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: Hot Docs
By now, the reality of what climate change is doing to our planet is sinking in. We have reached a point where we must accept that we are already on a path of transformation not seen in the last 10,000 years and that there’s little we can do to reverse it. It’s at this point that a sense of desperation and an urge to give up easily set in. How do we combat this feeling? Academy Award-nominated director Josh Fox continues his environmental pursuits and attempts to answer this question with his latest film, How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change, a journey that takes him to 12 countries on six continents. Can we find happiness in the face of overwhelming hopelessness?
In remote communities, opportunities for inspiration can be hard to come by. In the isolation, it’s easy for teenagers and young kids to lose hope that there could be anything more for them. In Finland, above the Arctic Circle, a high school cheerleading coach is aiming to change that by attempting to give the members of her team confidence and a sense that they can achieve something bigger if they work hard and put their mind to it. She is trying to give them a brighter future through sport. However, as Christy Garland’s film Cheer Up shows, how to do you fight the feelings of complacency when you’re the worst team in the country and when the girls let their personal lives interfere?
The world of vintage wine collecting is a highly lucrative business. Every year millions of dollars are spent by the richest connoisseurs to fill their own personal cellars. Like any hobby dealing in antiquities, the thrill is in the hunt to own the rarest of items. When a young man named Rudy Kurniawan showed up on the scene and started making a name for himself as a big-time player in the auction world, a ripple began spreading through the old boys’ club. Kurniawan started selling bottles from his collection and soon the biggest con ever to hit the vintage wine world was uncovered. Thousands of bottles of counterfeit wine flooded into the marketplace. Directors Jerry Rothwell and Reuben Atlas have chronicled the high-stakes story in their film Sour Grapes, an engaging look at the rise and fall of a man trying to outsmart the greatest experts in the world.
Every so often, we are witness to examples of the American justice system failing its inmates. Such is the case for New Yorker Darius McCollum, a repeat offender with 32 convictions. Diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at an early age, his love of public transit turned into a revolving door of him impersonating bus and subway train operators, being arrested and convicted of a felony, being in jail, being released, and compulsively repeating his behaviour. At no point has he received any counselling while in prison, therefore ensuring his journey stays the same. Adam Irving’s Off the Rails documents the life of this man who has not received the care he needs and has fallen through the cracks of a society more concerned with keeping people locked up than helping them get better.