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Baichwal to Open Hot Docs

Into the Weeds, film image,
Dewayne “Lee” Johnson reflecting in his car, Vallejo, California. Photo courtesy of Disappearing Insects Productions Inc. © 2022

Baichwal to Open Hot Docs
by Ralph Lucas – Publisher

(March 31, 2022 – Toronto, ON) When the 29th annual Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival (Hot Docs) kicks off on April 28, acclaimed documentarian Jennifer Baichwal’s latest film, Into the Weeds, takes pride of place as the opening film.

Renowned for her trio of films made with very large format photographer Edward Burtynsky, each taking an ever-closer look at our damaged planet, her latest film continues on that path. Into the Weeds centres on a man, a former groundskeeper whose cancer diagnosis sets off a highly personal battle with the agrochemical corporation that supplied the products he faithfully worked with almost every day on the job.

Two of her films with Burtynsky took the top spot at the Toronto Film Critics Association awards. In 2014 the film Watermark won the $100,000 Rogers best Canadian film prize. It was a repeat of 2006 when the Baichwal-Burtynsky film Manufactured Landscapes, which concentrated on the destruction caused by large scale industries was named best Canadian film as well as the best documentary award.

Hot Docs will present 226 films from 63 countries across 15 programs and runs from April 28 to May 8. As we have done in the past, our focus is strictly on Canadian film and in the next few weeks we will take a closer look at more of the Canadian content at the festival.

In this year’s Canadian Spectrum section there are 12 feature documentaries and 2 shorts that will screen with some features. There are also two short film programs divided into two sections. Four films fall under the category Artistic Journeys and six will screen together under the heading Stronger Together. There are other Canadian docs screening in other programs and we look at them in the days ahead.

One of the shorts we’d like to highlight is the National Film Board production Bill Reid Remembers. This 24-minute film is by Alanis Obomsawin. It will screen on Saturday, April 30, at 11:30 a.m. in the Isabel Bader Theatre, with the filmmaker in attendance.

There is more festival information online.

Northernstars logo imageRalph 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.