Monday, 3 May 2010

Hot Docs 2010 Day 4 - Sunday May 2, 2010


Day 4 was a day with a lot of 3/4-ness. 3/4 of the films I saw were at the ROM, and 3/4 were from the Small Acts program although it wasn't the same 3/4ers in both instances. Weird. The weather was also all over the place, ranging from grey and cloudy to a beautiful sunny streak in the middle of the day. Thankfully, I missed any rain if it did decide to fall from the sky. It was also a busy day at the festival, with almost all screenings I went to were rush. Every single screening today has a Q&A with the filmmakers and sometimes guests as well, and there was also the first standing ovation I've attended at the festival for A Small Act. Very exciting day.

Yet another day of running into people, this time it was Bob of Eternal Sunshine of the Logical Mind, and yes, he's covering the festival as well so give his site a look and see what he thinks of Hot Docs so far.

Rather listen instead? Check out my Day 4 Vlog!


I Bought A Rainforest directors Jacob Andren & Helena Nygren, Hot Docs programmer Angie Driscoll

I Bought a Rainforest / Jag köpte en regnskog
Dir: Jacob Andrén, Helena Nygren

In I Bought a Rainforest / Jag köpte en regnskog we follow Jacob Andrén on the journey he embarks after he remembers and becomes curious about a 'Save the Rainforest' project he was involved in as a child. What every happened to the rainforest? Where was it? Did they save it - at all, for now, or for forever? I really enjoyed how the film dealt with the subject matter in an honest and open way without being too heavy handed. The issue is important and there is certainly a lot at stake and it's always treated seriously, but there is also a wonderful lightness that surfaces and even some whimsy that makes it all the more inspiring. A beautiful portrait on the difference of making a difference.

See selections from the I Bought a Rain Forest / Jag köpte en regnskog with producer Margarete Jangard and directors Jacob Andren & Helena Nygren here

See I Bought a Rainforest / Jag köpte en regnskog website here


The World According to Ion B director Alexander Nanau

The World According to Ion B.
Dir: Alexander Nanau

A portrait of Ion Barladeanu, a collage artist or as he calls himself a director, whose made hundreds of collages while living on the streets in Bucharest. Artists portraits can sometimes be hard to watch as we can see people with enormous talent but living in challenging conditions. In this case, it's challenging because you aren't certain that Ion B. wants to change his conditions, continually going back to what and where he knows, often with a bottle in hand. How far do our sympathy go, how much are we interested in the artist vs the art. In this sense, the film is a great lens into that world and even opens the discussion of freedom, choice and opportunity. There is no doubt at the talent here, his collages are astounding. They are often political commentary in content, but also have striking resemblances to other art movements throughout the years. The artwork is astounding, and it's not a form we see that often at this level, or different levels, which made it all the more interesting to see the story piece together just as the collages piece together.

See selections from The World According to Ion B. Q&A with director Alexander Nanau here

See The World According to Ion B. films website here


A Small Act subject Chris Mburu and director Jennifer Arnold

A Small Act
Dir: Jennifer Arnold

If today was a day of inspiring film, than I could have picked no better day to see A Small Act. During the introduction to the film it was iterated that the film was inspiration for the Small Acts program at Hot Docs this year, a program showcasing films on everyday acts of kindness, altruism, activism and leadership and the film showcases all of those things. Starting with the Swedish woman who sponsored a boy in Kenya years ago, we see the trickle down effect of that kindness and the huge difference a small act can make. Even though there is a huge impact, the message of the film stays strong to not only highlight these acts but also to encourage others to do the same, and that it doesn't have to be big. That it can be something small and make a difference. Truly inspiring, and of course it made me cry. And actually just writing that out made my eyes well up with tears again. They made a difference, and they believe that we can too.

After the film director Jennifer Arnold was present along with Chris Mburu, one of the subjects of the film and producers Jeffrey Soros & Patti Lee who were welcomed on stage with a well-deserved standing ovation.

See selections from the A Small Act Intro and Q&A with director Jennifer Arnold and documentary subject Chris Mburu here

See A Small Act film website here


Soundtracker subject Gordon Hempton & directr Nicholas Sherman

Dir: Nicholas Sherman

Following soundtracker Gordon Hempton, and audio recorder on his quests for sounds. The film becomes not only a portrait of the artist but also in his quest to find a particular sound portrait. It's quickly clear that finding sounds without the peripheral echo of technology in some way, becomes quite the challenge. I enjoyed that it addressed the sound of urban life, although the focus is primarily nature and it brings up many interesting concepts such as the idea of certain sounds becoming extinct. Wild. It's a interesting journey piece that parallels the hunt for a particular portrait alongside the portrait of the man himself, and a great watch & listen for sound fans as we get to hear some stellar pieces of sound along the way.

See selections from the Soundtracker Intro and Q&A with director Nicholas Sherman & soundtracker Gordon Hempton here

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.

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

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