Monday, 11 May 2009

Hot Docs 2009 Day 10 - Saturday May 9, 2009


Day 10 started off as a rainy Saturday. Really rainy, I got drenched on the way to The Royal, the venue for all the screenings I saw that day! It was worth it as it was another day of fantastic film, many home grown here in Canada or even Toronto!

Rather watch that read? Check out my Day 10 Vlog!

Ali Shan
Dir: Yung Chang (Up the Yangtze/ 沿江⽽上)
Canada, 6 minutes

Introduced as a 'film poem' Yung Chang teleports us to another time and place with a vivid dreamlike quality to it. This film is so beautiful that it made my jaw drop and in my notes I simply wrote "This is Art". And it is. Stunning.

Ali Shan website

65_REDROSES directors Nimisha Mukerji (centre) and Philip Lyall (right)

Dir: Philip Lyall and Nimisha Mukerji

I usually shy away from any films that have to deal with medical issues, but I really wanted to see Ali Shan (see above) and it was playing with 65_REDROSES which had been getting serious acclaim so I decided to tough it out. Wow, what a journey it was. The film revolves around Eva, a young woman with cystic fibrosis awaiting the call for a double lung transfer. While in and out of hospital stays she finds an online community of peers with CF and becomes friends with 2 women in the community whom bond online. Tragically, the can only bond online because if they meet in person they can easily get sick. The film show s the power of friendship, the importance of building and giving back to a support system and the strenght of the human spirit. It was not always an easy watch and I'd be lying if I said there weren't tears but there was also roaring applause and the only full standing ovation for a festival screening I was at this year. It is no surprize the film ranked high (#2) for the audience choice award.

Statistics / Statistikk
Dir: Solveig Melkeraaen
Norway, 29 minutes

Who knew Norwegian call centres were so interesting? Who is the person on the other end of the line when you receive a call regarding a survery of your opinion of a new kind of toothpaste, a radio station or even a match-game like scenario of slogans to companies. How long have those callers worked there and how many times have they asked the same question? The innerworkings of the centre have a striking similarity to the calls they make: cyclic, limited options and not surprizingly, high turnover rate. Compelling and humourous we spend a vieweristic half over over the shoulders on the calls where it's all about the numbers.


Cat Ladies
Dir: Christie Callan-Jones

Who is a cat lady? And where is the line from cat lady to crazy cat lady? From Cat Ladies it would seem that this depends on the person but it can start with as few as three cats but is a certainty if you are caring for cats in the 100 or over range. Although a number of the situations and scenarios shown were comical the underlying tone really was that there was concern for those that turn to animals instead of people. There certainly were times where what we are seeing is so unbelievable that it feels funny, but other times it didn't feel funny at all where you truly were concerned for the women. Whether it be from the driving need to take in stray cats or the distance shown or inferred in their everyday lives. I do hope some balance can be found for all of them. Overall we are treated to great moments as well, including lots of cats and cuddles.

Cat Ladies director Christie Callan-Jones

Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival ran from April 30- May 10, 2009 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada


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