Early this morning, Toronto’s Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival filled out the remainder of its line-up, capping North America’s largest documentary film festival at 159 features. Like TIFF in September, which mixes Cannes and Venice ‘Best-ofs’ with world premieres, Hot Docs likewise has programmed an amalgam of Sundance and SXSW hits with an extra 33 films the world has never laid eyes on. The festival kicks off with POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, directed by the Oprah Winfrey of stunt documentary filmmakers, Morgan Spurlock. The film, a splash at both Sundance and SXSW, promises an engaging and provocative, if unsubtle, probing of David Lynch’s favorite fundraising tactic: product placement.
Among the notable films that will be playing in Toronto are award winners Dragonslayer, Kumaré, and Becoming Santa, all emerging victorious in Austin last week. Additionally, all eleven of Sundance’s Documentary award winners will show up, giving docuphiles some insurance films to add to their schedules amongst the World premieres, which are inevitably hit and miss. And speaking of insurance, there will be a retrospective of Toronto’s curmudgeon filmmaker Alan Zweig, whose four hilarious and poignant features, from Vinyl to A Hard Name, range from the narcissistic to supremely selfless. I hope to fill in my gaps in his filmography, as well as take a look at my most anticipated film in the featival, The National Parks Project, an omnibus film that is notable for the participation of Daniel Cockburn, who made one of my favorite films of last year in You Are Here.