From Thursday, April 30 to Wednesday, May 6, Canadians can experience a lineup of stirring and thought-provoking films during a special week of programming celebrating Hot Docs, Toronto’s critically acclaimed documentary festival. documentary is a presenting partner and proud supporter of Hot Docs, and will be presenting documentary’s Don Haig Award as part of the festival. documentary’s Don Haig Award will honour an emerging Canadian Documentary filmmaker, with the winner being announced May 8 as part of the Hot Docs Award Presentation. Also this month, Rogers cable customers can enjoy a free preview of documentary, from May 1 to 4. The preview is available on Rogers channels 1 and 59 (ON); 1 and 43 (NB); and 321 (NL).
Hot Docs Highlights
Driven by Dreams – Thursday, April 30 at 8 p.m. ET
In this film, Serge Giguère observes people between the ages of 72 and 94 years old as they play instruments, paint, make model airplanes, work the land or take pleasure in antiques. Observing them in their everyday activities, he weaves together fragments of their lives to create a vibrant and colourful mosaic.
Death in Gaza – Friday, May 1 at 8 p.m. ET
In spring 2003, award-winning filmmaker James Miller and reporter Saira Shah set out to explore the culture of hate that permeates the Middle East. Miller and Shah captured the lives of three Palestinian children growing up in the bullet-riddled streets of Gaza. They had also planned to film the lives of Israeli children but, in the midst of production, Miller was shot to death by an Israeli tank, falling victim to the very conflict he covered.
Cracked Not Broken – Friday, May 1 at 10 p.m. ET (1/2 hour telecast)
Lisa was raised in the right part of town, she went to the right schools, had the right friends. But somewhere along the way something went terribly wrong. At age 37, Lisa is an estranged mother of one, and a crack addict who prostitutes herself to help support her drug habit. Get a glimpse into the harsh reality and chaotic lifestyle of drug addiction. This film will force you to examine all of your stereotypes about the addicted—in a sometimes-shocking way.
As Slow As Possible – Saturday, May 2 at 8 p.m. ET
This documentary is a story about how humans deal with change, as heard through the ears of a man going blind. On his 18th birthday, Ryan Knighton was told he would slowly go blind. Now, 15 years later, as he loses his last sliver of sight, he wants to travel to an ancient church in Germany to hear the note change in the 639-year-long organ performance of the John Cage composition “As Slow as Possible.”
The Body Builder and I – Sunday, May 3 at 8 p.m. ET
Funny and sensitive, this documentary is a journey into the strange subculture of geriatric bodybuilders and the story of a son getting to know his father. The Body Builder and I chronicles filmmaker Bryan Friedman’s heartfelt and humorous journey as he attempts to reconnect with his estranged father, Bill. At the ago of 60, Bill is determined to regain his status as champion in the unconventional and surprisingly fierce world of geriatric bodybuilding in Canada.
Three Rooms of Melancholia – Monday, May 4 at 8 p.m. ET
This film intimately depicts the face of terror and survival through three portraits, or ‘rooms,’ of the aftermath of the Chechen War. Finnish director Pirjo Honkasalo opens the documentary at a boys’ military school outside of St. Petersburg, Russia. He then travels to the rubble that remains of Grozny, the capital city of Chechnya. In a place of lost children—orphans of the war zone—viewers are introduced to a woman going door-to-door to help those in need. Finally, in the bordering Muslim republic of Ingusheiyah, a village sacrifices a ram in the name of Allah. The camera once again finds the young ones, who weep when asked to reflect upon what they have lost.
Revolución – Tuesday, May 5 at 8 p.m. ET
Since 1998, Venezuela has followed a resolutely revolutionary path. Leading the way is President Hugo Chavez, who provokes strong reactions from all sides. Not only does Chavez want to liberate the Venezuelan people, he wants to help the whole world rid itself of North American imperialism. Is he a freedom fighter or a dangerous madman? In the heat of revolutionary struggles, greatness and madness can be hard to tell apart. When idealism is the only guide, there is a constant risk of losing control. And threats come from every direction, even from within.
What Remains – Wednesday, May 6 at 8 p.m. ET
Ten years after directing the Academy Award®-nominated Blood Ties, director Steven Cantor revisits renowned photographer Sally Mann and her family and examines the subjects of her photographic series.
In the film, Mann reflects on her personal feelings towards death as she continues to examine the boundaries of contemporary photography. Mann’s willingness to reveal her artistic process as it unfolds allows the viewer to gain exclusive entrance into her world. Spanning five years, Cantor’s film contains unbridled access to the many stages of Mann’s work.
Donna’s Story – Wednesday, May 6 at 7 p.m. ET
An intimate portrait of a fiercely determined Cree woman who left behind a bleak existence on the streets, Donna’s Story is a moving tale of her search for a better life. Raised in foster homes, addicted to drugs and a prostitute at 13, viewers will witness Donna’s motivation to turn her life around, her work to keep others off the streets and the renewal of personal relationships with her family and children.
In addition to the special programming airing during Hot Docs Week below are two premieres for documentary in May.
Borealis – Tuesday, May 19 at 7 p.m. ET
From Portage and Main in downtown Winnipeg to the family cottage near Parry Sound in Ontario, filmmaker Frank Wolf and his inexperienced friend, Taku Hokoyama, tackle raging rapids and gruelling portages on a 3,100 km canoe trip through Canada’s Boreal forest in an effort to shed light on the issues now facing this wilderness area.
In Borealis, Frank and Taku, with their quirky sense of humour, provide an intimate look into the current environmental and social issues facing the region. Viewers will be informed and entertained by Frank and Taku who cope with bears, black flies and flat tires in order to guide viewers through their 75-day adventure.
Me and the Mosque – Thursday May 21at 8 p.m. ET and 10 p.m. PT
In Me and the Mosque, journalist and filmmaker Zarqa Nawaz visits mosques across Canada to question the gender inequalities that still exist within the Islam faith. Religious leaders, neighbours and colleagues weigh in on the historical role of women in Islam and shed light on the current state of Canadian mosques. Viewers will hear personal accounts of anger, fear and acceptance about spiritual belief in a religion that still fails to accept women.