Hot Docs 2012 Line-Up: Hactivism! Bob Marley! Jeffrey Dahmer! Finnish Punk! General Hospital! Ping Pong!
North America's largest documentary film festival, Hotdocs, just announced its opening line-up in a lengthy press release (below.) With almost 200 films from over 50 countries, there is a lot to wade through, but here are some of the titles catch my eye at first glance: Kevin MacDonald's much anticipated documentary on Bob Marley; a documentary on serial killer / cannibal Jeffrey Dalhmer (reviewed quite positively at SXSW) simply titled, Jeff; We Are Legion is a look at hactivist group Anonymous (the trailer is embedded below.)
If you were ever curious (morbidly or otherwise) about James Franco's stint on a daytime soap-opera there is Francophrenia, which I'm guessing will be livlier than the actors Oscar hosting duties from last year. Cult punk rockers from Finland, Name Day, get the feature length documentary treatment in The Punk Syndrome. And on the novelty side, there are old folks playing ping pong in Mongolia, or bonding with bovines in Sweden (Ping Pong and Women With Cows, respectively)
On the short film side of things, The Meaning of Robots (the trailer of which was a big hit in these parts) about a man building miniature sex-robots is in the midnight programme. And this is not the only sex-robot feature to play, there is also The Mechanical Bride, a feature length peep into the fabrication of artificial female companions, silicone sex dolls, humanoid robots, and the fantasies of the men who love them.
In the retrospective programme, there are three significant documentaries on filmmaking, Gambler documents the making of Nicholas Winding Refn's Pusher 2 (sure it's a bonus feature on the Pusher DVD, but why not catch it on the big screen?), Lost in La Mancha outlines, tragically, Terry Gilliam's on again, off again Don Quixote film, and Los Angeles Plays Itself, is one of the great film-essays, rarely seen due to 'rights issues' as it is constructed entirely out of movie-clips with a voice over relating to the geography and history of the City of Angels.
Hot Docs runs from April 26 - May 6. The complete press release is below:
The opening night film is the Canadian premiere of Alison Klayman's AI WEIWEI: NEVER SORRY, an up-close portrait at of the renowned Chinese activist and artist.Other notable films in the Special Presentations program include: Bart Layton's THE IMPOSTER, which depicts a lost and found boy who may not be who he claims; James Swirsky and Lisanne Pajot's INDIE GAME: THE MOVIE, a look into the lives of video game developers; Lauren Greenfield's THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES, a portrait of an eccentric billionaire family facing the economic crisis; Kevin Macdonald's MARLEY, the definitive biography of reggae artist Bob Marley; Christian Bonke and Andreas Koefoed's BALLROOM DANCER, a look at a Latin ballroom champion's ambitious comeback plans; and Yung Chang's CHINA HEAVYWEIGHT, an intimate portrayal of a boxing coach training poor teens in rural China.In the competitive Canadian Spectrum program, notable films include: Christy Garland's THE BASTARD SINGS THE SWEETEST SONG, the story of a tumultuous mother-son relationship in Guyana; Omar Majeed and Ryan Mullins' THE FROG PRINCES, the story of a developmentally challenged theatre group's struggle to mount an ambitious production; Angad Singh Bhalla's HERMAN'S HOUSE, a trip through the years with jailed Black Panther activist Herman Wallace; and Jonah Bekhor and Zach Math's THE FINAL MEMBER, which looks at Iceland's penis museum's search for a critical artifact.In the competitive International Spectrum program, notable films include: Bill Ross and Turner Ross' TCHOUPITOULAS, the adventures of three teenagers exploring the heart of New Orleans at night; Ra'anan Alexandrowicz's THE LAW IN THESE PARTS, a candid glimpse into the legal minds behind the rules and regulations governing the Occupied Territories; Elizabeth Mims and Jason Tippet's ONLY THE YOUNG, a look at a last stolen summer of first loves; and Sean McAllister's THE RELUCTANT REVOLUTIONARY, a portrait of a tour guide caught in the 2011 uprising in Yemen's capital.In the World Showcase program, notable films include: Tiffany Sudela-Junker's MY NAME IS FAITH, the story of a 12-year-old girl's struggle to overcome trauma and accept her adopted family; Beth Murphy's THE LIST, which reveals an American's crusade for refuge for his Iraqi colleagues; Alessandro Comodin's SUMMER OF GIACOMO, a 19-year-old deaf boy spends a summer day with a childhood friend; and Peter Gerdehag's WOMEN WITH COWS, the story of two sisters and their complicated relationship with a dozen cows.The Made In Southeastern Europe program includes: Lena Müller and Dragan von Petrovic's DRAGAN WENDE - WEST BERLIN, about West Berlin in 1970s and now as seen through a working-class Serbian émigré; Ed Moschitz's MAMA ILLEGAL, a glimpse into the lives of Moldovan women who struggle to support their families; and András Kollmann's STRONG - A RECOVERY STORY, about a mountaineer whose desire to climb does not fade following a catastrophic injury.The Next program includes: Will Lovelace and Dylan Southern's SHUT UP AND PLAY THE HITS, where LCD Soundsystem front-man James Murphy's bids farewell to his fans; Poull Brien's CHARLES BRADLEY: SOUL OF AMERICA, a heart-warming story of a 62-year-old illiterate James Brown impersonator from Brooklyn; Maya Gallus' THE MYSTERY OF MAZO DE LA ROCHE, a look at the mysterious life of the Canadian author; and Sylvia Caminer's AN AFFAIR OF THE HEART, a peek into the world of devoted Rick Springfield fans.The Rise Against program includes: Brian Knappenberger's WE ARE LEGION: THE STORY OF THE HACKTIVISTS, a radical collective's fight that redefined civil disobedience; Guy Davidi and Emad Burnat's 5 BROKEN CAMERAS, a portrait of a West Bank village threatened by an encroaching Israeli settlement; and Petr Lom's BACK TO THE SQUARE, a look at citizens in post-revolution Egypt.The Nightvision program includes: Chris James Thompson's JEFF, a biography of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer; Mary Kerr's RADIOMAN, the story of Radioman, a fixture in the NYC film scene; and James Franco and Ian Olds' FRANCOPHRENIA (OR: DON'T KILL ME, I KNOW WHERE THE BABY IS, a wild behind-the-scenes doc with James Franco on General Hospital.The Documentary Plays Itself program includes: Phie Ambo's GAMBLER, which follows director Nicholas Winding Refn as he shoots sequels of his cult classic; Louis Pepe and Keith Fulton's LOST IN LA MANCHA, which captures Terry Gilliam's ill-fated attempt to film the Don Quixote story; and Thom Andersen's LOS ANGELES PLAYS ITSELF, a look at how Los Angeles is depicted on film.
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