April 16

HOT DOCS-Any Given Day (Beti Films) Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street (levelFILM) My Tree (Hawkeye Pictures)

Any Given Day (Beti Films)
Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street (levelFILM)
My Tree (Hawkeye Pictures)

Any Given Day

Hot Docs Premiere:
April 29, 2021

Hot Docs Site Page 
Producers: Beti Films
Directed byMargaret Byrne

Living with mental illness takes energy, and a lot is often wasted on managing the court system, substance abuse and poverty instead of basic treatment. Filmmaker Margaret Byrne knows that exhaustion. So when Chicago’s Cook County Mental Health Court offered a specialized probation for diagnosed detainees, she picked up her camera. What emerged is an exceptionally frank, multi-year diary between Byrne and three defendants: Angela, Dimitar and Daniel. But as Byrne shares the rarely seen nuances of their struggles, from Angela needing police to retrieve her toddler from her ex to Dimitar’s mother having to rehouse him for his own safety, she suffers another breakdown. Can an essentially punitive system deliver meaningful treatment? Or will the ties between people with mental illness and their families, institutions and society become more precarious? With complete honesty from all involved, Any Given Day starts the hard work of truly seeing people with mental illness and restoring their dignity

Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street

Hot Docs Premiere:
April 29, 2021

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Hot Docs Site Page 
Distributor: levelFILM

Directed by: Marilyn Agrelo
Written by: Michael Davis

A look inside the minds and hearts of the Sesame Street (1969) creators, artists, writers, and educators who, together established one of the most influential programs in television history.

My Tree (Hawkeye Pictures)

Hot Docs Premiere:
April 29, 2021

Hot Docs Site Page 
Producers: Hawkeye Pictures

Directed and written by: Jason Sherman

Jason Sherman recalls receiving many gifts for his bar mitzvah, but 40 years later, one particular present has held his fascination. A tree was planted in Israel, in his name. Keen to better understand its origins and hopefully find out what’s become of his seedling, he begins a quest from Toronto to Tel Aviv. Along the way he learns a lot about the Jewish National Fund, their afforestation projects and little blue boxes. Throughout the 1970s, the Canadian Jewish diaspora helped raise millions of dollars to develop Canada Park, a 700-hectare Israeli national park. Today, a dense canopy covers the remains of Palestinian villages that were razed in order to make “barren” land green. These forests were part of a national project driven by propaganda and good intentions. Sherman’s travels introduce him to many who don’t shy away from uncomfortable conversations in his attempt to get to the root of a complicated history.