Hot Docs Festival offers both in person and online viewing options – April 28 to May 8, 2022
Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival is North America’s largest documentary festival, and will be returning for its 29 edition with both theatre and online viewing options, April 28–May 8, 2022. Official selections will also stream nationwide during the Festival on Hot Docs at Home.
From 2563 film submissions, this year’s slate will present 226 films from 63 countries in 15 programs, and will feature 63 world and 47 international premieres. Hot Docs continues its commitment to gender parity with 49% female directors represented in the official selection.
theBUZZ took it upon ourselves to let our readers know what’s queer and buzzin at this year’s Festival. See below for our must-see collection of docs….
HOT BUZZ PICKS
THE KIDS IN THE HALL: COMEDY PUNKS
Through never-before-seen archival footage and interviews with the “Kids” themselves, delve into the group’s mid-1980s post-punk origins and their 40-year legacy as a renowned, cult comedy troupe in the leadup to their iconic show’s impending reboot for Prime Video. Produced by Blue Ant Studios.
Tuesday, May 3 6:30 PM Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema
Friday, May 6 8:30 PM Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema
Saturday, May 7 10:30 AM Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema
D: Reg Harkema | P: Nick McKinney, Kim Creelman | Canada, USA | 2022 | 95 min | Canadian Premiere
MY OLD SCHOOL
Alan Cumming marvellously re-enacts the jaw-dropping scandal of an odd 16-year-old boy enrolled in a
posh Glasgow high school whose unbelievable secret became shocking front page news.
Sunday, May 1 5:15 PM TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
Wednesday, May 4 10:00 AM Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema
Saturday, May 7 5:30 PM Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema
D: Jono McLeod | P: John Archer, Olivia Lichtenstein | UK | 2022 | 104 min | Canadian Premiere
Aga left her conservative hometown in Poland a decade ago so she could openly live as a lesbian in Germany. But when her mother dies, she must return to look after her teenaged brother Milosz. People don’t talk about their feelings in this traditional rural village, where patriarchy still defines strict gender roles. Raising Milosz is challenging, especially since she’s never told him about her 10-year relationship with Maja. To be appointed as Milosz’s legal guardian, the courts cannot learn about Aga’s “lifestyle,” raising the stakes even higher after Maja arrives and tries to find a place for herself in the fledgling new family. What will re-closeting themselves do to Aga and Maja’s partnership? Can they rise above the xenophobic environment to parent a young man into adulthood, and what will being a man mean to Milosz now? Tender and fraught, this intimate family chronicle reveals a different kind of “coming out” story for a new generation
With genre-blurring storytelling and re-enactments featuring an all-star cast of transgender artists, the
story of a young trans woman who entered a sex disorders study in 1958 seeking gender-affirming care
revives untold stories of those who redefined gender in the mid-twentieth century.
Sunday, May 1 8:30 PM TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
Thursday, May 5 5:45 PM Varsity 8
D: Chase Joynt | P: Samantha Curley, Shant Joshi, Chase Joynt | Canada, USA | 2022 | 75 min | Canadian
STILL WORKING 9 TO 5
The highest grossing comedy of 1980, 9 to 5 delivered a serious message about American working
women. Forty years later, Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton discuss why workplace inequality is
no laughing matter.
Friday, April 29 8:30 PM TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
Monday, May 2 10:00 AM Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema
Saturday, May 7 8:30 PM Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema
D: Camille Hardman, Gary Lane | P: Camille Hardman, Gary Lane | USA | 2022 | 97 min | International
FREEDOM FROM EVERYTHING
Drawing inspiration from Hito Steyerl’s essay “Freedom from Everything,” Mike Hoolboom reflects on
AIDS and coronavirus—two pandemics that have shaped his life—while exposing the perils of a
neoliberal agenda and the pitfalls of a gig economy.
Friday, April 29 8:15 PM TIFF Bell Lightbox 4
Tuesday, May 3 2:15 PM TIFF Bell Lightbox 3
D: Mike Hoolboom | P: Mike Hoolboom | Canada | 2022 | 83 min | World Premiere
An openly gay man in communist Poland, at 82 Lula is every inch a rebel, performing as a drag queen in
his blatantly homophobic country. Not even his own mortality can dampen his truth that life needs to be
lived out loud.
Wednesday, May 4 8:15 PM TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
Sunday, May 8 2:30 PM TIFF Bell Lightbox 3
D: Bogna Kowalczyk | P: Tomasz Morawski, Katarzyna Kuczyńska, Vratislav Šlajer, Hanka Kastelicova |
Poland, Czech Republic | 2022 | 70 min | World Premiere
Trapped between crushing sexual taboos and desire, three beautiful 20-something Algerian men take us
into the ancient streets of Constantine and the male-only world of cafés to eloquently reveal their lives
and the dangers of sexual attraction.
