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Hip Hop Evolution at Hot Docs


(March 15, 2016 – Toronto, ON) – Hot Docs has announced 14 documentary features that will screen in this year’s Special Presentations program, joining 15 selections previously announced. Special Presentations features a high-profile collection of world and international premieres, award winners from the recent international festival circuit and works by master filmmakers or featuring some star subjects. One of those projects is the Canadian film Hip Hop Evolution co-directed by Darby Wheeler, Scot McFadyen and Sam Dunn.

In the 90-minute doc, rapper and CBC host Shad travels to the Bronx and Harlem to talk with hip-hop’s originators and biggest stars—Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash among others—tracing its evolution from underground to global phenomenon.

Other subjects featured as part of the Special Presentations program include activist Bobby Sands (Bobby Sands: 66 Days), musicians David Byrne, Nelly Furtado and St. Vincent (Contemporary Color), filmmaker Brian de Palma (De Palma), former NFL defensive back Steve Gleason (Gleason), Afghan rapper and activist Sonita Alizadeh (Sonita), artist Frida Kahlo (The Legacy Of Frida Kahlo), and comedians Mel Brooks, Sarah Silverman and Carl Reiner (The Last Laugh).

Award winners from the recent international festival circuit include Life, Animated (Directing Award: U.S. Documentary, Sundance 2016), Trapped (U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Social Impact Filmmaking, Sundance 2016), and Sonita (World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary and Audience Award: World Cinema Documentary, Sundance 2016).

Following, in alphabetical order is a list of today’s announced Special Presentations:

D: Jared P. Scott | USA | 2016 | 78 min | World Premiere
Sounding an alarm over the critical and disturbing effects of societal inaction, this revealing film highlights the irreversible impacts of climate change—resource scarcity, mass migration and conflict—through the lens of global stability and national security.

D: Chris Smith | USA | 1999 | 107 min | Cinema Eye Legacy Screening
In this beloved cult classic, an aspiring filmmaker struggles to complete a hilariously lo-fi horror film, only to be derailed by personal demons and the staggering ineptitude of his production team.

D: Brendan Byrne | Ireland, UK | 2016 | 105 min | World Premiere
This riveting account of a turning point in the Troubles in Northern Ireland is taken straight from the diary of Bobby Sands, who led protests of imprisoned Irish Republicans and a hunger strike with momentous consequences.

D: Bill Ross IV, Turner Ross | USA | 2016 | 96 min | International Premiere
An extraordinary lineup of top music stars including event mastermind David Byrne of The Talking Heads, Nelly Furtado, St. Vincent and more perform live with 10 “colour guard” teams—perfectly synchronized students in pep-rally choreography—in this one-of-a-kind, kaleidoscopic event.

D: Noah Baumbach, Jake Paltrow | USA | 2015 | 107 min | Canadian Premiere
From Carrie to Mission: Impossible to Scarface and beyond, Brian de Palma has created some of cinema’s most iconic work. In this career-spanning, funny and candid conversation, he reveals his unique perspective on life, work and the past 50 years in film.

D: Clay Tweel | USA | 2016 | 110 min | International Premiere
At age 34, former NFL defensive back and New Orleans hero Steve Gleason was diagnosed with ALS. With limited time left to live, he purposefully records his spirited and inspiring life—a heartfelt time capsule for his newborn son.

D: Darby Wheeler | Co-D: Scot McFadyen, Sam Dunn | Canada | 2016 | 90 min | World Premiere
Acclaimed Canadian rapper Shad travels to the Bronx and Harlem to talk with hip-hop’s originators and biggest stars—Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash among others—tracing its evolution from underground to global phenomenon.

D: Ferne Pearlstein | USA | 2016 | 85 min | International Premiere
Mel Brooks, Sarah Silverman, Carl Reiner, a 90-year-old Auschwitz survivor and others uproariously debate and test the limits of comedy’s ultimate taboo: how to joke about the Holocaust, or if it’s even ethical to try.

D: Tadasuke Kotani | Japan | 2015 | 89 min | Canadian Premiere
A renowned Japanese photographer inventories iconic Mexican artist Frida Kahlo’s wardrobe and personal belongings, recently discovered 58 years after her death, lending deserved importance to fashion and “women’s work,” while resurrecting the dead through clothing and talismans.

D: Roger Ross Williams | USA | 2015 | 91 min | International Premiere
Disney cartoons play a key role in helping a young autistic boy communicate and understand the world around him in this moving testament to coming-of-age through fantasy, from Academy Award–winning director Roger Ross Williams.

D: Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami | Iran, Germany, Switzerland | 2015 | 90 min | Canadian Premiere
After her family attempts to sell her into marriage, a young Afghan refugee in Iran channels her frustrations and seizes her destiny through music. Grabbing the mic, she spits fiery rhymes in the face of oppressive traditions.

D: Jerry Rothwell | USA, France | 2016 | 96 min | World Premiere
Controversy erupts when an unassuming young man floods the American market with fake vintages valued in the millions, bamboozling wine snobs and the super-wealthy alike, in this suspenseful tale of excess on the eve of the 2008 crash.

D: Dawn Porter | USA | 2016 | 80 min | International Premiere
American women’s right to abortion is no longer clear, as 288 dubious laws slyly crafted by the right have decimated access. While a watershed Supreme Court battle looms, witness the human stakes of the right to choose.

D: Stephanie Soechtig | USA | 2016 | 110 min | International Premiere
With razor-sharp arguments and insight, Stephanie Soechtig and Katie Couric (the team behind Fed Up) craft a gripping indictment of American gun culture, meeting communities shattered by shootings and exposing the politics that allow the epidemic of violence to persist.

Special Presentations will screen as part of the 2016 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, running April 28 to May 8. The complete Special Presentations program and the full selection of films to screen at Hot Docs 2016 will be announced on March 22, including the 2016 opening night film. Ticket packages and passes are now on sale online and at the CraveTV Box Office at Hot Docs House, located at 610 Markham Street, Toronto. Single tickets and package redemption will be available beginning Tuesday, March 22, 2016.

Click here for a link to Hot Docs and other April 2016 film festivals.