2008. Cleese provides the commentary throughout the film.
I had the pleasure of talking with John Walker a couple of years ago and hope I get the chance again this year. Assholes: A Theory (still mage above) is part of the Special Presentations program at Hot Docs and has its North American Premiere on April 30 then screens again on May 1, both times at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. NOTE: John Ceese will be at the May 1 screening. Assholes: A Theory will have its last of 3 screenings at the Isabel Bader Theatre on Saturday May 4.
I’m also looking forward to talk with Laurie Lynd. His doc is titled Killing Patient Zero which is based on the book Patient Zero and the Making of the AIDS Epidemic. The book was written by Richard McKay who is a professor in the department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge and he will be here for one or more of the screenings of Lynd’s film. Also part of the Special Presentations program, Killing Patient Zero has its World Premiere on Friday, April 26 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. It screens again on April 27 at the Scotiabank Theatre and its last screening is at the Hart House Theatre on Friday, May 3.
I interviewed director Matt Gallagher a couple of years ago. His new documentary is titled Prey. Special guests at Hot Docs for this film include Rod Macleod, Patrick McMahon and Rob Talach. Rod McLeod is the plaintiff in a sexual abuse case against the Catholic Basilian Order of Priests; Rob is his lawyer. Patrick is a witness at the trial who is a survivor of clergy sexual abuse. Part of the Canadian Spectrum program, Prey will have its World Premiere on Friday April 26 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Its 2nd screening will be at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema on April 27 then back to the Lightbox for its final screening on May 2.
Director Jamie Kastner brings his documentary There Are No Fakes to Hot Docs. Kevin Hearn, Dallas Thompson and Mark Anthony Jacobson will also be here for the film. Kevin Hearn is a bandmember of the Canadian rock group Barenaked Ladies who contests the authenticity of an artwork he’s purchased that was attributed to Indigenous artist Norval Morrisseau; he also composed the music for the film. Dallas Thompson is a witness in the case who reveals how he helped a forgery ring sell fake paintings. Mark Anthony Jacobson is a First Nations painter originally from Northwestern Ontario who knew Morrisseau. There Are No Fakes is part of the Artscape program and this 112-minute documentary screens only twice. It’s World Premiere is on Monday April 29 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox and yhen on May 1 at the Scotiabank Theatre.
If you are of a certain age the name Dr. Ruth will immediately conjure up memories of the far better sex life you once had years ago. The world-renowned sex therapist, media personality and author Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer will be here to support the U.S. documentary by director Ryan White titled, what else, Ask Dr. Ruth. It’s another selection from the Special Presentations at Hot Docs and will have its International Premiere on Friday April 26 at the Isabel Bader Theatre. Its 2nd and final screening is the very next morning, Saturday April 27 at the TIFF BellLightbox.
Jazz fans should look out for Erin Davis and Vince Wilburn, who will be in town to support the USA-UK co-production, Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool. Directed by Stanley Nelson, Erin Davis is Miles Davis’ son and Vince Wilburn is his nephew. Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool runs 113-minutes and will have its International Premiere on May 1 at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema where it will also screen on May 3. Its last screening will be at the TIFF Bell Lightbox on May 4.
There are more than 200 special guests coming to Hot Docs and more names will be announced later this month. The full 2019 Hot Docs schedule is online. Its 26th annual edition runs from April 25 to May 5, 2019.
Images courtesy of the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival.