Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival 2014

Hot Docs 2014: Come Worry With Us! Review

Come Worry With Us! Next One doesn’t have to be a fan of the post-rock orchestral stylings of Montreal’s Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra to enjoy or understand this equally amusing and dramatic anti-rock doc from Helene Klodawsky. It’s a keenly observant and universally relatable story of loving parents who want to do right […]

Hot Docs 2014: The Writer with No Hands Review

The Writer with No Hands Nightvision In 1997 screenwriter Raw Deal screenwriter Gary DeVore disappeared. A year later his body was found submerged in the California aqueduct without his hands. No one knows what happened, but British writer Matthew Alford has been obsessed with the case for years. He’s convinced that Alford was murdered as […]

Hot Docs 2014: Whitey: The United States v. James J. Bulger Review

Whitey: The United States v. James J. Bulger Special Presentations Paradise Lost trilogy filmmaker Joe Berlinger looks at one of the most notorious and wanted gangsters in US history: James “Whitey” Bulger, the notoriously iron fisted and widely feared head of Boston’s Irish mob who disappeared almost without a trace in 1994 until his capture […]

Hot Docs 2014: The Theory of Happiness Review

The Theory of Happiness Canadian Spectrum Gregory Gan’s The Theory of Happiness is a magnetic, upsetting, consistently good looking and compelling documentary about a Ukrainian math cult. A journal of his time spent as a newbie in P.O.R.T.O.S. – a collective based on a spiritual math equation for happiness – this documentary starts off as […]

Hot Docs 2014: Super Duper Alice Cooper Review

Super Duper Alice Cooper Special Presentations/Hot Docs Live Special Event Teaming Monkey Warfare director Reginald Harkema with rock doc royalty Sam Dunn and Scot McFayden (Metal: A Head Bangers Journey, Metal Evolution), this supposed first ever “rock doc” takes archival footage and sound bites to tell the story of Detroit born Vincent Furnier and his […]

Hot Docs 2014: Self(Less) Portrait Review

Self(less) Portrait Canadian Spectrum At the outset, Self(less) Portrait is alluring, presenting a collection of French-Canadian interview subjects telling anecdotes and personal secrets, while director Danic Champoux visually plays with forms or darkness and light. There’s a sense of mystery at the top of the film that proves intriguing, but quickly this is revealed as […]

Hot Docs 2014: The Sheik Review

The Sheik Special Presentations Whether you know him from the WWE, Howard Stern, YouTube, or Twitter, chances are you’ve got a special place in your heart for the Iron Sheik. He was one of the greatest wrestlers who ever lived and a star with a tragic fall from grace. This new documentary covers it all, […]

Hot Docs 2014: Rich Hill Review

Rich Hill Special Presentations This look at growing up poor in Middle America would make for an excellent double bill with this year’s (admittedly more successful) The Overnighters, but Andrew Droz Palermo and Tracy Droz Tragos’ Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner offers up a poignant and often bittersweet look at three underprivileged at risk teenage […]

Hot Docs 2014: Red Lines Review

Red Lines World Showcase In the fight to bring democracy and peace to war torn Syria, two activists from vastly different backgrounds have teamed up to amass a greater network of contacts and connections on the ground than any other humanitarian organization in the world. Razan Shalab al-Sham is a former socialite from old money […]

Hot Docs 2014: Pulp Review

Pulp Nightvision One thing that made the Brit-pop explosion of the 90s brilliant was how every band had their own sound and image to match. There was Oasis with their balls-to-the wall Manchester working class swagger, Blur with their London educated art-rock, then there was the less easily defined Pulp, born in the unlikely town […]

Hot Docs 2014: The Overnighters Review

The Overnighters Special Presentation Jesse Moss’ outstanding and arresting Sundance award winner has rightfully earned all of its comparisons to being a modern day Steinbeck story. This tale of one boom town in modern America bursting at the seams is proof that a new Great Depression is here whether some folks care to admit it […]

Hot Docs 2014: The Secret Trial 5 Review

The Secret Trial 5 Canadian Spectrum An in depth look at an ongoing thirteen year nightmare for five Canadian families, The Secret Trial 5 examines the shadowy and highly unethical concept of detaining those suspected of having committed or potentially committing crimes to be held on “security certificates.” A remnant from the Cold War, these […]

Hot Docs 2014: Out of Mind, Out of Sight Review

Out of Mind, Out of Sight Canadian Spectrum There’s a lot to like about Canadian documentary Out of Mind, Out of Sight: a film about the inmates and staff of Brockville Mental Health Centre, a forensic-mental hospital in Ontario. Primarily orbiting a single primary subject – schizophrenic patient Michael Stewart – the film paints a […]

Hot Docs 2014: The Notorious Mr. Bout Review

The Notorious Mr. Bout Special Presentations It’s not often that a character from a Nicolas Cage flick is the subject of documentary, but then there really is only one Viktor Bout. The man, legend, and loose subject of Lord of War was one of the most notorious arms dealers who ever lived. Co-directors Tony Gerber […]

Hot Docs 2014: Mugshot Review

Mugshot Next Is someone’s arrest record snapshot something that the whole world should see? How much should the public be allowed to know after someone’s arrest? Historically, what if mugshots are the only ways of identifying certain marginalized people who have fallen through the cracks that should be preserved? These are the questions being asked […]