Monday, May 2 2:30 PM TIFF Bell Lightbox 4
D: Raymonde Provencher | P: Raymonde Provencher | Canada | 2015 | 52 min
QUEER MY FRIENDS
Spanning several years, a South Korean filmmaker documents her best friend as he comes of age,
realizing his sexual identity as a gay man in this complex and tender tale about the dynamics between
filmmaker and subject and the power of friendship.
Tuesday, May 3 8:00 PM TIFF Bell Lightbox 3
Saturday, May 7 3:15 PM Varsity 7
D: Ah-hyun Seo | P: Sarah Kang | South Korea | 2022 | 82 min | World Premiere
From the front rows of Paris’s runway shows to the decadent after-parties, drag queen Violet Chachki,
musician Casey Spooner and style icon Michelle Elie navigate fashion’s publicity theatre and crushing
court system, loving the glitter but loathing the grind of its dream machine.
Saturday, April 30 8:00 PM Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema
Friday, May 6 2:30 PM Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema
D: Gianluca Matarrese | P: Dominique Barneaud | France | 2022 | 87 min | North American Premiere
Sinéad O’Connor never wanted to become a pop star, she just wanted to scream! The iconoclastic
musician’s phenomenal rise to worldwide fame and her exile from the pop mainstream is presented
through a contemporary feminist lens.
Wednesday, May 4 9:30 PM Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema
Saturday, May 7 8:45 PM TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
Sunday, May 8 1:45 PM Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema
D: Kathryn Ferguson | P: Eleanor Emptage, Michael Mallie | Ireland, UK | 2022 | 97 min | Canadian
HOOKERS ON DAVIE
Considered an important work in the Canadian film canon, Janis Cole and Holly Dale turn to the margins
of society with an intimate look at the lives and stories of sex workers in Vancouver.
Wednesday, May 4 2:45 PM Varsity 7
D: Janis Cole, Holly Dale | P: Janis Cole, Holly Dale | Canada | 1984 | 86 min
An all-female art rock band gives themselves one year to become popstars or quit forever. The Post
Performance Blues Band isn’t really a band in this not-quite-a-documentary comedy of errors in
motherhood, turning 40 and being rejected.
Tuesday, May 3 9:30 PM Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema / Saturday, May 7 4:45 PM TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
D: Álfrún Örnólfsdóttir | P: Þórður Jónsson, Heather Millard | Iceland | 2022 | 88 min | World Premiere
NELLY & NADINE
Poring over footage of liberated concentration camp prisoners in 1945, the filmmaker uncovers the
astonishing story of two women who fell in love in Ravensbrück, leading to a dogged investigation and
family archives that reveal their journey to a new freedom.
Saturday, April 30 12:00 PM TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
Thursday, May 5 5:30 PM Isabel Bader Theatre
D: Magnus Gertten | P: Ove Rishoig Jensen | Sweden, Belgium, Norway | 2022 | 93 min | North
Tickets and ticket packages can be purchased and/or redeemed online or in person at Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema Box Office, located at 506 Bloor Street West (hours vary daily in accordance with screenings). Single tickets are $19 to regular Festival screenings and $22 to Special Presentations and events. A Festival 6-Pack is $99, a Festival 12-Pack is $189, and a Festival 20-Pack is $269. Hot Docs offers free tickets for all screenings before 5:00 p.m. to those 60+ and students with valid photo I.D., available online the day of the screening, subject to availability. Free screenings for students courtesy of CBC GEM.
The Big Ideas Series will spark engaging conversations with notable guests such as: activist and filmmaker Abigail Disney—Walt Disney’s grandniece—and director Kathleen Hughes (The American Dreams and Other Fairy Tales); members of legendary Canadian comedy troupe The Kids In The Hall with director Reg Harkema and executive producers Nick McKinney and Paul Myers (The Kids In The Hall: Comedy Punks); Dasha Navalny, daughter of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, Bellingcat’s lead Russia investigator Christo Grozev and Toronto filmmaker Daniel Roher (Navalny); activist Deja Foxx, Harvard PhD candidate Avriel Epps-Darling and American filmmaker Shalini Kantayya (TikTok, Boom.); and chef, humanitarian, and founder of World Central Kitchen José Andrés, who will join via livestream.
The Special Presentations program, showcasing high-profile films, festival round heavy hitters, and renowned subjects, includes world premieres of the charming Million Dollar Pigeons, a glimpse into high stakes competitive pigeon racing, and Barry Avrich’s eye-opening The Talented Mr. Rosenberg, a look at Toronto’s notorious Yorkville Swindler. International premieres include Ron Howard’s We Feed People, about World Central Kitchen’s José Andrés; Reid Davenport’s I Didn’t See You There, in which the disabled filmmaker examines the legacy of freakshows; Abigail Disney and Kathleen Hughes’s The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales, in which Walt Disneys’ grandniece explores America’s profound inequality crisis. Hot Docs Forum 2021 alum, first look Pitch Prize winner, and Sundance Festival hit Fire of Love, makes its Canadian premiere alongside other bold films like To the End, featuring Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Sunrise Movement’s Varshini Prakash, and others.
