Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival 2014

Hot Docs 2014: From the Bottom of the Lake Review

From the Bottom of the Lake Next A curious festival selection that seems more at home being a DVD special feature than an actual stand alone film, Clare Young’s in-depth, but very “inside baseball” look at the making of master filmmaker Jane Campion’s TV series Top of the Lake will only appeal to fans of […]

Hot Docs 2014: Fed Up Review

Fed Up Special Presentation One of the worst feelings in the world is watching an advocacy documentary that you actually agree with getting everything about its argument wrong. Absurdly reactionary and astoundingly narrow minded Stephanie Soechtig’s look at how sugar and the marketing of sugary products has been contributing to the obesity epidemic in America […]

Hot Docs 2014: Children 404 Review

Children 404 Special Presentation The effect of Pavel Loparev and Askold Kurov’s look at being young and gay in Putin’s Russia is like finding a mournful and sad plea for help stuffed inside a bottle set adrift at sea. A powerful assembly of first person looks at persecution, bullying, and being forced to live in […]

Hot Docs 2014: The Possibilities Are Endless Review

The Possibilities are Endless Next After suffering a hemorrhagic stroke, Scottish singer-songwriter Edwyn Collins ended up slipping into a coma. After waking, it was discovered quite quickly he had suffered acute aphasia, a condition that affects the brain and leads to problems using language.  Other than yes and no, the only other phrases Edwyn could […]

Hot Docs 2014: Love Me Review

Love Me Love, Factually Love Me examines the Ukrainian mail-order bride business (which has gotten even more lucrative in the past decade) and the single men willing to risk their money to find companionship. The film follows 6 men of varying backgrounds and motivations and examines their relationship to the industry and the women they […]

Hot Docs 2014: Domino Effect Review

Domino Effect Love, Factually Abkhazia is a mainly unrecognized state on the Black Sea that has claimed independence from Georgia. What used to be a frolicking beach getaway for lucky Soviets now sits in post-Communist ruin. But for Abkhazian Sports Minister Rafael everything appears to be turning around. His new young wife, Russian opera singer […]

Hot Docs 2014: The Basement Satellite Review

The Basement Satellite Next South Korean artist Hojun Song is determined to build the first civilian launched satellite. To accomplish this Hojun establishes the his own organization to fund the program. Sadly though, the only fundraising effort he undertakes is an ill-fated attempt to sell 10,000 T-Shirts with minimal advertising. The inexperienced Song then spends […]

Hot Docs 2014: Interview – Neil Berkeley

Much like the subject of his second feature documentary, Neil Berkeley is on the road around midday in Southern California. I can occasionally hear road noise and his blinker in the background as he talks on his hands free connection while I’m on the other end in Toronto. It’s oddly fitting and leads to a […]

Hot Docs 2014: Everything Will Be Review

Everything Will Be Canadian Spectrum Julia Kwan’s look at a rapidly disappearing way of life in Vancouver’s Chinatown is a vital and vibrant piece of work for anyone worried about gentrification or the need for convenience over character. It’s an elegy, not a eulogy, but it could very soon be seen as one. With a […]

Hot Docs 2014: Sleepless in New York Review

Sleepless in New York Love, Factually Nicely balancing the pain of heartbreak (and sometimes the creepiness and schadenfreude) of a relationship ending with a spattering of science and anthropology, Academy Award nominee Christian Frei’s latest outing is an unpretentious series of snapshots dedicated towards a better understanding of the ending of dreams and the struggles […]

Hot Docs 2014: Interview – Adam Rifkin

Adam Rifkin has directed and written films of every genre possible, but this is the first time he has ever made a film about someone so close to him that he actually considers them family. For the documentary Giuseppe Makes a Movie (debuting at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival this week), the usually […]

Hot Docs 2014: Songs for Alexis Review

Songs for Alexis Made in Denmark The romance at the heart of Elvira Lind’s Songs for Alexis might feature a teenage trans man and his girlfriend, but it’s appeal goes far beyond just being an LGBT-centred documentary. It’s such a painfully realistic look at how being a teenager in love can be one of the […]

Hot Docs 2014: The Agreement Review

The Agreement Made in Denmark A practically Strangelove-ian, low-fi fly on the wall look at what seems like an inconsequential border dispute takes centre stage in this darkly humorous political documentary that once again serves to prove that many mock United Nations found in high schools are as equally effective as the real governing bodies […]

Hot Docs 2014: Actress Review

Actress International Spectrum The actual point of director Robert Greene and actress Brandy Burre (best known for a recurring role on The Wire) is hard to discern, but intriguing to think about. Probably one of the only films to ever cross mumblecore fictional filmmaking with a documentary profile piece, the one thing that is for […]

Hot Docs 2014: The Backward Class Review

The Backward Class Canadian Spectrum Far removed from the slums and almost pathetically impoverished outlying areas of Bangalore, India there’s a residential school refuge for students who wish to rise above the lowly and antiquated caste they were born into (and deemed “untouchable”). Filmmaker Madeleine Grant goes inside the Shanti Bhavan school to profile and […]