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Mikhail’s Must See Docs at Hot Docs 2012

Hot Docs 2012 is upon us. The most important documentary film festival in North America is back for its 19th installment.  Armed with the understanding that most of us are a busy bunch and don’t have time to see all the films this great festival  has to offer I have done some previewing on your behalf and come up with a list of documentaries you simply can’t ignore and must see. There is a wide variety of films this year hence it was quite difficult to come to single consensus of what was best.  Nonetheless I believe this list reflects the incredible variety of stylish, smart and provocative documentaries that Hot Docs seems to bring every single year. Check here for tickets

This is the must see list:

THE INVISIBLE WAR (Special Presentations)

D: Kirby Dick |USA| 2012 | 99 min | International Premiere

FRIDAY, APRIL 27                             3:30 PM                                BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA

SATURDAY, APRIL 28                      9:00 PM                                ROM THEATRE

SATURDAY, MAY 5                           3:15 PM                                BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA

A truly infuriating expose of extensive sexual abuse within the different arms of the U. S military, you may not quite believe what you are seeing but it is nothing but the truth. What really stands out while watching  is the near complete abandonment the victims endure via a bureaucracy hell bent on ignoring a widespread problem which ends up shielding criminals. A must see if there was ever one.

FINDING NORTH (Special Presentations)

D: Lori Silverbush, Kristi Jacobson |USA | 2011 | 84 min | Canadian Premiere

TUESDAY, MAY 1                              7:00 PM                                ISABEL BADER THEATRE

THURSDAY, MAY 3                           1:00 PM                                ISABEL BADER THEATRE

SATURDAY, MAY 5                           1:30 PM                                ROM THEATRE

You may think that hunger is a 3rd world issue, but nearly 50 million US citizens have no access to a proper amount of nor decent food. The issues discussed within the film are far and wide but they mostly come down to a food industry run by lobbyists only concerned with the bottom line which have created geographical pockets in smaller towns where you can only get junk food with the corresponding rise in health issues and obesity . While you may think obesity and hunger are simply issues of personal responsibility this documentary will challenge this view with powerful amount of facts and figures. Great soundtrack by T. Bone Burnett and is good to see Jeff Bridges sticking up for the “little guy” with genuine passion for the issue.

 THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES (Special Presentations)

D: Lauren Greenfield |USA,Netherlands,UK,Denmark| 2012 | 100 min Canadian Premiere

WEDNESDAY, MAY 2                       7:00 PM                  TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX

THURSDAY, MAY 3                          9:15 PM                  ISABEL BADER THEATRE

FRIDAY, MAY 4                  8:45 PM                  BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA

If you think that the “Real Housewives” reality franchise gives you a sense of how the 1% live, you need to see this to catch a less scripted “reality”. Lauren Greenfield’s “The Queen of Versailles,” is really about decadence and how that gets affected when magical hand of capitalism is no longer there to feed an unsustainable situation. The film is a mixture of really funny and  revolting, a sort of closing chapter on the last years of the American Empire.

INDIE GAME: THE MOVIE (Special Presentations)

D: James Swirsky, Lisanne Pajot |Canada | 2012 | 96 min |Toronto Premiere

**Note: INDIE GAME screens as part of HOT DOCS LIVE! And will

also be simulcast to 35 screens across the country.

THURSDAY, MAY 3                          9:00 PM                  BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA

This is the kind of doc every kid will want to show their parents when they start nagging about spending too much time with their 360’s, a great sympathetic cheer for all those behind the indie gaming industry. Who knew there could be so much drama in it?  You just might be inspired to follow your own dreams after seeing so much intensity, focus and real passion from people trying to accomplish their creative goals in spite of at times insurmountable odds.  This is a genuine feel good story that will make you root for those that create in spite of it all.

THE REVISIONARIES

D: Scott Thurman| USA | 2012 | 83 min  | International Premiere

TUESDAY, MAY 1                          9:00 PM                  BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA

THURSDAY, MAY 3                      9:30 PM                  THE ROM THEATRE

FRIDAY, MAY 4                             11:00 AM               ISABEL BADER THEATRE

Creationists and scientists is the topic of this chilling documentary that chronicles the intense attempts by creationists  to destroy the theory of evolution. The problem is that these creationists are also prominent members of the Texas Board of Education who believe, among other eye popping concepts, that dinosaurs rode Noah’s Ark. If you have ever wondered just how wrong an education system can become if controlled by a persistent and borderline fanatical group, this is the film for you. Of particular note is how even handed Scott Thurman is with his subjects. This film will inspire a lot of conversations I am sure.

Krisis –  GR2011 – The Prism

D: Nina Maria Paschalidou, Nikos Katsaounis |Greece | 2012 | 62 min |North American Premiere | Subtitled (Greek-English)

Screening with Yugo, A Short Autobiography.

SATURDAY, APRIL 28                          7:00 PM                  TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX 1

WEDNESDAY, MAY 2                             4:15 PM                   CUMBERLAND 3

FRIDAY, MAY4                                         3:30 PM                  TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX 3


Chile’s students and the Arab Spring are two relatively recent events that come to mind watching this sharp and unique experiment in documentary film-making, the sort of new media effort that really shows promise. 14 photojournalists and a bunch of videographers documented the recent and at times violent protests following the Greek economic crisis. I cannot help but think watching this that what started almost 2 years ago in Europe is making its way to our shores via the Occupy movement and the recent student protests in Quebec. There is certainly a sense in much of the world that things are not as they should be.

 

 

Here are 5 more trailers of films you really SHOULD see! (Click on the links for more info and screening times)

Ballroom Dancer

The Boxing Girls of Kabul

China Heavyweight

Herman’s House

The World Before Her

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About the author: Mikhail

Publisher. Loves: justice, beauty, passion, revolutionaries, good food and wine, a zany sense of humor and friends and family. Dislikes: cowards, empty promises, winter, most politicians, wasted potential and injustice.