Thursday, 6 May 2010

Hot Docs 2010 Day 7 - Wednesday May 5, 2010

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Day 7 was the first year I went to that had shorts! No, not the kind people wear in warm weather but rather short films. Although in true Toronto spirit we had shortable weather for part of the day with beautifully sunny sky and we also had crazy gushing winds and even rain (which thankfully I missed!). Yep. That's my Toronto. Three out of four seasons in one lone day.

Hear & see all Day 7 in my Day 7 Vlog

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Geral director Anna Azevedo

Geral
Dir: Anna Azeved
Brazil, 15 minutes

Fascinating short portrait style documentary, with the focus as much on a place as the people that bring it to life. Set in Macanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, where fans known as geral literally stand in the stands to watch soccer and the crowd literally takes on a life of it's own. The enthusiasm when things go well to the distraught of defeat, emotions ride high for the fans in the face of the field. The film has a unique quality to it, really keying into the an experiential tone and bringing you right into the energy of the space.

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B1
Dir: Felipe Braga & Eduardo Hunter Mura
Brazil

BI was a sure fire must-see for me, the idea of a blind professional judo athlete headed to compete in the Paralympics in 2008 Beijing. We follow, literally, Antonio Tenório da Silva on his journey through training and competing as he gets ready for the big event. Seeing the training and competitions is fascinating and insightful, as one athlete describes judo from the point of view that the fight doesn't start until the two people have a hold of one another, thereby eliminating the advantage of sight. Fascinating. We also get to hear Antonio's perspective and philosophy on the sport on various levels from training (physically and otherwise) to what it means to the country and beyond through candid interviews throughout the film. I would have loved it if they included a little more on the technical standpoint of the mechanics of the matches, but it was always understandable through reactions to who won or lost. Overall, I found the film extremely inspiring, to see all these amazing athletes throughout the competitions and also to see Antonio Tenório da Silva who is a phenomenal well-rounded athlete and true force to be reckoned with. Truly inspiring.

It was a special treat that the screening I went to, which initially felt pretty quiet in terms of attendance ended up have rows upon rows of judo students who would cheer and clap any time a spectacular move was pulled off. It was so awesome to have that enthusiasm, knowledge and appreciation in the room.

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B1 co-director Eduardo Hunter Moura and Hot Docs Prog Myrocia Watamaniuk

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Freetime Machos
Dir: Mika Ronkainen
Finland/Germany

Freetime Machos was yet another must-see for me for this years festival, after hearing there was a film that focused on the world's third worst rugby team I knew I couldn't resist. Seeing the practices and games played in a lot of ways feels like a comedy of errors with things going wrong from knock-ons to missed passes and everything in between. But any missed opportunity on the field is easily made up for the charm of the guys off the field, where they are surprizingly candid and caring to each other in an amazing combination of humour and seriousness as they discuss friendships, family life, relationships and sexuality. Although they may not have the best track record for winning games, these machos easily won over the hearts of the audience whom cheered and laughed with them along the way.

As I've played rugby myself, I knew seeing the rugby itself would be a treat in it of itself, but getting to see the guys off the field was the the icing on the cake. They are full of life, from dealing with real-life responsibilities to the everyday joys and the joy of the game, it's a real treat to get to see the world from their point of view. In fact, I enjoyed the film so much I might try and get out to the second screening. It's that good.

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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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