Sunday, 3 May 2009

Hot Docs 2009 Day 3 - Saturday May 2, 2009


Hot Docs Day 3 was a moody day, it was overcast for most of the day and the rain did come out to greet us as well. Thankfully this line at the Bader was ushered into the theatre shorty after the rain started to fall. They even mentioned they were aware and working on the fact that the theatre feels cold which I look forward too as it's one of the chilliest festival venues. The day itself was filled with Canadian film that ventured across the globe as well as a travel back in time. Rather hear all about Day 3? Check out my Day 3 Vlog!

Festival staff was sure to remind the audience of some of the great deals this year including that seniors and students get in free to daytime films that have not gone rush, and a new pass this year called the 'All You Can Eat' pass that is $10 and gets you a ticket to all the late night screenings.

Nobody Waved Good-Bye
Dir: Don Owen
Cast: Peter Kastner, Julie Biggs, Claude Rae, Charmion King, John Vernon
Canada, 1964

Nobody Waved Good-Bye, a 1964 film is presented as a part of Spotlight On... Program and is described as being "one most important films in the short history of English Canadian cinema". As you may have inferred from the cast list, it is not a documentary of the strictest sense. The initial idea of the film was to do a documentary however it became commentary on 1960's teen angst and an exploration of what happens when you buck family or legal systems. The main characters Peter is intent on not blinding following the path before him, not any goals that are set out for him by others but the crux of that dilemma is - what will he do instead? Pondering the question of revolting against but not for brings a quick reality check for Peter and those around him.

Highlights from the Q&A with director Don Owen:
-The film had only 1 line of scripted dialogue, and it was part of an overheard conversation between actor Peter Kastner and his real mother. When the line was used it was directed towards the character of his mother in the film.
-Dialogue for the film was otherwise improvised using a techique of telling each actor contridictory information so that conflict would result.
-The film was shot in sequence, using lightweight shoulder cameras which allowed them to have a crew of only 4-5 people.
-He was not influenced by John Cassavetes although films were released around the same time, he did not see his work until years later.
-The film has won numerous awards over the years including a BAFTA Documentary Award.

For more about the film see its profile on the Hot Docs website.

Presidio Modelo director Pablo Alvarez-Mesa

Presidio Modelo
Dir: Pablo Alvarez-Mesa

An unnerving depiction of circular prisons built in Cuba in 1926 reveals the multi-layered affect on how a concept turned tangible creates a striking reality of torment. The haunting score accompanied by poetic narration bring to life an uncomfortable part of history and the painful effect of an incarcerated facility on its inmates.

(L - R) Audition editor Joel Roff, Persidio Modelo director Pablo Alvarez-Mesa, Audition director Nelofer Pazira, Hot Docs programmer Lynne Fernie

Dir: Nelofer Pazira

In Audition, we follow director Nelofer Pazira as she returns to Afghanistan to screen a film she is involved with the and seens women at the screening. This sparks the idea to look into the world of film and gender dynamics at that location. If people would watch film, do they want to be in one? If they want to be in one, will they? Or do they feel like the can't - and if so why? Acknowledging that both the men and women have same opinion that the women should not be photographed or filmed, Audition takes it a step further to look into why and then the opinions begin to divide. The button is continually but logically pushed to find the different roots to these opinions is an enlightening and surprizing journey for the film and the viewer.

See selections of the introduction and Q&A with director Nelofer Pazire and editor Joel Roff.

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


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