Sunday, 2 May 2010

Hot Docs 2010 Day 3 - Saturday May 1, 2010

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I spend the majority of Day 3 of Hot Docs at the Bloor, and all three films I saw there were American. Odd how things like that can happen. I also caught the His & Hers, a lovely Irish film at the ROM so it was a day with a little running around from venue to venue which. It was great to end the day off with back to back doses of different kinds of nostalgia at the Bloor with The People vs. George Lucas for some Star Wars goodness and then 1991 The Year Punk Broke for a midnight musical break. Along the way ran into and hung out with several other Toronto film folks too, James from Toronto Screen Shots, Hatter from the Dark of the Matinee and Trista from Toronto Film Scene. All of 'em are covering the festival - make sure you pay their sites a visit to see how they are enjoying the festival.

Rather hear all about it? Watch & listen to my Day 3 Vlog.

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Hot Docs programmer Angie Driscoll, talhotblond director Barbara Schroeder

talhotblond
Dir: Barbara Schroeder
USA

talhotblond is the first film at the festival this year (or likely any) where I straight-up felt like I was watching a different film than everyone else at the theatre. My mouth fell open in shock at times where I heard laughter or a resonance of agreement filled the room when I was shaking my head. The tough thing here is, it is a documentary and what we are seeing did happen - an internet love triangle gone wrong, and someone ends up dead. From any angle, it's a horrifying event and my heart goes out to the people involved for their loss (who very bravely were at the screening). I'm not disagreeing with what happened, or the horror or the events, or the grief that must be awful. But, I do disagree with the film style which strongly guiding emotionally, telling us what to feel about who at each and every turn. It also does not treat the people involved with the same set of judgment parameters. I didn't understand this at all - one person could do something and we are 'told' to feel sympathy, yet another does it and we are suppose to be mad and horrified. But, what really pushed it over the top for me was when the film through telling the story actually perpetuates in spirit one of the tragedy that occurred which mystifies me. Overall, there was lots of head nodding in agreement of parents who are wary of the evils of the internet and it certainly got that message across, and found it's audience.

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His & Hers
Dir: Ken Wardrop
Ireland

I knew I had to see His & Hers after reading the program write which up states "tells a 90-year love story through the collection voice of 70 Irish women". I wasn't sure what that meant, but it sounded lovely and turns out it's a precise description of the film, which is just as lovely as I hoped it to be. The film pieces together different interviews with girls and women in the Irish Midlands about men they have loved in their lives. It's absolutely beautiful, and the girls and women are filled with brightness as they discuss the different loves through the ups and downs as well. There is so much beauty & truth in the stories, and joy as they share their stories which are organically pieced together. Although each of the stories are unique to the people sharing them, the are also genuinely familiar and resonate truth reminding us that love is truly universal. A beautiful vision, celebration and honouring of love. What a wonderful vision to share!

See selections from His & Hers with Q&A with director Ken Wardrop here

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His & Hers director Ken Wardrop, Hot Docs programmer Myrocia Watamaniuk

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The People vs. George Lucas
Dir: Alexandre Philippe
USA

Ah, yet your inner (or outer) Star Wars geek out and get thyself to A Theatre Not That Far Away as see The People vs. George Lucas. This film was a true nostalgic treat not only to see peoples love of Star Wars and how it blossomed, bloomed or overgrown their lives but also to see serious discussions about how it's a rooted part of cultural history. Alongside fan made films and re-enactments we have actual discussions about intellectual property, and both are treated with the same level of insight & care. With interviews from around with world to people who are straight-up fans, to experts in various fields we see a fantastic common ground to people through Star Wars. The combination of nostalgia alongside the intellectual discussions is an absolutely brilliant format and in turn makes it a seamlessly crafted film, but the thing I appreciated most about the film is that it always talks about the elephants in the room. It's well aware of not only all the great parts of fandom, but all the crazy parts as well and discusses each and every one. Spots & all, it's a totally treat for any Star Wars fan and I can't wait to see it again.

See selections from The People vs George Lucas with director Alexandre Philippe & producer Robert Muratore

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Hot Docs programmer Angie Driscoll, People vs George Lucas director Alexandre Philippe & producer Robert Muratore

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1991: The Year Punk Broke
Dir: David Markey
USA, 1991

This is the first midnight screening I've gone to at Hot Docs and being unfamiliar with the doc, it was the musical talent involved that got me in the door: Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., Nirvana, Babes in Toyland & more. I'm dating myself even more than with The People vs. George Lucas to say that those were the bands of my youth, yet I'd not heard of the doc - which is really a combination of concert tour footage of performances during the 1991 Sonic Youth Europe Tour and lots of behind the scenes shenanigans throughout that tour. The quality of the concert footage varies on the performance (sometimes the sound left a lot to be desired), but hey ... punk is what punk does and sometimes punk doesn't need to be 'clear' for crying out loud. I really enjoyed seeing the Dinosaur Jr. & Nirvana concert footage but felt like I wished I had been just a bit more of a Sonic Youth fan to get the full appreciation here. A lot of the doc is them goofing off and often trying to get into trouble or get a res out of people, which I sure is golden for fans. More being into the music side of things myself, seeing the live version of Kool Thing alone made it well worth it seeing.

To see more about the festival screenings check out the festival schedule online at the Hot Docs website or purchase tickets at the online box office.

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Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival runs from April 29 - May 9, 2010 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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