This special brunch panel features the incredible ensemble team behind of six directors from our Festival’s closing night feature. Join us for a peek behind-the-scenes of this anthology film and learn more about how Hopeless Romantic subverts all of the Hollywood rom-com tropes.
We love well-done sports stories. This gripping documentary follows the fortune and fate of the Venezuelan women’s football (soccer) over the course of the 2017 season. The team is ambitious, and properly so because they boast some of the best football players in the world. Their dream is nothing less than world domination, a particularly bold aspiration for women living in one of the most impoverished social-economic environments imaginable. A trio of filmmakers, including Caracas-based Jennifer Socorro, covers the life and progress of team members from every conceivable angle. Indeed, it takes a team to cover a team, and so the production of this doc perfectly mirrors the subject of partnership and cooperation that is so central to success. If you love football you will adore this exuberant chronicle of human achievement—on and off the field. And even if you don’t, you will admire the way these remarkable young women end up rousing an entire continent to cheer them on to their gooooooooooooooooals.
Here again is an example of a wise directorial collaboration, a three-person team one of whom is our very own towering talent Jordan Canning. Perhaps it’s not surprising that a team of filmmakers would create a drama with a multiple pov structure. The set-up might be familiar but the arc of the drama is decidedly original. Smart, athletic college student Cara Cook suddenly drops out of sight. The film takes us through the following five days, showing us a set of perspectives--that of Cara’s distraught parents, the anxious detective on the case, and Cara herself. This is a terrific, witty exercise in genre, as the film teases out all the time-honoured characteristics of the missing-woman story and then turns all of it inside out. Are we in a thriller? A woman-as-victim fable? A mystery? A tragedy? You have to see it to find out, and the answer to all of these questions is well worth the adventure.
Because we live in such a musical province many in our audience might already be familiar with the subject of this moving documentary about a young man felled by an attacker. Scott Jones is a Nova Scotia musician who was paralyzed from the waist down after a brutal homophobic attack. The brutality of the experience led him to assess his identity as a gay man and ponder the heaviest of questions about his life and purpose. Director Laura Marie Wayne gives us an intimate, tender portrait of Scott’s journey over several years, taking us along on his quest to make sense of what happened to him and go forward with acceptance and meaning. It is impossible not to be drawn into Scott’s story, so open and expansive is his relationship with the camera and, thereby, with us. Fresh from a successful festival run, Love, Scott has been picking up all the best prizes along the way. You will see why almost immediately. This is one of the most moving, beautiful docs we have ever seen.
Navigating the festival circuit can be tricky, but these expert panelists are here with your field-guide to maximizing your film’s festival run. Learn tips on how to advance yourself as an artist and gain insight into the process of programming from Canada’s top Festival insiders.
We are thrilled to be showcasing this fresh feature from acclaimed Obijway director-writer, Darlene Naponse. With several Sundance Film Festival works in her repertoire, Naponse enhances our screen with such a stunning work that even without any dialogue it would be a gorgeous tone poem. Viewers should easily recognize Tantoo Cardinal in the title role. The award-winning actor has been in every self-respecting Canadian film and television series about and/or by aboriginal people for decades. Here she carries the wisdom and force of a woman who has experienced the highs and lows of relationships and work. A world-famous Anishinaabe musician, she retreats from the stage and heads to the reserve to refuel her soul. Nature heals and inspires but it cannot always prohibit the intrusion of the world she left behind. Falls Around Her tells this woman’s story with a measured, respectful pace, coaxing us gently into the steady rhythms of the drama with awesome grace.
Photographer-director Irem Harnak explores the origins of her VR experience, Made This Way: Redefining Masculinity, a project on transgender men and non-binary experiences of masculinity. Harnak discusses the original project design as a photographic series, how it evolved into a collaborative documentary VR with co-creator Elli Raynai, and how the experience of VR can enable audiences to embody the stories they hear, see and experience.
With a legacy of comedic talent, Canada is stepping up with a new generation of creators who are taking over the screen. Learn more about the business of being funny by some of the leading directors, writers and actors in the industry, and the new innovative approaches they have adopted to bring their shows beyond television screens.
You don’t have to be a foodie to appreciate this highly watchable film that opened Hot Docs this year. Canadian filmmaker Maya Gallus turns her lens on a number of female chefs who struggle not only to keep their establishments thriving but also just to survive in a male-dominated industry that largely caters (no pun intended) to bad boys with knives. Spanning the globe, Gallus has found eight women who are articulate, clear, and passionate about the culinary paths they have chosen, from high-end Michelin-starred restaurants to more popular bistro/diner venues. Each has withstood the heat of the kitchen to carve out a successful career, but not without a sizable helping of sacrifice. How timely is this doc in the clamor of #MeToo! Alarming examples of bad chef behaviour (we see you Mario Batali) have recently emerged to discourage even the most aspiring female chef from donning an apron, but despite a culture long known for its toxic ingredients these women persist in stirring the pot. We’ll have what they’re having!
