Canadian Music Week (CMW) has partnered with Hot Docs to present Music Docs at Hot Docs. Featuring twelve outstanding docs from across the festival’s programs, these films featuring compelling stories for music fans, ranging from illicit raves in Iran to the comeback of eighties electro-pop pioneer Gary Numan, and from an immersive tour of the American south, birthplace of the Blues, to Senegal where hip hop stars merge artistry and activism to mobilize a citizens movement during the country’s presidential campaign.

In addition, Canadian Music Week has partnered with Hot Docs to present live music free of charge during Hot Docs’ opening weekend activities on April 30 and May 1, from 9-11PM, at The Mill Street Hub, located behind the Isabel Bader Theatre at 93 Charles Street West.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Canadian Music Week—music is such an important part of documentaries, both in form and content. As their world class event runs parallel to Hot Docs, we love finding ways to bridge these interconnected worlds,” say Hot Docs executive director Brett Hendrie. “Hot Docs is a wonderfully curated festival and we could not be more excited to partner with them on an exceptional year of programming. Film has been an important part of Canadian Music Week, and we look forward to seeing so many great music documentaries showcased alongside live music events in Toronto this spring,” says Canadian Music Week President Neill Dixon.

Here’s a list of all Music Docs screening at this year’s festival. Check the website for dates and times.


D: John Bolton | Canada | 2016 | 102 min | World Premiere

What do a daredevil jump in a rocket-powered car, a classical double bass album and an outrageous documentary musical have in common? Not much, except insane artistic risk that either ends in brilliance or utter disaster. You be the judge.


D: Susanne Regina Meures | Switzerland | 2016 | 85 min | International Premiere

In a country where the routine “eat, sleep, rave, repeat” is an act of political dissidence, two passionately driven DJs at the heart of Iran’s illegal techno scene peddle their beats on the black market and furtively throw desert dance parties, all while evading police.


D: Steve Read, Rob Alexander | UK | 2016 | 85 min | Canadian Premiere

Eighties electro-pop pioneer Gary Numan has re-emerged from the wilderness—anxiety, depression and creative block in check—with a renewed love of performing; but is his new hometown of Hollywood ready for this singular British rock star?


D: Daniel Cross | Canada | 2016 | 106 min | Canadian Premiere

From smoky juke joints to spirited church halls, this musical travelogue immerses us in the heart of the American South in search of wisdom and rhythm from the last of the original blues legends, including Bobby Rush, Lazy Lester and Barbara Lynn.


D: Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami | Iran, Germany, Switzerland | 2015 | 90 min | Canadian Premiere

After her family attempts to sell her into marriage, a young Afghan refugee in Iran channels her frustrations and seizes her destiny through music. Grabbing the mic, she spits fiery rhymes in the face of oppressive traditions.


D: Ester Gould, Reijer Zwaan | Netherlands, Belgium | 2016 | 83 min | Canadian Premiere

The scene-stealing dancers from Madonna’s wildly popular concert doc Truth or Dare open up 25 years later about life after suddenly becoming queer icons at a young and, for some, unready age.


D: Alek Keshishian | USA | 1991 | 122 min

Widely regarded as one of the best music documentaries ever made, Madonna defies boundaries and dares us to look away in this candid, compelling and unexpectedly revealing journey around the world, behind the scenes of her Blond Ambition tour.


D: Rama Thiaw | Senegal, France | 2016 | 110 min | North American Premiere

Merging artistry and activism, two celebrated hip-hop artists mobilize Senegal’s frustrated citizens into a popular movement during the 2012 presidential campaign by challenging corruption and bolstering the voice of the people with high energy and passion.


D: Pete McCormack | Canada | 2016 | 86 min | World Premiere

After a career as the captivating frontman for multi-platinum Canadian folk-rock band Spirit of the West, John Mann now faces the challenges of early onset Alzheimer’s while preparing for what could be his final performance at Massey Hall.

Screening with ANDY BARRIE: THE VOICE – D: Lana Slezic | Canada | 2015 | 14 min | World Premiere


D: Tal Barda, Noam Pinchas | Israel, France | 2016 | 74 min | World Premiere

Meet Tajikistan’s hilarious answer to the Jackson family.  Ruling his celebrated folk music clan with an iron tambourine, the titular patriarch, an ex-wrestler and part-time drunk who micro-manages their fiery performances and even spicier showdowns, faces his toughest challenge—retirement.

Screening with JOE’S VIOLIN – D: Kahane Cooperman | USA | 2016 | 24 min | International Premiere


D: Darby Wheeler | Canada | 2016 | 90 min | World Premiere

Acclaimed Canadian rapper Shad travels to the Bronx and Harlem to talk with hip-hop’s originators and biggest stars—Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash among others—tracing its evolution from underground to global phenomenon. Parts one and two of a four-part series.


D: Bill Ross IV, Turner Ross | USA | 2016 | 96 min | International Premiere

An extraordinary lineup of top music stars including event mastermind David Byrne of The Talking Heads, Nelly Furtado, St. Vincent and more perform live with 10 “colour guard” teams—perfectly synchronized students in pep-rally choreography—in this one-of-a-kind, kaleidoscopic event.

Hot Docs (, April 28–May 8, 2016.

CMW – ( May 2 -8, 2016

Ticket Box Office –  at 610 Markham Street,  416-637-5150, or online.



About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment, and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors, and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats. Reach out -