Last week saw the release of Gimme the Loot, the SXSW Grand Jury Prize winner by Adam Leon, which sees two graffiti artists seek revenge after their replica of the…
Every spring, film fans come from far and wide clutching small booklets of coloured newsprint most commonly known as the Hots Docs schedule. Inside there is the world. That’s both a euphemism and an actuality: the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival is the closest thing you’ll ever find to the world in one place. Whether you’re into rubberbands as instruments (A Rubberband is an Unlikely Instrument), a deeper look at the Black Power movement of the 1960s (The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 – pictured above), the question of who the real savior is (I Am Jesus), or people who raid scrapyards to make their living while fighting gentrification (Foreign Parts), there’s actually something for everyone. But what makes Hot Docs so special is that the documentaries it showcases are never really quite about what they say they are — there’s always something else to uncover in a documentary. Sometimes it’s what the filmmaker intended and sometimes its something else entirely, but it’s always something fascinating.
Hot Docs opens this year with Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold on Thursday, April 28. Morgan Spurlock, director of Supersize Me, will be on hand to discuss his film with the audience, after taking corporate branding by the horns (would those be Red Bull’s horns, by any chance?), but before the festival begins, there’s a few things you should know.
1. The box office moved. Formerly located inside Hazleton Lanes, the box office has now moved to a more central and convenient location at 131 Bloor Street West (across the street from Gucci). During the festival they are open from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm.
2. Same Day and/or Rush tickets are a good option. If there’s something you want to see, but have missed out on getting tickets so far, try for same day tickets. This can be done at the film’s venue box office one hour before the screening. If same day tickets aren’t available rush tickets are still a good option. Get there early to get in the rush line, but remember that it’s not a guarantee.
3. Free daytime screenings. If you’re a student or senior, that is. Regardless, this is a great, inexpensive way to get exposure to world-class docs on the cheap. If you’re in either of these categories, don’ t pass this up.
4. Venues are everywhere. It’s important to remember where all your venues are. While most of them are clustered together in the Bloor and Avenue Road area (The Cumberland, Bloor Cinema, Isabel Bader, Innis College, the ROM), a couple of them are farther out. TIFF Bell Lightbox, being the newest of the bunch is likely the farthest from the group at King and John, followed by The Royal (a familiar venue to Hot Docs) at Bathurst and College, as well as the Fox Theatre, the Regent and Revue Cinema for selected screenings. Information on all the venues can be found at the Hot Docs website.
5. The Rooftop Docs series shouldn’t be missed. Yes, the weather has been crappy, but don’t let that stop you form taking in some docs on the Rooftop of the London Tap House at 250 Adelaide Street West. On Wednesday, May 4, Beauty Day, about Cap’n Video and his minor success on cable-access, is screening. On Thursday, May 5, When the Drum is Beating, about Haiti’s most famous band Orchestre Septentrional, is screening. On Friday, May 6, Ola Svensson Superstar, about a Swedish glam rock band front man taking a year off to play Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar, is screening. Doors are at 7:30 pm each night and the film starts at sunset, although it is restricted to those 19 and over. Really, don’t miss it. This type of environmental film experience is what festival memories are made of.
Toronto Film Scene’s extensive coverage of Hot Docs starts today. We’re looking forward to joining you in the pure film enjoyment that this festival brings to the city every year. We’ll have reviews and festival diaries, so check back often to keep on top of the best of the fest.
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