Interview: Tonje Hessen Schei discusses Drone

The documentary Drone opens today and covers the very timely subject matter of drone strikes in the middle east. The film is directed by Norwegian director Tonje Hessen Schei, who is previously known for the documentaries Independent Intervention (2006) and Play Again (2010). When Drone screened earlier this year at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, I sat down with Tonje […]

Interview: Jessica Edwards discusses Mavis!

The music biography Mavis! opens today at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. The documentary looks back at the career of Mavis Staples, who was best known as one of the members of the Staples Singers. Mavis! is the first feature-length documentary by director Jessica Edwards, who previously directed the documentary shorts The Landfill (2012), Tugs (2011), and Seltzer Works (2010). When […]

Hot Docs 15 CAST Awards Announced

For the first time ever, the Cinema Appreciation Society of Toronto have announced the CAST Awards for the 2015 edition of the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival.  A total of thirteen individuals, myself included, submitted ballots to determine the top films of the festival.  The film that ended up coming out on top was […]

Hot Docs 2015: Wrap-Up

My coverage of the 2015 edition of the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival has come to an end.  This was actually my fifth year attending Hot Docs, my third as media, and I have now settled into the groove of providing full coverage.  I ended up seeing and reviewing 53 films as part of […]

Hot Docs 2015: War of Lies

The man responsible for the war in Iraq tells his side of the story in War of Lies.  Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, also known as Curveball, is an Iraqi refuge living in Germany, whose story is what lead the U.S. to believe that there were Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq.  Rafid sits down with […]

Hot Docs 2015: The Creeping Garden

The fascinating world of the plasmodial slime mould is explored in The Creeping Garden.  The plasmodial slime mould is an organism typically found around rotting logs, which can be described as a mix between a fungus and an animal.  Sporting a primitive intelligence, slime moulds fascinate scientists, who perform a wide variety of experiments. The […]

Hot Docs 2015: Possessed by Djinn

The murder of a young girl leads to an examination of the Islamic belief in djinn in Possessed by Djinn.  A four-year-old Jordanian girl named Aya is brutally killed by her father, who believed that she was possessed.  Spurred on by this event, filmmaker Dalia Al Kury launches into an investigation of djinn, which many […]

Hot Docs 2015: Doglegs

An underground Japanese wrestling league, where the disabled fight the able-bodied, is the subject of Doglegs.  Doglegs is a an underground wrestling league in Tokyo, where disabled wrestlers fight against the able-bodied.  A number of the wrestlers in the league are profiled, including retiring veteran “Sambo” Shintaro, cerebral palsy-diagnosed alcoholic L’Amant, and clinically depressed caregiver […]

Hot Docs 2015: Sam Klemke’s Time Machine

A man films updates on his life over a 35 year period in Sam Klemke’s Time Machine.  In 1977, a teenaged Sam Klemke decides that he is going to film an annual progress report on his life.  As the years go by, Klemke progressively becomes more heavy and bearded, as he settles into a career […]

Hot Docs 2015: Chuck Norris vs. Communism

Citizens in communist Romania find an escape in the form of bootlegged VHS action films in Chuck Norris vs. Communism.  In the 1980s, Romania was under control by a communist dictatorship, where citizens’ only view of the outside world came from bootlegged American films, which were viewed at secret screening parties.  The tapes were imported […]