What’s on Sunday at Hot Docs
(April 27, 2019 – Toronto, ON) There are 44 films on Sunday’s schedule at the 26th annual Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival. As our regular readers know, our focus is strictly on Canadian films and filmmakers and we take a quick look at all 13 Canadian docs screening tomorrow, April 28. A reminder, most festival films will enjoy just three screenings, and many will not return for a regular theatrical run for weeks or months. In many if not most cases, these are your best chances to catch these important films.
The first Hot Docs screening is at 10:00 a.m., but the first Canadian doc is at noon and it’s the 2nd screening of River Silence. In theme and look it seems to be an extension of the multi-award-winning film Anthropocene, but instead of ranging far and wide, River Silence (still picture above) trains its cameras on a small village and a group of people, many Indigenous Brazilians, displaced by the building of a dam on a tributary of the Amazon. The cinematography is wonderful—the drone shots providing a special perspective—and the editing allows the story to flow as easily as the river these people once knew must have. This may be an environmental story but it is highly personal, the story of four people and their families and how each is impacted by change and how they have become powerless pawns in a game far larger than any of them can imagine. Pay attention to the closing sequence of supers that spell out the scope of the tragedy that is taking place along the Amazon.
River Silence screens:
Sun. Apr/ 28 at 12:00 p.m. at the Tiff Bell Lightbox 3 (TBLB)
Fri. May 3 at 9:30 p.m. at TBLB 4
Also at the Tiff Bell Lightbox, it’s the second screening of Ingrid Veninger’s 84-minute documentary, The World or Nothing is nothing if not different. Two Cuban men, twin brothers, have moved to Spain to seek their fame and fortune, hoping for online stardom as they shoot their own dance videos. Seemingly inseparable, they do everything together. Towards the end one says he will only marry if his intended bride accepts his brother as part of the marriage. While they are, or should be, grown men, they are dreamers who miss their mother, go forward blinded by hope and want nothing less than what the title says.
The World or Nothing screens:
Sun. Apr. 28 at 1:15 p.m. at TBLB 2
Thur. May 2 at 3:00 p.m. at the Hart House Theatre
At 1:30 at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, it’s the 2nd screening of Inside Lehman Brothers from director and co-writer Jennifer Deschamps. This is one of those films that captures a moment in history so clearly it could be used as a teaching tool so that this sort of thing never happens again…if only. Described as “the autopsy of a crime” this is the sad yet very true story of a systemic cover-up of illegal practices that first befell Lehman Brothers and contributed to the worst financial crisis since the Depression. While the financial crisis went into remission during the last decade, experts in the film argue that this disease of greed and willful blindness, aided and abetted by a weakening of financial oversight under President Trump, is now setting the stage for a once impossible return. “NINJA” loans (no income, no job, no assets) have returned to the market with a vengeance.
Inside Lehman Brothers screens:
Sun. Apr. 28 at 1:00 p.m. at Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema
Fri. May 3 at 6:15 p.m. at TBLB 1
Next up is Cavebirds at 2:45 p.m. at the Tiff Bell Lightbox 3. Yes it does have something to do with birds, but it’s really about former Montrealer Howard Gan, a recently retired Chinese-Malaysian Canadian immigrant, and his daughter, the film’s director, who finds certain similarities and parallels in her father’s life and in his passion for a specific financial investment in the market and production of the key ingredient in bird’s nest soup. Ultimately a family story, this first screening is a World Premiere.
Sun, Apr. 28 at 2:45 p.m. at TBLB 3
Tue, Apr. 30 at 1:45 p.m. at TBLB 4
Fri, May 3 at 10:30 a.m. at TBLB 4
Mid-afternoon, it’s Pipe Dreams. We wrote about it earlier and this page has far more detail and a trailer embedded in it. Pipe Dreams is from Montreal’s Stacey Tenenbaum and it has all the hallmarks of her work. She has an eye for something just a little bit quirky and then executes the project with the highest of quality.
Pipe Dreams screens:
Sun, Apr. 28 at 3:15 p.m. at Scotiabank 4
Tue, Apr. 30 at 9:00 p.m. at TBLB 3
Fri. May 3 at 10:00 a.m. at the Isabel Bader Theatre
Late afternoon at the Innis Town Hall, is El Toro and it has nothing to do with bullfights or lawnmowers. It’s a trip down memory lane for eight siblings who spent part of the 1960s growing up at the family-run truck stop just outside of Winnipeg. While the actual diner is no longer around, their stories bring fond memories back to life. It’s a long-short, if you will, running only 43 minutes. To round out the program there are a couple of Canadian shorts that will screen along with El Toro, which only gets 2 screenings at Hot Docs.
