We are back again for the 2017 edition of the Hot Docs Film Festival reviewing films, and keeping an ear to the ground to see what has audiences buzzing. Last year’s festival screened two of the nominees for the 2017 Best Documentary Feature Oscar including the eventual winner OJ: Made in America, so there’s no doubt that once again the year’s best docs will be on full display.
Tag: film festival
Improv as a type of comedic delivery and actor training has exploded in the past decade. Often on the sets of comedy films and television shows, it is now encouraged as a way to collaborate with the director and other cast members, and to generate unexpected material. Many comedians who started as improvisors have gone on to rewarding careers and great acclaim in Hollywood. A lot of the teachings being used for this success can be traced back to Del Close, one of founding pioneers of what we now identify as improv comedy. Thank You Del: The Story of the Del Close Marathon delves into the history of the art form and the legacy he left, as well as being a behind the scenes look at one of the most prestigious improv comedy festivals in America.
Of the films I’m reviewing at Hot Docs 2016, Strike a Pose has been my top pick from the moment I saw it. It had an emotional resonance to it that I immediately connected with. It tells the incredible story of the seven dancers selected for Madonna’s boundary-pushing 1990 Blond Ambition Tour, who were also featured in the accompanying documentary film Truth or Dare. Now, 25 years after this iconic moment in American cultural history, we learn how those experiences affected their lives and who they’ve become now. It’s an emotional story of self-expression, healing, and redemption.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with co-directors Ester Gould and Reijer Zwaan, and ask about the making of the film. I would like to thank them for taking the time to answer my questions.
Now that enough time has started to pass in the fight for equality and social acceptance in the LGBT community in North America, stories reflecting on the past and key moments in the struggle have started to emerge. There is a compelling and important history that is now being documented. The documentary Strike a Pose, directed by Ester Gould and Reijer Zwaan, and set against the backdrop of Madonna’s iconic 1990 Blond Ambition Tour and accompanying documentary film Truth or Dare, tells the story of a group of dancers who were unexpectedly thrust into the spotlight and reluctantly became beacons for pushing the gay rights movement forward at a time when it was still controversial. This is a cathartic look at what came after the fame bubble burst and the lasting impact these experiences had on these men.
This year’s Toronto After Dark Festival has a wide-range of horror genre films. Everything from home invasions, haunted houses, zombie apocalypses, to Japanese action flicks show up in the line-up. Adding to that is one of the closing night selections, the body horror comedy film Patchwork, directed by Tyler MacIntyre. This Frankenstein and Re-Animator-inspired story is a humourous revenge tale with a social commentary twist.