The Canadian Spectrum competitive program showcases bold new works by Canadian directors, including the world premieres of: Don’t Come Searching, the story of a Jamaican migrant worker returning home from Canada with life-altering news for his partner; Okay! (The ASD Band Film), which takes us backstage to meet four talented musicians on the autism spectrum as they prepare for their first live show; Bernie Langille Wants to Know What Happened To Bernie Langille, where a man sets out to uncover the mystery behind his grandfather’s unresolved death; Freedom from Everything, a sobering reflection on AIDS and coronavirus that exposes the perils of a neoliberal agenda; Scrap, an exploration of the haunting spaces where discarded machinery is left to rust; and Shelter, which follows the filmmaker as she returns to the town she grew up in and explores the concept of “home.”
The International Spectrum competitive program offers engaging stories from around the globe, from deeply personal to urgent calls for justice. World premieres in the program include: Blue Island, a hybrid film about the aftermath of the crackdown on Hong Kong’s recent protest movement; Boylesque, a portrait of an openly gay 82-year-old Polish man living loudly in his palpably homophobic country; Delikado, a gripping doc about land defenders confronted with murder, betrayal and political corruption as they fight to preserve paradise in the Philippines; The Killing of a Journalist, an infuriating account of the failed, corrupt investigation into the murder of a Slovakian journalist; Petites (Little Girls), a revisiting of the infamous Dutroux Affair, a case involving the kidnapping and murder of children that shook Belgium in the 1990s; and Sam Now, an emotional, vibrant portrait of a mother and son’s relationship after she leaves him at 11 years old to start a new life.
Recent works from Chile will be presented as part of the Made In program, highlighting the growing international impact of Chile’s vibrant documentary film industry, showcasing exciting new voices and covering a vast storytelling terrain. Made In Chile will revisit the horrors of the Pinochet-era torture camps in the world premiere of Meeting Point; challenge Chile’s colonial past in the world premiere of On Suspicion Zokunentu; introduce audiences to teens navigating the unforgiving streets of Bogotá in Alis; take us on a journey to the mystical Chilean desert in search of love and the otherworldly in Desert Space; and peer into the country’s future as one of Latin America’s most progressive nations in Primera.
The World Showcase program features revelatory stories that span the globe, including the world premieres of: Shooting War, an eye-opening look at the physical, emotional, and psychological challenges faced by conflict photojournalists; Mom, a compassionate look at the healing process between a filmmaker and his mother as he confronts the constructs of patriarchy; Zero Position, a doc that transports you to the frontline of Eastern Ukraine prior to the current invasion and explores the layers of unseen forces that shape the ongoing conflict; And Still I Sing, the story of two young singers vying to become the first-ever female winners of Afghan Star as the Taliban returns to power; African Moot, a look at the annual African Human Rights Moot Court Competition, where hundreds of law students gather to argue hypothetical cases—and grapple with their countries’ real migration issues; and Queer My Friends, in which a Korean filmmaker documents her best friend over several crucial years as he comes of age and realizes his sexual identity as a gay man.
The Artscapes program showcases creative minds, artistic pursuits and inventive filmmaking, and features the world premieres of: How Saba Kept Singing, a life-affirming film in which a 94-year-old man finally reveals to his family how he survived his time at Auschwitz; Beautiful Scars, an intimate portrait of Canadian singer-songwriter Tom Wilson as he confronts the revelation of the family secret underlying his mysterious upbringing; For Real, in which provocative French-Cameroonian rapper Ichon works to get rid of a public persona that no longer fits him while experiencing a creative regeneration; and The Artist’s Daughter, Oil on Canvas, the story of a woman attempting to heal wounds and better understand her distant father, an esteemed Israeli painter, through his work.
The popular Nightvision program features six future cult classics, including: the world premiere of F**ck It Up!, a real life This is Spinal Tap that follows punk band Towers of London as they live it up and spectacularly wreck their multi-million-dollar record deal; the international premiere of Crows Are White, which tells the story of a Muslim filmmaker and a rebel Buddhist monk’s search for enlightenment in an isolated monastery; and the North American premieres of Bucolic, an observational piece that captures the lives of a mother and daughter living in nature outside the modern world with the timelessness of a Grimm’s fairy tale; and Fashion Babylon, a full-access invitation into the glamorously chaotic fashion world, featuring fashion-darling drag queen Violet Chachki, musician Casey Spooner, and style icon Michelle Elie.
