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Hot docs News

Review: Hot Docs finds happiness in less than 60 minutes Special

In these polar opposite Hot Docs selections, “The Pursuit of Happiness” can be summed up for its subjects in less than an hour.

Review: Hot Docs makes ‘em laugh Special

Hot Docs lightens the mood with a couple of comedic selections in its “Special Presentations” section, featuring innovators from the screen and stage.

Review: There’s no two films alike in Hot Docs’ World Showcase Special

Hot Docs’ “World Showcase” includes a variety of selections that provide a glimpse of significant and/or interesting events from around the world.

Review: Canada brings a woman’s perspective to Hot Docs Special

Two films in Hot Docs’ “Canadian Spectrum” explore women’s participation in war, past and present, voluntary and involuntary.

Review: Transgender women look within for 'The Pearl' Special

Coming out as a transgender man or woman isn't easy in any circumstance, but 'The Pearl' follows four people who came out as trans women later in life.

Review: Fraud meets the wild world of wine in 'Sour Grapes' Special

When something gets popular enough, it seems to invite a number of eccentric personalities and its market becomes an elite club. 'Sour Grapes' zooms in on the lucrative wine market and a fraud that shakes it to its core.

Review: Cheerleading is pain and personal struggle in 'Cheer Up' Special

Finland's worst cheerleading team, located in the Arctic circle, try really hard but never win competitions. Years of inspirational sports films seem to dictate where this documentary should end, but that's not the story at all.

Review: 'God Knows Where I Am' is a poetic ode to a struggling woman Special

For four months, a woman suffering from mental illness and expelled from New Hampshire's mental-health system lived in a little-used New Hampshire home, surviving on apples and rainwater.

Review: Found footage morphs into something sinister in 'Fraud' Special

It's only natural that since the advent of YouTube, any type of footage feels like fair game to upload to YouTube. One man's YouTube videos, however, reveal something sinister.

Review: Hot Docs provides new perspectives on familiar subjects Special

Werner Herzog returns to Hot Docs with a 10-part reflection on the internet, which will screen next to the latest explorations of scientology and abortion law in the U.S.

Review: 'How to Prepare For Prison' is an intense tearjerker Special

Most people can't imagine what goes through someone's mind when they are facing a prison sentence. 'How to Prepare For Prison' follows three people who are in that exact situation.

Review: 'Girls Don't Fly' is a complex tale of passion and colonialism Special

A group of girls in Ghana are training to become pilots, under the tutelage of a British man who started his school as a charity. But something insidious worms its way through this uplifting narrative.

Review: Not all Hot Docs’ films are traditional documentaries Special

“Nightvision” is the Hot Docs programme designed for festivalgoers seeking films that deal with outside of the box subjects.

Review: 'In the Shadow of the Hill' gives a voice to Brazil's favelas Special

'In the Shadow of the Hill' feels like it should be some kind of Orwellian fiction — it details a place where police make residents feel less safe all in the name of "pacification."

Review: Control is a major theme at Hot Docs 2016 Special

“Command + Control” is an intriguing programme at Hot Docs that includes in-depth investigations, which explore the effects of various forms of domination.

Review: 'Nuestro Monte Luna' is a coming-of-age film with bullfighting Special

'Nuestro Monte Luna' is ostensibly about bullfighting, but the film manages to be about so much more as it details the lives of the people in a small Colombian town.

Review: 'TransFatty Lives' is an artist's journey with ALS Special

Patrick O'Brien, up until 2005, was known for his weird art films and projects, but it's all put in jeopardy when he finds out he has ALS.

Review: 'Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle' highlights the Taser problem Special

When Tom and Rick Smith invented the Taser M26 model, they had every intention of giving police a non-lethal alternative to guns. As 'Tom Swift and His Electrical Rifle' shows, however, those intentions didn't translate to perfect safety.

Review: 'Placebo' finds no easy antidote at medical school Special

Mixing animation and live-action, 'Placebo' is an undercover documentary that tries to, with some success, bring light to a troubling student culture at India's most prestigious medical school.