Designed for creators and producers building online and new media platforms, this panel gives light to the unique marketing, funding, and audience reach strategies needed in today’s global market for those producing in the digital media environment. Featuring Lora Campbell (Supes Legit Productions), Mélanie Lê Phan (CBC) and Nina Sudra (VICE Canada).
More and more, increasing diversity both in front of and behind the camera is being recognized as a pertinent issue in this industry. Join us for a candid discussion on diversity in the industry luminaries who have transformed the industry through championing gender parity and representation in television and film.
This session with Andra Sheffer (Independent Production Fund) will demystify application pitches and examine the various key components of a proposal, including creative materials, financing scenarios and sources, audience engagement/discoverability plans, distribution, revenue models, release strategies and ancillary content, success metrics and practical tips. Also, learn about the Independent Production Fund and its application and evaluation process!
Acclaimed filmmaker Christy Garland somehow managed to get up close and personal with a feisty young woman who was raised in a refugee camp in the West Bank. Honestly, we don’t know how she did it, but this film follows Walaa over six years of her young life, from 15-21, as she vows to succeed at basic training for the Palestinian Security Forces. The paradox here is that Walaa is a defiant maverick, and so obeying the discipline of boot camp is especially challenging for such a personality. Obstacles abound, not the least of which is the whole Middle East itself. This really is a tour de force of filmmaking. The filmmaker takes us into a life and a reality we would never have known about otherwise. What Garland wants Garland gets with precision, sensitivity, and uncanny intimacy.
Susan Gordanshekan is the German director and screenwriter of this totally winning film. On the surface, the film is about two gorgeous strangers, both Iranians, Mina and Kian, who agree to marry for practical, even understandable reasons. Their challenge is, of course, to make the marriage work, but their differences keep popping up like annoying obstacles, impeding the possibility of harmony, let alone the hope of love. The real-world context of their relationship speaks so much to 21st century themes of cultural displacement—to accommodation and integration. Not only are these young people new to each other but they are also Iranians speaking in a foreign language, adjusting awkwardly to their new German home while aiming so hard to please. And then there’s the cat, a mangy mop of a loser that starts to assume all the metaphorical weight of the marriage itself. Without spoiling the plot, let’s just say that this is a gloriously smart romance turned inside out, pure delight from start to surprising finish.
Meet the women behind the camera of some of the industry’s most compelling documentaries. Learn how documentaries can be used to entertain, educate, effect social change, and serve as a form of activism and why women are leading the world of documentary filmmaking.
This panel will feature Christy Garland (What Walaa Wants), Laura Marie Wayne (Love, Scott) and Lea Marin (What Is Democracy).
The working title of this wonderful documentary was “The Woman Who Loved Giraffes.” That could be the title of a Dr. Seuss tale, and, indeed, there is definitely a childlike quality to Anne Innis Dagg, giraffe pioneer and protector who fell in love with the extraordinary creature as a child at the zoo. This is Anne’s story, one that takes her from a happy childhood in Canada to the untrammelled wilds of Africa where for years she observed the giant animals with the focus of a seasoned scientist. The film is bookended by her return to Africa some fifty years after she first took out her notebook. Realizing early on that she needed the credentials to be taken seriously she pursued a doctorate in zoology and published in all the right journals. The Canadian scientific community, however (shame on you Waterloo), just couldn’t see its way into accepting Anne into its male sanctum. Nevertheless, she persisted. This is the remarkable story—and with amazing footage--of one exceptional woman’s achievements not only in observing the behaviour of giraffes long before anyone else but also in producing influential scholarly texts based on her research. Further, this is the story of a highly principled feminist who stuck her own neck out to protect the graceful long necks of others.
Join the team behind our Festival’s amazing opening night feature, An Audience of Chairs, for an intimate lunch panel where you can chat with the filmmakers and actors to discover the process, stories and secrets behind their work. Featuring lead actress Carolina Bartczak, director Deanne Foley and film editor Wiebke von Carolsfeld.
You have the idea, now you need the funds to make it happen. In an ever-evolving world of financing, we will be offering a panel with a focus on provincial and federal funding opportunities for film, television, digital media and web series.
This panel is FREE to attend!
We open the festival with a dream fulfilled. There are so many talented women associated with this winning adaptation of Joan Clark’s novel we are bursting with joy. The reliably brilliant Rosemary House produced the alchemy of the script for screen, transforming Clarke’s elegant prose into visual gold. And fully behind all the magic on screen is director Deanne Foley, she who has the patience, wisdom, vision, and ability to have pulled it all together. Audience of Chairs takes on the difficult subject of a woman’s mental illness with fearless grace. Carolina Bartczak is simply stunning in the role of Maura who suffers from bipolar disorder. The film, like the novel, carefully tracks the way the illness creeps up on Maura, challenging her family, her parenting, her career, and all that she once took for granted. The cinematography is gorgeous, perfectly capturing both the beauty of the landscape and its punishing remoteness. This is a refined achievement, exquisitely rendered for our viewing pleasure. Congratulations to the whole fabulous team.