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Hot docs News

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.

Review: 'The Creator of the Jungle' is an ode to art Special

On a basic level, 'The Creator of the Jungle' is a story about a man who builds huge wooden structures and stars in homemade Tarzan movies. On a thematic level, it's about the unrelenting pursuit of art that lasts.

Review: 'The Overnighters' is a moving story of faith and hypocrisy Special

If you're out of work but could make a six-figure salary elsewhere, would you move? But more importantly, will "elsewhere" be willing to take you in? Jesse Moss takes viewers into Williston, North Dakota in his moving doc, 'The Overnighters.'

Review: Looking for Oscar at Hot Docs

Toronto - How to choose movies when attending a film festival? I tend to build three columns: one for directors with track records I like; one for obscure films where I might discover new talent; and one for films that smell of Oscar glory.

Review: 'The Joe Show' may boil your blood Special

Joe Arpaio is probably the most infamous sheriff in all of the United States. Unsurprisingly, 'The Joe Show' feeds well off the controversy to build a portrait of a loved and hated public figure,

Review: Keeping it Canadian at Hot Docs

Toronto - This week marked the inaugural National Canadian Film Day, presented by REEL CANADA and sponsored by the CBC, Cineplex and Scotiabank, among many others. To commemorate the event, here are notes on two standout Canadian-produced docs I caught mid-week.

Review: 'Point and Shoot' is a thorough adventure Special

At some point in our lives we all wish we were out in the world having adventures. Matthew VanDyke took this to its logical extreme, and 'Point and Shoot' chronicles his transition from adventurer to revolutionary.

Review: Hot Docs makes the world smaller one film at a time Special

Hot Docs Film Festival showcases some of the best documentaries from around the world. We look at ‘Beijing Ants’; ‘The Condemned’; ‘The Engineer’; and ‘No Lullaby.’

Review: Hot Docs explores outsiders in foreign places Special

Nothing makes for more interesting viewing than the clash of two cultures; in 'Wonder World of Ice,' it's a group of Chinese sculptors living in a slow-moving Finnish town. In 'Bugarach,' a French town gets unwanted attention from New Age fanatics.

'Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case' looks at the human behind the artist Special

'Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case' is a new documentary tracing the Chinese artist’s life post-incarceration. Its filmmaker says you don’t have to love Ai’s art to appreciate the story of a human being facing incredible odds.

‘The Sheik’ producers clothesline 'shocking' article

Producers of ‘The Sheik’ respond to an unflattering article in the National Post that they suspect was a politically-motivated attempt to embarrass Toronto mayoral candidate Olivia Chow.

Review: Hot Docs provides vivid reminders of the world’s darker affairs Special

High-profile subjects are generally included in Hot Docs Film Festival’s “Special Presentations” programme. We look at ‘Concerning Violence’; ‘Silenced’; and ‘Watchers of the Sky.’

Review: Globetrotting at Hot Docs to overlooked places

Toronto - Perhaps the greatest value of documentaries is their ability to help us bring empathy to the lives and the values of people who are different than we are. "Virunga" and "Happiness" are two shining examples, screening at the Hot Docs Film Festival.

Review: 'Hotline' is all about human connections Special

Given the advancement of technology and the state of the modern economy, it seems like the volume of hotline calling should be falling. In fact, call rates are on the rise, and 'Hotline' shows why they're still relevant.

Review: 'Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case' lights fires Special

It's impossible to talk about Ai Weiwei's art on its own. "I'm not a political artist, I'm just political," Ai says at one point in Andreas Johnsen's film, and it perfectly sums up the outspoken artist.

Review: Hot Docs looks at the truth behind the legends of men Special

One of the criteria for inclusion in the Hot Docs Film Festival “Special Presentations” programme is high-profile subjects. We look at ‘Nelson Mandela: The Myth and Me’; ‘The Notorious Mr. Bout’; and ‘Whitey: United States of America v. Jame
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Hot Docs
Scene from  Radical Grace
Scene from 'Radical Grace'
Courtesy Hot Docs
Scene from  Doglegs
Scene from 'Doglegs'
Courtesy Hot Docs
Jonathon Narducci s  Love Me  screens as part of 2014 Hot Docs festival.
Jonathon Narducci's "Love Me" screens as part of 2014 Hot Docs festival.
Jonathon Narducci
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Hot Docs
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Hot Docs
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Hot Docs
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Hot Docs
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Hot Docs
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Hot Docs
Scene from  Gayby Baby
Scene from 'Gayby Baby'
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
A still from the documentary film Indie Game: The Movie
A still from the documentary film Indie Game: The Movie
Courtesy Hot Docs
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Hot Docs
Scene from  Doglegs
Scene from 'Doglegs'
Courtesy Hot Docs
Scene from  Bugarach
Scene from 'Bugarach'
Courtesy Hot Docs
Scene from  Out of Mind  Out of Sight
Scene from 'Out of Mind, Out of Sight'
Courtesy Hot Docs
A still from the film We Are Legion about the Anonymous hacktivists
A still from the film We Are Legion about the Anonymous hacktivists
Courtesy Hot Docs
 Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case  profiles the Chinese artist from 2010 to 2012.
'Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case' profiles the Chinese artist from 2010 to 2012.
International Film Circuit / Andreas Johnson