Any movie buff would agree that the Hot Docs International Film Festival showcases the best in Canadian and international documentary films. Over its 11-day run in April and May, local and temporary Torontonians have their choices of over 240 films!
Executive Director Brett Hendrie declares, "Toronto's audiences are world famous for their love of cinema, and at this year's Hot Docs, they'll find a compelling program that is sure to satisfy their remarkable curiosity, passion and sense of adventure."
Way to get on our good side, Hendrie.
If you really want to get around, see "Around the World in 50 Concerts" — Photo courtesy of Hot Docs Film Festival
Whether your passion is politics or music, documentaries are designed to get you to see the world a little differently. Through the lens of another person's experience, documentaries give us world experience without a single stamp in our passports.
Unlike watching a documentary marathon at home, the Hot Docs Film Festival is designed to be interactive (and requires that you wear pants). The Scotiabank Big Ideas Series, for example, offers audiences the opportunity to watch a documentary and then hear first-hand from the notable subjects and experts in the film.
Some nights are deemed even more conversational, with time set aside to pick the brains of award-winning documentary filmmakers such as Frederick Wiseman, who has created over 30 full-length films.
"Exotica, Erotica, Etc" – do we even need to tell you this is a film from France? — Photo courtesy of Hot Docs Film Festival
Other interesting features for this year include the DocX Virtual Reality Showcase. With a combination of 3D stereoscopy video and virtual reality headsets, you'll be as close as you want to be to reenacting The Matrix. At the very least, it's a pretty realistic way to take a voyage through the Northwest Passage, or hang out in Mongolia with some nomadic yak herders.
Global perspective can also be found by viewing films that don't only have Brad Pitt or Jennifer Aniston as leads. You can catch films from one of the 45 countries that aren't Canada.
"Polar Sea 360°" is one of the virtual reality film options — Photo courtesy of Hot Docs Film Festival
For students who only have additional coin for booze (and for penny-pinching graduates), the Docs at Dusk provides free screenings outdoors of the film Mavis! (Although we are enthusiastic, the exclamation mark is in the film title.) Screenings will be located on the University of Toronto campus with live music.
Attending the Hot Docs is not only a good way to ring in the springtime and get you off your couch, but its also an excellent way to support the people who are bringing you enlightening experiences and ideas on the days when you and your couch are inseparable. Hot Docs offers initiatives that provide filmmakers with financial support at critical stages in their projects.
For every filmmaker you save, you survive an extra Canadian winter. We promise.
Gospel/soul music legend and civil rights icon Mavis Staples, in the film "Mavis!" — Photo courtesy of Hot Docs Film Festival