Just after opening their brand new flagship theatre, the Hot Docs International Documentary Festival used the new/old building to announce their slate of 189 films for their 2012 festival. This year’s festival, running from April 26th to May 6th features documentaries in 11 different programs from over 50 countries.
The festival kicks off on the 26th with two screenings of American director Alison Klayman’s Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry. at the Bloor Hot Docs cinema (at 6:30pm and 9:30pm). The film takes an intimate look at Chinese activist and designer Weiwei, who served as a consultant for the design of Beijing’s 2008 Olympics and was branded by ArtForum as being the most influential designer in the world. All of this while he remains an outspoken rabble rouser in his own country and following his subsequent arrest and detainment.
The Special Presentation programme brings some nerdy appeal with the Canadian premiere of the much buzzed about Sundance hit Indie Game: The Movie. Also of note in the high profile programme are director Bart Layton’s The Imposter (about a long missing teenager with a dark and unusual secret) and Kevin McDonald’s long anticipated, lengthy, and comprehensive Bob Marley documentary, Marley.
The Canadian Spectrum features some of the country’s finest filmmakers going around the globe in search of interesting stories, including Christy Garland’s The Bastard Sings the Sweetest Song, a tale of a Guyanese man and his relationship to his alcoholic mother, and The Frog Princes, an inspiring tale of one man with down syndrome determined to pull off directing a stage production of The Frog and the Princess.
The World Showcase and International Spectrum comes stacked with some of the best documentaries from around the world with an entire third program devoted specifically to films from Southeastern Europe. There’s also the Rise Against programme for the more politcally inclined, which includes Brian Knappenberger’s look at hacktivists We Are Legion.
The more fun loving crowds will likely flock to the music and art minded Next programme and the late night Nightvision programming. The Next series features films about LCD Soundsystem (Shut Up and Play the Hits), Rick Springfield fans (An Affair of the Heart), and James Brown impersonators (Charles Bradley: Soul of America), while Nightvision includes chilling looks at Jeffrey Dahmer (Jeff) and James Franco’s inexplicable time on General Hospital (Francophrenia (Or Don’t Kill Me, I Know Where the Baby Is)).
There’s also a classic doc screening series looking at movies about making movies called Documentary Plays Itself. It’s a rare chance to watch the unmaking of Terry Gilliam’s Don Quixote in Lost in La Mancha on the big screen, alongside Phie Ambo’s Nicholas Winding Refn profile piece Gambler, and the wonderful Los Angeles Plays Itself, about how the city of angels comes across on film.
For more information on films and ticketing for on one of Toronto’s greatest festivals, head on over to hotdocs.ca.