The Persister program will premiere nine feature films and two shorts programs that shine a light on the voices of strong, inspirational women who are speaking up and being heard. The program will feature the world premieres of: Category: Woman, the new film from award-winning director Phyllis Ellis (Toxic Beauty) that exposes the unjust policing of women’s bodies in sports; Deconstructing Karen documents a lively dinner party where a group of white women sit down to wine, a meal and a radically honest conversation about racism; Ernesto, Gracias, a touching portrait of motherly love featuring a pregnant filmmaker, her autistic brother, and her single mother as they struggle to overcome their economic and medical challenges in Costa Rican society; Hunting in Packs captures three bold female politicians from Canada, the UK and America with vastly different ideologies as they fight to upend the political establishment; and Silent Beauty, an intimate and brave doc by a filmmaker confronting her grandfather’s acts of sexual violence while exposing generations of victims who suffered the same abuse.
The Markers program features seven features and one short that push the boundaries of the documentary genre, including: the international premiere of Xaraasi Xanne – Crossing Voices, a stirring portrait of radical collectivity featuring a group of African migrant workers in Europe who return to Mali to establish an agricultural cooperative; and Skin, a North American premiere, that takes you to the streets of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and explores stories of struggling people through the city’s graffiti and street art. Also included in the program is the Canadian premiere of experimental film legend James Benning’s The United States of America, which looks at the state of his home country by way of 52 fixed shots, progressing alphabetically from Alabama to Wyoming.
The Changing Face of Europe program offers engaging stories and new perspectives on a Europe in an ongoing state of transition. World premieres include: Atomic Hope – Inside the Pro-Nuclear Movement, an investigation into whether nuclear energy is the only carbon-neutral technology capable of tackling the climate crisis; and Band, which introduces us to an all-female art rock band dealing with motherhood, aging and a self-imposed deadline to achieve success. In Bigger than Trauma, an international premiere, women gather in an unorthodox therapy group to confront the aftermath of sexual violence during the Croatian War of Independence. Burial, a North American premiere, is a meditation on nuclear energy and the great effort required to deal with its waste.
Hidden Histories is a new theme program that brings buried stories to light. Films featured include: the world premiere of Unloved: Huronia’s Forgotten Children, a searing account of the culture of abuse inside Ontario’s oldest government-run home for disabled children; and international premieres of Four Journeys, a filmmaker’s attempt to repair his relationship with his parents while revisiting a challenging childhood as a second child under China’s punitive one-child policy, and Relative, the revelatory story of a filmmaker confronting the history of multi-generational abuse in her family.
The popular Deep Dive program presents long-form episodic series featuring complex and layered storytelling. World premieres include: In the Eye of the Storm: The Political Odyssey Of Yanis Varoufakis, a must-see six-part series about controversial Greek politician Yanis Varoufakis; The Unsolved Murder of Beverly Lynn Smith, a new Canadian Amazon Original docuseries that dives into the controversial sting operation that was designed to catch the killer of a 22-year-old woman in Raglan, Ontario; and We’re All Gonna Die (Even Jay Baruchel), a smart and quirky series about the end of the world hosted by Jay Baruchel that invites top scientists, activists, and experts to explore the global crises that could cause humanity’s demise and offer solutions. Deep Dive will also present the international premiere of Absolute Beginners, a visual yearbook that transports us to a pastoral Danish boarding school and introduces us to 120 teenagers finding love, heartbreak, friendship, and self-acceptance during the pandemic.
This year’s Redux program, a retrospective showcase of documentaries that deserve another outing on the big screen, will present landmark films from Telefilm Canada’s Canadian Cinema – Reignited initiative, a digitization project to reinforce the importance of Canadian films in cinemas, festivals and digital platforms. Featured in the program are works by renowned filmmaking duo Janis Cole and Holly Dale, including Hookers on Davie (1984), P4W: Prison for Women (1981), and Calling the Shots (1988), as well as the shorts Bowie: One in a Million (2000) and Shaggie: Letters from Prison (1990); and works by Canadian Inuk director Zacharias Kunuk, including From Inuk Point of View (1985) and Unikkaat Sivunittinnit (Messages from the Past) (1991).
The Festival’s Focus On program will spotlight the work of Canadian filmmaker Raymonde Provencher, including retrospective titles Café Désirs (2015) and War Babies (2002), and screening online only Crimes Without Honour (2012) and Grace, Milly, Lucy…Child Soldiers (2010).
The Outstanding Achievement Award Retrospective program will honour 2022 recipient, master Indian documentarian Anand Patwardhan, and feature his films Father, Son and Holy War (1994), Reason (2018), A Time to Rise (1981) and War and Peace (2002). 2020 Outstanding Achievement Award recipient Stanley Nelson will also be recognized with a selection of his recent work, including 2022 Oscar-nominated Attica, as well as the international premieres of two films celebrating the lives of historic Black American figures, Becoming Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman: Visions of Freedom.
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.