Hot Docs – Canada
by Ralph Lucas – Publisher
April 25, 2023 – Toronto, ON) The 30th anniversary edition of Hot Docs is just two days away and we’re taking a look at a few of the Canadian films screening in the first couple of days. As previously reported, the pride of place belongs to the opening film and this year the opening film is a Denmark-Canada-Greenland coproduction titled Twice Colonized.
Seven years in the making and directed by Danish director Lin Alluna, Twice Colonized centres on renowned Greenlandic Inuit lawyer, activist, and fierce protector of her ancestral lands, Aaju Peter, who has led a lifelong fight for the rights of her people. When her son suddenly dies, Aaju embarks on a journey to reclaim her language and culture after a lifetime of whitewashing and forced assimilation as she fights for the human rights of Indigenous people of the Arctic, working to bring her colonizers in Canada and Denmark to justice.
Twice Colonized screens:
April 27. 6:30PM – Hot Docs Cinema – Opening Night Film
April 28 – 5:30PM – Isabel Bader Theatre
May 1 – 3:30PM – Tiff Bell Lightbox
There’s another coproduction also screening on opening night. Veranada means summer pasture, and this Canada-Argentina film centres on Don Luis Arturo Avila, a gaucho from Malargüe, Mendoza, Argentina. Set in a remote community of herders in the Andes mountains, Don Arturo rides his horse in search of greener grasslands to feed his goats and sheep. Herders here depend on the one necessary resource to survive: water nourishes the plants in the meadows which feed the herds. This story is about Don Arturo’s tenacious yet hopeful will to survive in a region affected by climate change, severe drought.
April 27 – 8:45PM – Tiff Bell Lightbox
April 30 – 11:45AN – Scotiabank Theatre
Day Two of Hot Docs 2023 brings two more Canadian films. Silvicola runs 80 minutes and looks at the human impact on forests using breathtaking vistas and poignant vignettes set in Canada’s Pacific Northwest. Directed by Jean-Philippe Marquis, this documentary also looks into the people who rely on this resource and the tensions and dilemmas that arise between commodification and conservation.
April 28 – 5:45PM – Scotiabank Theatre
May 3 – 12:15PM – Tiff Bell Lightbox
Also screening on the 28th is the National Film Board production, Undertaker for Life! from director Georges Hannan. We’ll have more on that film and others tomorrow.
Ralph Lucas is the founder and publisher of Northernstars.ca. He began writing about film and reviewing movies while in radio in Montreal in the mid-1970s.