Hot Docs

Kids Need You to Trust Them

Susan Valentine | Posted 05.14.2015 | Canada Parents
Susan Valentine

As parents and caregivers, how can we best help our children shape their sense of self? Trust. Through trusting them, demonstrating trustworthiness, and instilling a sense of trust. The more we trust our children, and are open to listening to their feelings and experiences, the more they learn to trust their own internal state.

We Wanted to Reframe the Way We See Homeless People, Using Music

Shelley Saywell | Posted 04.28.2015 | Canada Impact
Shelley Saywell

Anthony Van Zant is a homeless musician we've been filming for a year for a documentary film called Lowdown Tracks. We recorded the songs and stories of homeless musicians, but the process of making this film lead to even deeper revelations about my own prejudices and fears.

We Explored Newfoundland's History Through the Story of One Man

William D. MacGillivray | Posted 04.29.2015 | Canada Politics
William D. MacGillivray

The documentary Danny is as much about Newfoundland and Labrador as it is about Danny Williams. Despite the usual incursions through mass media and recently the Internet, Newfoundland and Labrador remains quite unique in Canada. A part of the North American land mass, it is also a huge, crazily desolate island off the Atlantic coast.

My First Time Out of India Begins with Hot Docs

Anith Kumar | Posted 07.04.2014 | Canada
Anith Kumar

I never expected to be flying in my first plane at age 22. A month and a half ago Canadian Madeleine Grant emailed me, inviting me to the 2014 Hot Docs International Documentary Festival to be held in Toronto. She has a made a documentary film on my classmates and myself called The Backward Class.

What Do You Do When Your Star Quits Your Film?

John Kastner | Posted 06.29.2014 | Canada
John Kastner

There he stood with his excellent manners telling me politely that he did not want to be in my film, or discuss his tragic case or for that matter have anything further to do with me, not now or ever. And for the next few months, cut me dead. Welcome to the cruel realities of the world of documentary making. It's supposed to get easier when you've won four Emmys.

The Film That Exposes Canada's Secret Trials

Amira Elghawaby | Posted 06.25.2014 | Canada Politics
Amira Elghawaby

After four years of production and grassroots fundraising, the story of Canada's secret trials is finally hitting the big screen. The Secret Trial 5 will be premiering at the Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival in Toronto.

Seven Canadian Arts Mavens You Want to Know

Marcello Cabezas | Posted 09.06.2013 | Canada
Marcello Cabezas

Who better to share their thoughts on arts mavens in Canada that you may not know, but should, than folks who are at the pulse of the magic that is going on in our country. The secret nuggets that are just blooming. Here are their picks of what you should know.

'Oil Sands Karaoke' Finds Music (And A Drag Queen) In Fort McMurray

HuffPost Canada Music | Sarah Kurchak | Posted 05.15.2013 | Canada Music

Long before "Oil Sands Karaoke" director Charles Wilkinson was a documentary filmmaker, he was a musician. So getting to make a film about a group of ...

'Alias' Documentary Follows Aspiring Toronto Rappers

HuffPost Canada Music | Sarah Kurchak | Posted 05.15.2013 | Canada Music

Filmmaker Michelle Latimer has long been a fan of hip-hop music — her first concert was a Maestro Fresh Wes gig in Thunder Bay, Ontario — but rese...

Why Atheists Are Wrong About Religion

Diane Weber Bederman | Posted 07.03.2013 | Canada Living
Diane Weber Bederman

That Lawrence Krauss and Richard Dawkins are disappointed that religion hasn't gone the way of the dinosaur perhaps speaks to the fact that religion provides something of great importance to human beings, an importance that is beyond their grasp. Science provides the cold hard facts of life. Religion provides meaning. Even Dr. Krauss agreed that we make the meaning in our lives. Why can't that meaning come from religion?

Diagnosed with ALS: Two Fathers, Two Choices

Andrew Moir | Posted 07.01.2013 | Canada Living
Andrew Moir

A few years after his diagnosis with ALS, my dad could no longer breathe independently and he decided to use a ventilator. He wanted to prolong his life for as long as possible to be around for my two siblings and me as we grew up. My dad is still alive today but is now completely paralyzed.

Not Evil, Just Ill: A Woman Makes Peace With the Man Who Almost Killed Her

John Kastner | Posted 06.27.2013 | Canada
John Kastner

I am about to screen my finished film for Andy Bouvier, his wife, Noella, and the victim, their daughter Julie. They will be learning for the first time what was going through the mind of a madman in the midst of that murderous psychotic break -- what he was thinking as he tried to stab Julie to death.

Cinema Verité: How Filming My Friend's Cancer Fight Renewed My Passion For Documentary Film

Anne Wheeler | Posted 06.26.2013 | Canada Living
Anne Wheeler

We had a small window of opportunity when Babz could travel and we took it. We couldn't wait, we couldn't plan -- we just followed what was happening now. Yes, it meant that we had to live with the unexpected and the unconventional story twists. But that's life -- which can't be forecasted before the cameras start rolling.

"I Can't Believe I Caused So Much Suffering": An Attempted Murderer Relives His Crime

John Kastner | Posted 06.25.2013 | Canada
John Kastner

We are now half-way through the screening. When Sean hears the victim describing years of pain she endured from the six stab wounds he inflicted, he sighs and says quietly: "I can't believe I caused so much suffering," He is nervous but excited that the film is coming out soon.

Friendship, Dreams, and Fighting: A Tale of Two Women in the Ring

Juliet Lammers | Posted 06.24.2013 | Canada
Juliet Lammers

Our documentary film, Last Woman Standing, tells the story of Ariane and Mary, two world champion boxers, former friends, and one-time teammates, forced to fight one another for the shared dream of making history at the first Olympic Games to include women's boxing.

"I Am a Monster": Life In a Forensic Psychiatric Hospital

John Kastner | Posted 06.23.2013 | Canada
John Kastner

Growing whispery and weepy, Jimmy tells me his story. He murdered his wife and two daughters, aged 14 and 9, with an axe. "I don't want to live," he moans, "I'm a monster." In 25 years of making prison films I've never seen an inmate crack open this way. Most killers I have encountered rarely show real remorse.

"I Want to Erase My Name": One Woman's Escape From Kim Jong-un

Ann Shin | Posted 06.09.2013 | Canada
Ann Shin

I had come to the Sino-North Korean border in order to film a documentary about North Korean defectors. Since Kim Jong-un took office, the situation has been dire for those hoping to escape. If they are caught as illegal migrants in China, they will be deported back to the DPRK where they will face torture and imprisonment. Sook-ja had waded across the icy Tumen River several weeks before, carrying a bundle of clothes above her head. She didn't know how to swim and yet she had risked her life in order to find her sister who had disappeared in China. "I came all this way to find her, and... she's gone."