Each year for the past several years I have appreciated one of the best film festivals in Toronto. The Hot Docs Film Festival has become a staple in my life that opens up the world and narratives I may have missed. I have planned a week of vacation to correspond with the festival and utilize the time to saturate myself with as many docs as possible.
Last year I took the opportunity to purchase a "premium pass" which allows access to all documentaries (within reason and regulations). I saw only a smaller amount of documentaries (24) compared to my original plan at 30. This year I have scheduled a bit more effectively and hope to see 35-40 documentaries while still enjoying the restaurants and sites of Toronto.
I often get asked why I go and why I see so many documentaries in such a short period of time? I get told that I don't get to appreciate some of the documentaries because once one is complete I am jumping on transit to get to the next screening.
Why do I see so many documentaries - because there is so much of the world that is never understood or experienced as we rush through our daily lives. This saturation of films is because of the forced limited availability to so many documentaries that may get lost in the ether.
Example: one of my favourite documentaries a few years ago was FINDING TRUELOVE that was about a couple of guys finding a yearbook and eventually going to attend that school's reunion to find the coolest guy in there Timothy Truelove. It was fun, a breath of fresh air against the serious documentaries I had attended. I have not heard or seen it return to Toronto and sadly would have never experienced its general positivity.
I agree that some days I do feel I've missed out on really appreciating the documentaries because of the rushing around. I have attempted to leave larger gaps between screenings to absorb my experience and also to enjoy the post-doc Question & Answer segments that often occur. The Q&A's are some of the best moments during the festival as I got to meet Caroll Spinney (Big Bird) and listen to Alice Cooper last year. Always great to get the context and reasoning of a documentary after watching it to really grasp some of the narratives.
TOP TEN +1 DOCS TO SEE
Everyone seems to create lists as a way to organize their thoughts. I meticulously built a schedule around as many screenings as possible over the duration of the festival. Despite listing 35+ documentaries I hope to attend, there were at least fifteen other films I just couldn't fit. That being said, each year there are films I look forward to based on reviews, descriptions and content. Below is my top ten + 1 (in no particular order).
Clicking on the documentary will open a new window to the Hot Doc page with description, times and locations of the screenings.
Being Canadian for obvious reasons!
I will not be going into detail on why I wanted to see each film because I will hopefully write a few reviews about the screenings I attended (time and exhaustion permitting). I have found that selecting documentaries to see that are serious and also seeing others that are humourous gives a great juxtaposition to the experiences.
To conclude my post to this great festival, I've included all the screenings I hope to attend.
What Documentaries am I Seeing in 2015
Click on any movie to enlarge. Hover over picture to get a brief description.
Documentaries are in alphabetical order