Well, the festival is over and the docs are flying south (and west, and east – and maybe even north) for the summer – hopefully to a cinema near you. Hot Docs did itself proud in its 20th year, bringing in more than 200 films for the delectation of an estimated 180,000 Torontonians and cinema-loving sojourners. This reviewer managed to see about 10% of the offerings, at venues all over the city.
The Netflix Audience Award results are now available as well, with Muscle Shoals, Blood Brother and A Whole Lott More splitting the crowdfunded jackpot. The Hot Docs website also has more details regarding the top ten vote getters on Audience Choice ballots.
All of these worthy documentaries should now be in a position to receive some of the attention they deserve – which is the most exciting thing about the festival.
And, in that spirit, we’d like to add five more films to your must-see list:
Trucker and the Fox (Iran): A truly unique encounter with an artist whose fable-like films involve him in complex, compulsive and coercive relationships with the animal/actors he both loves and manipulates.
Tales From the Organ Trade (Canada): A deeply unsettling film that examines the ghoulish effects of global capitalism with surgical precision.
The Punk Singer (US): An intimate look at the cultural and personal impact of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre frontwoman/revolutionary Kathleen Hanna’s career.
The Last Black Sea Pirates (Bulgaria): A melancholic but mirthful study of people clinging to a legendary vision of autonomy in an age of ruthlessly organized crime and real estate development.
Blackfish (US): A harrowing, brilliant portrait of the lives of captive performing orca whales, as witnessed, primarily, by the people who once believed most fervently in these practices – the trainers themselves.
Looking forward to Hot Docs 2014!