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article imageOp-Ed: The films you should be seeing at Toronto's Hot Docs 2015

By Michael Thomas     Apr 16, 2015 in Entertainment
North America's largest documentary film festival is slated to hit Toronto from April 23-May 3, and as usual there's a plethora of options. Here are some suggestions on what you should check out.
Hot Docs in 2015 will be a huge event as always, showcasing 210 from 44 countries. Additionally, there will be more than 200 special guests, and not just directors — Howie Mandel, Terry Jones and comedian Tig Notaro are just a few examples.
Editor' Note: Digital Journal's Twitter feed will be interviewing Hot Docs on Monday April 20 at 1pmET and we invite you to join the action by tweeting us questions to ask Hot Docs during that Q&A:
The Twitter Chat between @DIgitalJournal and @HotDocs is scheduled for April 20 2015 at 1pmET
The Twitter Chat between @DIgitalJournal and @HotDocs is scheduled for April 20 2015 at 1pmET
Here are some films coming to Hot Docs 2015 worth checking out.
The Amina Profile
An online romance between two women — one in Montreal, the other in Damascus — takes on a strange turn when the titular Amina vanishes without a trace due to the crackdown in Syria. Sure to shed light on the Syrian situation and the ambiguity of online presence, this is sure to be an interesting concoction.
The Barkley Marathons: The Race that Eats its Young
There are marathons and then there's this. Only 10 people have finished this 60-hour race in 25 years, and everything about it seems baffling. Who is the guy who founded this race, and why did he? Why is entry specifically $1.60? Many questions will arise, and we hope this documentary does it best to answer them.
Hot Docs this year has a "Show Me the Funny" selection of films, and this one deals with a man still trying to catch his big break. Somewhere along the way he ends up befriending Howie Mandel, and this documentary will likely show the unpleasant side of show business. Mandel himself will actually be present at at least one screening.
Deep Web
Silk Road, the hidden, possibly illegal online marketplace is one of the few aspects of the "Dark Net" that regularly gets media coverage. This film will likely shine more of a light into the community surrounding it and perhaps even the inner workings of Silk Road.
Wrestling takes on a whole new dimension in this documentary about a Japanese league where able-bodied people fight the disabled. But it's not some kind of freak show, it's apparently about smashing stereotypes. We'll follow a champion's quest to finally move away from the league while also checking out the other participants, like a husband and wife who fight each other.
Finders Keepers
What could be more strange to behold than a documentary about a legal battle over a detached foot? Bryan Carberry and Clay Tweel tell the story of a man who discovers a human calf and foot and wants to turn it into a tourist attraction. The problem? A man claims to own the foot and wants it back.
Hadwin's Judgement
When Grant Hadwin cut down a massive, old and important tree in B.C., it seemed like all of Canada mourned its loss. The story became a book by John Vaillant, and now the documentary based on it is seeing the light of day.
Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck
Intended to be the definitive documentary on Nirvana's enigmatic front-man, it doesn't seem to want to force anything down a viewer's throat, instead letting Cobain's own work speak for itself. His daughter, Frances Bean Cobain, was involved with the project, and somewhat ironically, is not a fan of the band.
Love Between the Covers
What is the best-selling type of book? Self-help? Science fiction? Nope, romance. This documentary examines the best selling — but stigmatized — genre that has made names like Nora Roberts a huge hit.
Monty Python: The Meaning of Live
The theatre troupe needs no introduction, and this film will provide some more insight into its inner workings. It follows the surviving members as they reunited for this first show in nearly three-and-a-half decades.
No Place to Hide: The Rehtaeh Parsons Story
The Rehtaeh Parson case ignited a furious debate over cyberbullying. It was so well-known in Canada that courts allowed Parsons' name to be used in media reports during the trial of the men accused of filming her. The documentary will go in-depth with Parsons' family and their quest to find justice for their daughter.
Orion: The Man Who Would Be King
Everyone knows the music business is a cruel one, but this documentary proves to be it can be equally as strange. A man wants to be a famous singer, but music execs think he sounds too much like Elvis. That is, until a producer decides the man should become masked singer Orion, who may or may not be Elvis returned from the grave. Much weirdness can be expected here.
Radical Grace
Catholicism is arguably more prevalent in the news these days thanks to the charismatic Pope Francis, but the women of this documentary will prove to be much more controversial. It follows three nuns who want achieve such goals as integrating ex-convicts back into society and attempt to defy the church's "old boys club." Things will get even more interesting when the Vatican launches an investigation into their activities.
Rolling Papers
A film about the intersection of marijuana and media. When Colorado legalized marijuana, the Denver Post created the position of marijuana editor. How does these two worlds combine?
The Sandwich Nazi
An "Arab Muslim Lebanese owner of a Scandinavian deli with a French name" is the focus of this film. The deli in question promises verbal abuse and possibly nudity. We don't really need to say any more to sell this, do we?
Sugar Coated
An inside look in the U.S. sugar industry. The film claims that the industry hides sugar's inherent dangers, and has been doing so well for years — until crusaders against sugar have started to take action.
This is only a small taste of what to come. To check out all the films in the lineup, check out the Hot Docs website.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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