Top Ten Films to See at HotDocs14

Posted 8 years ago by myetvmedia

North America’s Largest Documentary festival is back! Taking place from April 24 to May 4, 2014 is Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival or as we lovingly refer to it “Hot Docs”. We would be lying if we said this festival wasn’t one of our favourites of the year and now in its 21st year we’re not alone on that sentiment as the festival has grown to one of the largest and most prestigious documentary festivals in the world . With over 197 films from over 43 countries to choose from creating a schedule for Hot Docs 2014 can be quite intimidating, but never fear the MyETVMedia team has researched and compiled the best of the best list for you to aid in making your Hot Docs 2014 experience the best it can be.

Looking at quality, accolades and good ol’ fashion entertainment we whittled the choices down to just 10 films you gotta’ see this Hot Docs season from the ‘Special Presentations’ category, but hey if you can fit them all in give it a go. There’s not a single stinker on the docket this year.

1. The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz

Directed by: Brian Knappenberger

Thursday April 24th, 10:00 pm, Bloor Hot Docs Cinema Friday, April 25th, 2:00 pm, Bloor Hot Docs Cinema Wednesday, April 20th, 6:30 pm, Bloor Hot Docs Cinema

Why to see it:

Opening Hot Docs is “The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz” part of The Scotiabank Big Ideas series. This one is going to be a doozey. Exploring the life and 2013 suicide of internet activist and creator of the RSS Feed and Reddit, Aaron Swartz. The doc explores issues of ownership in the digital age and free speech as well as Aaron’s 2011 arrest “prosecuting him under the very laws he was fighting against”.

2. I am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Storey

Directed by: Chad Walker, Dave LaMattina

Sunday, April 27th, 6:00 pm, Bloor Hot Docs Cinema Monday, April 28th, 11:00 am, Isabel Bader Theatre Wednesday, April 30th, 1:30 pm, TBLB Thursday, May 1st, 1:30 pm, TBLB Sunday, May 4th, 4:00 pm, Revue

Why to see it:

Caroll Spinney, or as you may know him Big Bird and Oscar The Grouch, from the beloved children’s show Sesame Street. Through a blend of archival footage and interviews take a look at the mesmerizing tale of the actor who brought his own heart of gold alive in his puppeted counterparts.

3. Children 404

Directed by: Pavel Loparev, Askold Kurov

Monday, April 28th, 9:30 pm, Isabel Bader Theatre Tuesday, April 29th, 3:30 pm, TBLB Thursday, May 1st, 9:00 pm, TBLB Saturday, May 3rd, 8:30 pm, TBLB

Why to see it:

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’s law forbidding “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to minors” left Russia’s LGBT Youth defenseless against this “Gay Propaganda” law. Through anonymous interviews and the main character, Pasha’s story viewers will have a first hand account of how the brave youth of Russia rally against a society that now, by law must treat being gay as a disease.

4. Concerning Violence

Directed by: Goron Olsson

Sunday, April 27th, 4:00 pm, Isabel Bader Theatre Monday, April 28th, 4:15 pm, TBLB Friday, May 2nd, 3:30 pm, Hart

Why to see it:

Based on the famous book, The Wretched of the Earth “Concerning Violence” explores Africa’s independence movement through archival material and based on the success of his last film, Goran Hugo Olsson’s newest project has some serious hype surrounding it. “Concerning Violence” also features voice-over narration from Lauryn Hill which sweetens the deal.

5. Nelson Mandela: The Myth & Me

Directed by: Khalo Matabane

Saturday, April 26th, 9:30 pm, Hart Monday, April 28th, 5:00 pm, Hart Sunday, May 4th, 4:00 pm, Isabel Bader Theatre

Why to see it:

Winner of the Special Jury Award, International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam 2013, “Nelson Mandela: The Myth and me” is a controversial and moving doc that examines Nelson Mandela’s “Sainthood Status” and life in a South Africa post-apartheid.

6. The Norotious Mr. Bout

Directed by: Tony Gerber, Maxim Pozdorovkin

Saturday, April 26th, 7:00 pm, TBLB Sunday, April 27th, 1:45 pm, TBLB Sunday, May 4th, 7:00 pm, TBLB

Why to see it:

Meet the real “merchant of death” that ‘God of War’ starring Nicolas Cage, was based on. Through moving interviews and personal home footage learn about Mr Bout, the businessman who became the most notorious arms dealer in the world.

7. Return to Homs

Directed by: Talal Derki

Saturday, April 26th, 7:00 pm, Hart Monday, April 28th, 4:00 pm, Scotia Bank Friday, May 2nd, 6:30 pm, Scotia Bank

Why to see it:

Sundance Grand Jury winner World Cinema follows two friends caught in Syria’s civil war. With over two years of footage viewers are invited into the center of a raging civil war.

8. To Be Takei

Directed by: Jennifer Kroot, Bill Webber

Saturday, April 26th, 6:00 pm, Bloor Hot Docs Cinema Sunday, April 27th, 1:00 pm, Bloor Hot Docs Cinema

Why to see it:

George Takei – Star Trek star, gay sex symbol, and William Shatner’s nemesis. Learn about the star as he prepares to tell the story of his childhood spent inside a Japanese-American internment camp- showcased as a musical, of course.

9. Super Duper Alice Cooper

Directed by: Reginald Harkema, Scot McFayden, Sam Dunn

Monday, April 28th, 9:00 pm, Scotia Bank Tuesday, April 29th, 9:50 pm, Bloor Hot Docs Cinema Saturday, May 3rd, 11:00 am, Bloor Hot Docs Cinema

Why to see it:

From the creators of “Metal: A headbangers journey” and “Metal Evolution” comes “Super Duper Alice Cooper” . A mix of archival footage and of course, music take us through Cooper’s 1969 “Chicken Incident” where Cooper thinking it could fly, threw a chicken off-stage. This event turned into the now famous story of Cooper “Biting heads off chickens” which launched him into stardom.

10. Rich Hill

Directed by: Andrew Droz Palermo, Travey Droz Tragos

Monday, April 28th, 7:00 pm, TBLB Wednesday, April 30th, 4:00 pm, Isabel Bader Theatre Sunday, May 4th, 12:30 pm, Hart

Why to see it:

This Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner is about three young people who dream big in a small, rural town. Through gritty and “achingly beautiful” footage we learn about the trials of adolescence when faced against lack of opportunity.

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