“Every year I say I will get to more than 4-5 screenings at Hotdocs, but this year I mean it! One of the largest documentary film festivals in the world, Toronto’s HOT DOCS just announced its full line-up which includes premieres galore (I won’t bore you with the stats) both locally and internationally.
Some Highlights include the follow-up film from Man On Wire‘s Jim Marsh, Project Nim. A biography of the chimpanzee who in the 1970s became the focus of a landmark experiment which aimed to show that an ape could learn to communicate with language if raised and nurtured like a human child. Jay Cheel’s Beauty Day, a look at the life and blue-collar art from pre-Jack Ass stunt-tomfoolery pioneer Ralph Zavadil (aka Cap’n Video). Magic Trip, Alex Gibney (Client 9, Taxi to the Darkside) and Allison Ellwood’s look at Neal Cassady, Jack Kerouac’s On the Road muse, and his ramshackle bus was which was tricked out with cameras to capture free-form impressions of America and the seemingly limitless drug-induced antics of its passengers. Sundance Special Jury Prize winner, Being Elmo, is story of how a shy nine-year-old Kevin Clash pursued his dream of becoming a puppeteer on Sesame Street. Raised in a low-income community, Clash’s talents were evident in his homemade prototypes and the puppet shows he staged for his mother’s daycare kids. In Bobby Fisher Against The World, the rock star of the chess world is a look at how this American Cold War hero became a vilified, paranoid recluse. Buck, A real-life horse whisperer overcomes his dark childhood and emerges as kind of an equine-rooted philosopher, proving his own maxim: horses make better people. Conan O’Brian’s post-Late Show stand-up tour is documented in Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop. Love him or hate him, Morgan Spurlock takes a look at advertising and branding in the movies with the festival opener, POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. UFC-themed doc Fightville charts two young fighters with potential and a dream in MMA. And a stylish look at poverty (oxymoron?) with Vodka Factory where the fntasies of big-city stardom cushion a single mother labouring on an assembly line from the brutal banalities of life in Russia’s backwoods.
A massive catalogue/schedule to browse through, before the festival starts on April 28th and runs to May 8th, expect more coverage in the weeks to follow.