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article imageHot Docs Fest Stars Tyson, Borat Haters, Hypocritical Politicians

By David Silverberg     Apr 28, 2009 in Entertainment
The Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival will give Torontonians a medley of subjects: a Mike Tyson biopic, an investigative look into secretly queer politicians, and how people change once they've been hit by lightning.
Known as one of the most popular documentary festivals in the world, Hot Docs will be touching down at Toronto cinemas from April 30 to May 10. This well-regarded fest will showcase 171 documentaries from 39 countries, debuting world and Canada premiers.
As it accomplishes every year, Hot Docs offers films born from various perspectives and voices. But catching all the films can be a difficult task for even the most dedicated doc lover. presents a preview of the films bringing in the most buzz, whether they're focused on boxing stars or private schools or iPod designers.
Act of God
The husband-and-wife team behind 2007's Manufactured Landscapes return for a fascinating peek into people who get struck by lightning. This unique experience is explained by victims from across the world, giving an intimate look into this life-changing event. It includes rarely seen videos of lightning crackling against trees and buildings -- this film might be worth seeing for the visuals alone.
Lightning striking
Courtesy Hot Docs Festival
When We Were Boys
Remember junior high? But what about junior high in a private school? That's the centrepiece of Sarah Goodman's doc following teens at Toronto's Royal St. George College. The doc takes a fly-on-the-wall approach and just watches the kids rebel against teachers, insult each other, chill out with Guitar Hero and dance with girls at the grad party. A good way to relive your youth.
Recently, Jamie Foxx said this Mike Tyson documentary is an eye-opening film profiling a man often misunderstood. Tyson gets its Canadian debut at Hot Docs, and it will undoubtedly attract boxing fans, Tyson lovers and documentary afficionados interested in relishing what the fighter says about love, regret and the future. You won't forget the scene of hard-nosed Tyson walking along a beach reciting poetry.
A  phone  on display in film Objectified
Designing objects is the focus of the new doc Objectified
Courtesy Hot Docs Festival
The director behind the font-focused Helvetica trains his lens on the many well-designed objects dotting our marketplace. Objectified wonders what makes design so integral to everything from technology to living spaces to household products. Apple's Jonathan Ive, and Braun's Dieter Rams share their philosophies and their blueprints, a must-see for engineers or hardware geeks.
Carmen Meets Borat
When the Borat film crew to the tiny rural village of Glod, Romania, the homely residents were excited. But once they saw how the film portrayed them as rapists and murderers, they decided to fight back. Carmen Meets Borat uses a 17-year-old villager at the main subject to tell the story of Glod's revenge plot. Nothing like a $30-million lawsuit against a Hollywood studio to bring a town together.
This doc features the hypocrisy of closeted politicians who campaign against the LGBT community they covertly belong to. It will be sure to send shockwaves across political observers who are unaware of the duplicity hidden in the closet of many Republicans and Democrats. Outrage also tracks the media's complicity in this cover-up.
Scene from South Korean doc Action Boys
Scene from South Korean doc Action Boys
Courtesy Hot Docs Festival
Action Boys
Haven't you always wanted to learn about the wild chaos swirling inside a South Korean stunt school? Now you can, thanks to Action Boys, which profiles graduates of a school that trains people to become action stars in Korean films. There's broken bones, cuts, bruised egos, and all the drama you'd expect in a testosterone-charged action-star school.
Let's Make Money
A timely documentary if there ever was one, Let's Make Money dissects the financial systems across the world to discover what kind of ravenous consumption led to the economic collapse. The director did an impressive job in accessing some difficult subjects, such as major players in the finance and government policy sectors. Checking out this film might not pull you out of debt, but it'll give you a clearer picture of how the world got there.
A woman laughing
A woman laughing
Courtesy Hot Docs Festival
Albert Nerenberg is best known for his humourous Let's All Hate Toronto and Stupidity, both films laden with laughs. Now he probes the meaning behind the everyday chuckle in Laughology, where he interviews neurologists, yoga teachers and "laughing groups" to find out the benefits of expressing open-mouthed joy. He also talks to the man with the most contagious laugh in the world. Sounds like a quirky subject, but it should leave you laughing by the film credits. also recommends The Cove (Japan is accused of killing healthy dolphins), Zombie Girl (a teen tries to make a feature length film about zombies), Defamation (the rise of anti-Semitism around the world), Reporter (a journalist covers disaster zones in Congo) and Waterlife (how the water in the Great Lakes is treated and abused).
For more info on Hot Docs films, schedule and order options, visit
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