May 11

Over 10 days, the Hot Docs Film Festival introduced us to the world. The issues. The future. Culture. Activism. Science & Technology. Society. Music.

By Sally Warburton

That’s a wrap!  Hot Docs Film Festival 2021

Over 10 days, the Hot Docs Film Festival introduced us to the world. The issues. The future. Culture. Activism. Science & Technology. Society. Music. A film on every topic possible. The last day of the festival May 9 ended with the announcement for the Rogers Audience Awards for Best Canadian Feature Docs at Hot Docs 2021 – Congratulations to the winners of these 5 docs.  Fanny: The Right to Rock. Kimmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy. Someone Like Me. Still Max. Hell or Clean Water. 

The Hot Docs Audience Award announced Monday, May  10 is Dear Future Children with the highest overall rating. The documentary deals with three women coping with the staggering personal impact of frontline activism. 

Screened as part of the festival was Audible (on Netflix) Audible deals with a High School for the Deaf. All the actors with ASL American Sign Language to communicate. They’re teenagers like any others – with the same issues and needs…everyone wants the success and the friendships and the tragic loss of a close friend. Fascinating to see. Audible is an excellent way into the teenage world of the deaf and ASL American sign language. 

The eye-opening Imad’s Childhood tells the life of young Yazidi boy Imad and his brother who were kidnapped by ISIS along with their father and uncles. 6 year old Imad and his 4 year brother return (without their father) to the refugee camp where their mother and grandmother live. Imad’s Childhood deals with the psychological and extreme behavioural issues as a result of his kidnapping. But the film centers on the mother and her grief and sadness and great difficulty dealing with her sons. Very moving. Very real. Reflective 

All-In – takes place at an All-Inclusive resort on the Turkish Riviera. Ismail and Hakan leave their villages for the first time to work at the resort. We see the resort through the eyes of the workers – how hard everyone has to work, interaction with guests, their living quarters, the friendships between the workers and how indulgent the All-Inclusive resort holiday seems… the buffets and the watersports.  Food for thought. Excellent documentary. 

One of the favourites was 7 Years of Lukas Graham about the Danish band with lead singer Lukas Forchhammer. They go to the USA on tour in different concert venues – starting with small venues to huge arenas with their hit song ‘7 Years’.  We see behind the scenes of the band conversing, watching their songs rise on the charts and prepping for the concert. Nominated for 3 Grammy Awards, we feel the thrill and disappointment of waiting for the results against stiff competition. Lukas sets his priority of being with his wife and baby when asked for a photo with a fan. 7 Years of Lukas Graham is a brilliant music documentary giving a glimpse into the life of a rock band. 

The Doll, the winner of Best International Short Documentary of Hot Docs 2021, dealt with a 14 year old Iranian girl whose father finally relented to having her married.  Through frank interviews with Asal’s father reveals his secrets and true intentions.  A masterpiece. 

The 2nd year of the Hot Film Festival being a virtual online was a great experience. Another success story. 10 days of learning and reflexion. The online event was easy to manoeuvre although we missed the many interactions during film events and while waiting in line to see films. An easier and more relaxing way to devour as many documentaries as you can in 10 days.The biggest documentary film festival in North American was once again a brilliant success. Don’t miss it next year…it might even be an in-cinema event in 2022! Fingers crossed!

We would like to thank all the publicist and public relations representatives during Hot Docs 2021.