Hot Docs 2014

Hot Docs 2014: Lady Valor: The Kristin Beck Story

Lady Valor: The Kristin Beck Story Special Presentations For almost twenty years, Navy SEAL Christopher Beck served his country with an almost suicidal desire to be the best and bravest man in his squadron. When his time in the military was over, however, Chris became Kristin, a transgendered woman who often struggled to keep her […]

Hot Docs 2014: The Last Season Review

The Last Season World Showcase Sara Dosa dives into the world of rare mushroom hunters in the Pacific Northwest, for a disarmingly touching look at friendship and alternative family dynamic in this surprisingly lovely, humorous, and powerful documentary. Every year, migratory workers from all over the country (predominantly of Laotian or Thai descent) converge on […]

Hot Docs 2014: The Great Invisible Review

The Great Invisible Special Presentations There’s the obvious destruction of wildlife and commerce (and human deaths) that came in the wake of the disastrous BP Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and spill in April of 2010, but Margaret Brown goes poetically and humanely beneath the surface of the slick to show what still survives as […]

Hot Docs 2014: Happy Valley Review

Happy Valley Special Presentations Amir Bar-Lev (The Tillman Story, My Kid Could Pain That!) takes a look at two very murky conflicts at play in the Jerry Sandusky/Penn State Football sex abuse scandal: being a supporter vs. being a part of a cult of personality and moral guilt vs. legal guilt. It’s a complex and […]

Hot Docs 2014: Beyond Clueless Review

Beyond Clueless Nightvision UK film critic Charlie Lyne looks at the teen movie craze of the mid-to-late 90s and early aughts and the universal time tested themes within via a poignant and vibrant visual essay film. Although featuring remarkably little of the titular film (although its influence looms large over the proceedings), Lyne looks at […]

Hot Docs 2014: Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story Review

Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story Canadian Spectrum Finally, a food advocacy stunt documentary where people not only immediately regret their project, but one that actually delivers a clear, coherent, easily agreeable thesis without seeming didactic or menacing. Grant Baldwin and Jenny Rustemeyer outdo their previous look at waste (The Clean Bin Project) with […]

Hot Docs 2014: Happiness Review

Happiness Special Presentation At times skewing towards the disingenuous and manufactured (especially in its strange regard to manufactured sound and the presentation of a timeline), this still overall winning look at life in rural Bhutan manages plenty of fascinating moments amid French filmmaker Thomas Balmès’s gorgeously picturesque setting. Although television and the internet were finally […]

Hot Docs 2014: Interview – Dennis Mohr

It’s a beautiful, sunny morning outside a downtown Toronto basement office and filmmaker Dennis Mohr is enjoying a patch of early morning sunlight on a couch with books and photographs laid out in front of him full of pictures of sometimes very nasty people from the past and present. It’s a vast collection of research […]

Hot Docs 2014: Interview – Kris Kaczor

Filmmaker Kris Kaczor travelled to Concord, Massachusetts – home of historically rich battleground and famous transcendentalist writers – to document a different kind of revolution and groundswell of environmental activity. Only this time instead of taxation without representation or the protecting of historic woodlands, the contention is over bottles of water and the battle field […]

Hot Docs 2014: Vessel Review

Vessel World Showcase This powerful story of Dutch doctor and women’s rights activist Rebecca Gomperts and her Women on Waves campaign would make for a great documentary just by examining what they do every year, but in the hand of Diana Whitten – who devoted a whopping seven years of her life to making and […]

Hot Docs 2014: The Creator of the Jungle Review

The Creator of the Jungle Next For over 45 years, one of the world’s best unknown artists has been toiling away in the Spanish forests. Garrell (real name Josep Pijula) has crafted some of the most gorgeous hidden structures known to man: sky high towers built up in the trees, enormous and elaborate labyrinths,  and […]

Hot Docs 2014: Alfred and Jakobine Review

Alfred and Jakobine Love, Factually If you were just suddenly dumped quite unceremoniously and without warning after spending six years with someone and having their kid, could you forgive them decades later as a final act of love? That’s the tough questing being raised by filmmakers Jonathan Howells and Tom Roberts in this fascinatingly nostalgic […]

Hot Docs 2014: To Be Takei Review

To Be Takei Special Presentations While director Jennifer Kroot and co-director/editor Bill Webber do a fine job of showcasing what makes actor, writer, and human rights activist George Takei such a fascinating and important historical figure when it comes to Asian and gay actors, the movie they made around him is a maddeningly disjointed mess. […]

Hot Docs 2014: In Country Review

In Country World Showcase The woods outside of Salem, Oregon might be the last place one might expect to see a re-enactment of a Vietnam war battle, but for a dedicated band of weekend warrior brothers (many of who are actual veterans of foreign wars from Vietnam to Iraq) in Delta Company 2/5, it’s a […]

Hot Docs 2014: Bronx Obama Review

Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have strange jobs thrust upon them because they are broke and look like somebody who has achieved greatness. Bronx Obama is an excellent documentary about how circumstances and necessity led Louis Ortiz down an unusual life path. Like so many blue collared workers, Ortiz found himself […]