El Toro screens:
Sun. Apr. 28 at 5:45 p.m. at the Innis Town Hall
Mon. Apr. 29 at 6:30 p.m. at the Scotiabank 8
El Toro is the first of 4 Canadian docs all screening around the same time. El Toro starts at 5:45, Advocate at 6:00, Drag Kids at 6:15 and Conviction at 6:30.
Advocate is an Israel-Canada-Switzerland co-production and it screens in Hot Docs’ Special Presentations programs. It’s about human rights lawyer Lea Tsemel who has been defending Palestinians against all sorts of criminal charges for almost 50 years. The directors, Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaïche, weave this profile out of new and archival footage so that we get to know the 74-year-old lawyer (pictured above) who has never betrayed her principles.
Sun, Apr. 28 at 6:00 p.m. at Scotiabank 4
Mon, Apr. 29 at 3:30 p.m. at TBLB 2
Sun. May 5 at 6:15 p.m. at the Isabel Bader Theatre
Drag Kids gets its World Premiere screening on Sunday. The focus is on four preteens who practice lip-syncing and getting their runway walk down pat in preparation of doing their stuff during the annual Montreal Pride celebration.
Drag Kids screens:
Sun, Apr. 28 at 6:15 p.m. at TBLB 1
Tue. Apr. 30 at 1:15 p.m. at TBLB 3
Fri. May 3 at 3:45 p.m. at TBLB 1
Conviction is also a World Premiere screening tomorrow. Co-directed by Ariella Pahlke, Nance Ackerman and Teresa MacInnes, this 78-minute film sets out to understand why women have become the fastest-growing segment of the prison population in Canada. The twist in the film is that some women are given cameras and instead of responding to questions, tell their own stories, providing an unusually authentic point of view.
Sun, Apr. 28 at 6:30 p.m. at TBLB 2
Mon. Apr. 29 at 1:15 p.m. at TBLB 3
Thur. May 2 at 12:30 p.m. at the Hart House Theatre
A Place of Time and Tide is a very Canadian film. Co-directed by Sébastien Rist and Aude Leroux-Lévesque, this 78-minute exploration is set in the fishing villages along the Gulf of St. Lawrence in eastern Québec. If you thought the end of the cod fishing industry only impacted our Maritime provinces and particularly Newfoundland and Labrador, this film will be an eye-opener on a part of the country long overlooked, almost forgotten, where the older English-speaking population hope to preserve their traditional way of life, while the younger people look elsewhere for their future.
A Place of Time and Tide screens:
Sun. Apr. 28 at 8:00 p.m. at the Scotiabank 8
Sat. May 4 at t12:00 p.m. at the Scotiabank 8
There are two Canadian films at 9:00 p.m. tomorrow. Midnight Traveler is a USA-Qatar-UK-Canada co-production that is part of the World Showcase program. Running 87 minutes, it’s a tense true story about an Afghan director who turns the camera on his family after the Taliban puts a bounty on his head. The film captures their flight to freedom and safety and how in the face of possible death they remain bound by love.
Midnight Traveler screens:
Sun. Apr. 28 at 9:00 p.m. at the Scotiabank 4
Mon. Apr. 29 at 2:30 p.m. at at the Scotiabank 3
Sun. May 5 at 12:30 p.m. at the Aga Khan Museum
The other 9:00 p.m. screening is Propaganda. This is a powerful and eye-opening exploration of how we can be easily manipulated by powers trained to sell us something or make us believe something. Three artists, Kent Monkman, Shepard Fairey and Ai Weiwei (pictured above) roll out stories of how real events, real ideas, real threats can be twisted and sold back to us as something they are not. We live in a world where the American President can condemn the media as Fake News, and thrill his followers by using language unbecoming the office he holds. Bulls**t and propaganda surround us and this documentary is perfect for the times we now live in.
Sun. Apr. 28 at 9:00 p.m. at TBLB 1
Tue. Apr. 30 at 3:15 p.m. at Isabel Bader Theatre
Fri. May 3 at 9:00 p.m. at TBLB 2
The last Canadian doc is titled Illusions of Control. Directed by Shannon Walsh, this World Premiere is a far-ranging film that examines what we are doing and have done to the only planet we can inhabit. Stories of five women who deal with nuclear fallout, arsenic-laced water, desert dust storms in places like Fukushima, Chicago and Yellowknife. This is yet another film about the Anthropocene age and how we are destroying the planet and what survival in the future might look like.
Illusions of Control screens
Sun, Apr. 28 at 9:15 p.m. at TBLB 2
Tue. Apr. 30 at 2:30 p.m. at Scotiabank 3
Thur. May 2 at 10:00 a.m. at TBLB 3
Find more information and tickets online at Hot Docs.