(May 2, 2017 – Toronto, ON) It’s Day 6 at Hot Docs. The 24th annual festival wraps this Sunday and there is so much to see. Because we try hard to keep our focus on all things Canadian when it comes to television and film, here’s a quick look at this Canadian films screening at various venues today, May 2.
The first Canadian film on today’s schedule is the second screening of the film with the poetic title A Moon of Nickel and Ice. Director François Jacob’s 110 minute feature documentary is set in the major Russian mining centre if Norilsk in the Siberian arctic. It’s an eye-opening portrait of different generations: weary miners and restless teenagers. In this desolate landscape where the wind never seems too stop and the industrial pollution seems to increase on a daily basis, the teenagers want nothing more than to escape a way of life that is not only anchored in the past, but offers no future for their young lives. A Moon of Nickel and Ice is at the Tiff Bell Lightbox at 11:45AM.
The Canada-Chile co-production Resurrecting Hassan enjoys its 2nd screening today. Director Carlo Guillermo Proto’s focuses his lens on a family of buskers who make their home in Montreal in this 100-minute documentary. Not special enough for you? Well, consider they are blind, and are still dealing with the almost impossible task of healing after the death of a child. They decide to seek the help of a Russian mystic healer to see if their second child, Hassan, can be resurrected from the dead. This screening of Resurrecting Hassan is at the Tiff Bell Lightbox at 12:30PM.
Girl Inside is one of the films being featured in the Focus On Maya Gallus program. Made in 2007 this 70-minute doc sets its focus on the 26-year-old Madison, who is in the process of transitioning from male to female. Madison receives lessons from her martini-drinking grandmother about all things feminine and is surprised to discover love is waiting for her where she never suspected it. Girl Inside has just one screening and that’s today at 1:15PM at the Scotia 7.
At 1:45PM at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, it’s the 2nd and final screening of Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World. Directed by Catherine Bainbridge and Alfonso Maiorana this feature-length film was executive produced by Stevie Salas, and features Martin Scorsese, Tony Bennett, Toronto-born Robbie Robertson, Buffy Saint Marie (pictured), Quincy Jones, Iggy Pop, Slash, Steven Tyler, Robert Trujillo, Steven Van Zandt, and many more, all talking about the important role Native Americans had on shaping all aspects and offshoots of rock ‘n roll. The film is titled after the 1958 instrumental hit Rumble by guitarist Link Wray (Fred Lincoln ‘Link’ Wray, Jr.) that was initially banned from radio play. The documentary was produced by Montreal’s Rezolution Pictures. Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World won the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Masterful Storytelling at Sundance.
Charles Officer’s new film, Unarmed Verses has its 2nd screening today. The camera ranges over a number of young, talented people living in community housing that’s about to be torn down to make way for a new high rise project that will be their future home. We get to meet some of the residents and we get to learn just how talented they are. One 12-year-old, wise beyond her years as the saying goes, has a remarkable talent for expression. When an opportunity arises to record the verses the various participants have created, the pressure is on to perform and for some, coupled with the trauma of a forced relocation, that pressure is too much. Unarmed Verses screens at the Scotia 4 at 3:00PM. Its last screening will be on Saturday at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.
Director Charles Wilkinson brings his timely doc Vancouver: No Fixed Address to Toronto. This is a pic that’s been in the news for quite some time and this film is all about affordable housing in a market where house prices seem to rise on an hourly basis. The rich get to live there but thousands upon thousands face the reality that they have been priced out of the ream of ever owning their own home. Vancouver: No Fixed Address has its World Premiere this evening at 6:00PM at the Scotia 4.
At 7:15PM at the Isabel Bader Theatre it’s the World Premiere of Integral Man. If one of the planks in a documentary’s foundation is to teach us something about ourselves or others, this film is a perfect example. In this 62-minute doc we get to meet the very special Jim Stewart. He literally wrote the book on math and it made him wealthy. He used his money, in part, to build a fabulous home in Toronto’s exclusive Rosedale neighbourhood. A home shaped by his love of music and his desire to share. The architectural masterpiece is called Integral House. Integral Man tells a fascinating story of what one person can do to make a difference. Integral Man is, like the house that is at the centre of this film, a wonderfully constructed and executed vision.
The last Canadian film on today’s Hot Docs schedule is Birth of a Family. We, as a nation, still have a long way to go in the healing process created by the forced removal of more than 20,000 Indigenous children. In this gentle and touching documentary four siblings come together for the first time. Scattered to the wind, each is essentially a stranger to the others and now, decades later, they attempt to find the bonds of their own family where previously there were none. Directed by Tasha Hubbard, the World Premiere of Birth of a Family takes place at the Scotia 3 at 9:00PM.
Hot Docs, The Canadian International Documentary Festival runs until May 7.