Hot Docs —my top 10 picks past and current

Well, the Hot Docs Film Festival, one of my favourite events every spring, just wrapped up for 2014. (In case you’ve not heard of it, Hot Docs is North America’s largest documentary film festival – and it’s held in Toronto!)

I’ve been a subscriber to Doc Soup/Hot Docs for the last three seasons now, but I remember when my friends first mentioned it to me and said that they had subscribed to it. My first reaction was, “Ew, really?!” Being a lover of big budget action and suspense films, I couldn’t imagine how a full length documentary could really be that exciting. But then one year one of my friends wasn’t able to use one of her Hot Docs tickets and gave it to me to use instead. And that was it…Thus began my love of Hot Docs and documentary films!

My Top 10 Faves

I’ve seen so many great docs over the years, but here are 10 that really stood out for me:

  • Art & Copyby Doug Pray – This was my first ever documentary and the one that started me on my path to being a complete Hot Docs fan. This film was a total reminder for me of why I love the creative industries and how inspiring and amazing they can be when given the freedom to be.
  • Thunder Soul by Mark Landsman – The 2010 Hot Docs Audience Award Winner; an inspiring story of a high school funk band in the early 70’s and the teacher who led them to their success despite all odds.
  • The Human Scaleby Andreas M. Dalsgaard – a fantastic film that shows the power of great planning and design in a city.
  • Floby Riley Hooper – although this was just a short film played before a longer feature film, I totally loved it! Flo was such a great character, I was left totally wanting to see more after the film ended.
  • McCullin by Jacqui Morris – follows the life and work of renowned photojournalist Don McCullin. Incredible photos. A picture really does say a thousand words.
  • Mission Blueby Robert Nixon, Fisher Stevens – one of the 2014 Hot Docs top 20 audience choice picks. I never really thought about how connected our lives are to our oceans and how little we’re doing to protect and preserve them.  Definitely an eye-opener; with some incredible deep sea images as well.
  • Muscle Shoalsby Greg ‘Freddy’ Camalier – a great film! The 2013 Hot Docs Audience Award Winner. It’s amazing how much great music came from this one small town!
  • Shadows of Libertyby Jean-Philippe Tremblay – a total thought-provoker – makes you wonder: how much freedom does our press really have?
  • Somewhere Betweenby Linda Goldstein Knowlton – I’m not one to cry in public, but this one had me completely choked up! This 2011 Hot Docs People’s Choice Award Winner follows 4 teenage girls who had been orphaned in China and adopted by American families.
  • Chasing Iceby Jeff Orlowski– a visually stunning film. After watching this 2012 Hot Docs People’s Choice Award Winner, you will not be able to deny the impact we are having on this earth!

What are your top Hot Docs picks?

Carole Wiseman
Helping Clients Across Toronto Love Where They Live

PSR – Private Service Realty

Posted in Memorable Moments
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