Aim For The Roses - Hot Docs 2016

Hot Docs 2016: 5 Dorky Documentaries

The 2016 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival is in full swing!

Featuring over 232 films from 51 countries around the world, there’s a heck of a lot to see – and not nearly enough time to see it all. With that in mind, Dork Shelf wants to give our readers some options if they’re looking to take in a movie during the fest.

Below is our list of five documentaries that we believe are must-sees at Hot Docs 2016.

De Palma – Noah Baumbach, Jake Paltrow

Brian De Palma goes through his career film by film, sharing anecdotes and observations. Every now and then a particular title might bring up a certain theme, actor, composer, or bit of autobiography for De Palma to reflect on. But for the most part, it’s a career-long history lesson punctuated by clips of the director’s finest set pieces and without a single other voice involved. Pure movie nerd stuff. Read our full review here

The Slippers – Morgan White

“A must-see, not only for every devoted Wizard of Oz fan but for every film lover at large, The Slippers tells the wondrous story of the most iconic footwear in American cinema: Dorothy’s ruby red slippers.”

Stay tuned for our full review! 

Wizard Mode – Nathan Drillot, Jeff Petry

A fascinating look at the world of competitive pinball, Wizard Mode is also an intimate portrait of a young man living with autism. The film follows Canadian pinball champion Robert Gagno, one of the world’s best players, as he travels the competitive circuit in North America. Although he’s a certified pinball wiz, Gagno at times struggles with many things that most take for granted, like social interactions or job interviews. Gagno’s pursuit of pinball glory and his first steps into adulthood go hand in hand in this endearing doc that’s a must for fans of video games or real-life coming-of-age stories. Featuring music by Mac Demarco.  Stay tuned for our full review! 

Aim For The Roses – John Bolton

A movie about an album about a stunt, Aim For The Roses is a musical docudrama that tells the story of musician Mark Haney and his 2008 experimental album based on stuntman Ken Carter’s 1981 attempt to jump the Saint Lawrence River in a rocket car. If you enjoy understanding musical process or watching fast cars go off ramps, there’s something here for you. If you like interesting stories told in ways that push the boundaries of the medium, this movie should be high on your list of must-sees at Hot Docs 2016. Aim For The Roses is one of the most unusual and strangely charming films to grace the festival in years. Read our full review here 

Fear Itself  – Charlie Lyne

Oddly hypnotic and fascinating, Fear Itself is the second compilation essay film by director Charlie Lyne, following his bizarrely entertaining exploration of teen movie culture Beyond Clueless. This time Lyne’s subject is horror movies and how their unique rhythms and themes explore the nature of fear within our culture. Lyne has managed to make an essay film about horror flicks that is if not outright scary, at least effectively unnerving. That’s an interesting and unique achievement in and of itself. Read our full review here 

The 2016 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival runs from April 28 to May 8.

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