Review: 'Gayby Baby' is a slice of life with a message Special

Though the gay marriage debate has been settled in some places, in Australia it still rages. One documentary examines same-sex parents through the eyes of children.

Review: 'Radical Grace' wants to shake up the Catholic church Special

In 2008, the Vatican, concerned about a "feminist spirit" in U.S. nuns, launched two separate investigations. 'Radical Grace' follows three "radical" nuns as they demand change within the Catholic church.

Review: 'Thank You For Playing' is painful but essential watching Special

When Ryan Green's young son is diagnosed with cancer, he begins to develop a video game based on the highs and lows of his experience.

Review: 'Doglegs' looks at the disabled in an entirely new way Special

A documentary about a Tokyo wrestling league populated with disabled fighters is sure to raise a few eyebrows. But director Heath Cozens empowers this cast of characters and challenges perspectives on the disabled.

Review: Homeless buskers are the endearing subjects of 'Lowdown Tracks' Special

In Toronto, a common pedestrian experience is walking around and ignoring the city's homeless population. 'Lowdown Tracks' looks at several homeless subjects trying to make some money busking.

Review: 'Committed' is about one man's pursuit of showbiz success Special

A documentary nearly a decade-and-a-half in the making, 'Committed' tells the story of a man who wants to be a performer. His life takes an interesting turn when he meets Howie Mandel.

Review: See NYC's 'Cannibal cop' in a different light in 'Thought Crimes' Special

If someone were to go into an online chat room or message board and fantasize about kidnapping and cannibalizing women, but never acts on it, has this person committed a crime?

Review: 'A Woman Like Me' is a unique cancer journey Special

When Alex Sichel found out she had breast cancer — an incurable form, at that — she began to work through accepting her diagnosis with a film mirroring her life.

Review: 'Mussa' is a moving look at African refugees in Israel Special

For a documentary with a mostly silent protagonist, 'Mussa' has a lot to say about Israeli society and the country's attitude towards African refugees.

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

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.

Review: 'Out of Mind, Out of Sight' removes the stigma of mental illness Special

Could you forgive your brother if he killed your mother? What if he did so because he was schizophrenic? John Kastner's 'Out of Mind, Out of Sight' is a moving and empathetic look into a Brockville, Ont. mental institution.
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A scene from  Under the Sun
A scene from 'Under the Sun'
Hot Docs
Diane Beaver  a major subject in the film The Guantanamo Trap
Diane Beaver, a major subject in the film The Guantanamo Trap
Hot Docs
A scene from  Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You
A scene from 'Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You'
Hot Docs
Scene from  Lowdown Tracks
Scene from 'Lowdown Tracks'
Courtesy Hot Docs
A scene from  The Apology
A scene from 'The Apology'
Hot Docs
A scene from Jonathon Narducci s  Love Me  screened at 2014  Hot Docs Festival  in Toronto
A scene from Jonathon Narducci's "Love Me" screened at 2014 'Hot Docs Festival' in Toronto
Jonathon Narducci
Scene from  Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle
Scene from 'Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle'
Courtesy Hot Docs
A pic of the prison from The Guantanamo Trap  a documentary film about the famed Cuban detention cen...
A pic of the prison from The Guantanamo Trap, a documentary film about the famed Cuban detention centre.
Courtesy Hot Docs
Scene from  Placebo
Scene from 'Placebo'
Courtesy Hot Docs
Untitled
Hot Docs
Jackie Siegel  the star of the Queen of Versailles film
Jackie Siegel, the star of the Queen of Versailles film
Courtesy Hot Docs
A scene from  Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World
A scene from 'Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World'
Hot Docs
Still from  God Knows Where I Am
Still from 'God Knows Where I Am'
Hot Docs
Scene from  Doglegs
Scene from 'Doglegs'
Courtesy Hot Docs
A scene from  Trapped
A scene from 'Trapped'
Hot Docs
A scene from  Tickled
A scene from 'Tickled'
Hot Docs
A still from the documentary film Indie Game: The Movie
A still from the documentary film Indie Game: The Movie
Courtesy Hot Docs
Untitled
Hot Docs
Untitled
Hot Docs
Scene from  Bugarach
Scene from 'Bugarach'
Courtesy Hot Docs