Tuesday 18 May 2010

Hot Docs 2010 Wrap-Up

The 17th annual Hot Docs Film Festival ended a little over a week ago and it had my name all over it...

The Audience Award didn't quite go to "A Small Act" like I had guessed/hoped it would, but the film still made the Top Ten in the voting and there doesn't seem to be much to complain about - I saw 6 of the 10 and they all belong. As for the 4 I missed (including winner "Thunder Soul" which I had really wanted to see), I've heard nothing but excellent reviews.

Hot Docs Audience Awards

1. THUNDER SOUL (Mark Landsman; USA)
2. A DRUMMER’S DREAM (John Walker; Canada)
3. MY LIFE WITH CARLOS (German Berger; Chile , Spain , Germany)
4. AUTUMN GOLD (Jan Tenhaven; Austria , Germany)
5. LEAVE THEM LAUGHING (John Zaritsky; Canada , USA)
6. RUSH: BEYOND THE LIGHTED STAGE (Scot McFadyen, Sam Dunn; Canada)
7. LISTEN TO THIS (Juan Baquero; Canada)
8. A SMALL ACT (Jennifer Arnold; USA)
9. WASTE LAND (Lucy Walker; UK , Brazil)
10. MARWENCOL (Jeff Malmberg; USA)

Fourth place finisher in balloting, "Autumn Gold" also won the Filmmakers Award – a new award this year for which Hot Docs invites attending filmmakers with official selections in the 2010 Festival to vote for their favourite film.

Some final words on the fest:

  • Favourite film - A bumper crop this year - how do I choose from "A Small Act", "Marwencol", "The Kids Grow Up", "Space Tourists" and "Waste Land"? Well, I guess I have to go with the one that kept me grinning the whole way through: "Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage". Yes, I'm that biased.

  • Most inspiring film - "A Small Act". Particularly since I was lucky enough to see it at a screening that had both director Jennifer Armstrong and the film's central character Chris Mburu present.

  • Overall best film - "Waste Land". An amazing conglomeration of numerous emotions.

  • Recurring theme #1 - The act of being creative: "The Socalled Movie", "Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage", "Candyman: The David Klein Story", "Waste Land", "We Don't Care About Music Anyway", "A Drummer's Dream".

  • Film that tugged at my heartstrings the most - "The Kids Grow Up" is where I'll be in about 9-10 years. I know I'm not ready for it yet. I don't know if I'll ever be.

  • Strangest cinematic moment - "Disco And Atomic War" and "General Orders No. 9" both had their fair share, but "We Don't Care About Music Anyway" was chock full of odd moments: Why is that guy wandering around an abandoned building with a cello? What is that sound coming from the guitar being played by the woman in the bikini? What is that guy who looks like a ghost from "Ju-On: The Grudge" doing in those strobe lights?

  • Recurring theme #2 - Dealing with adversity: "Grace, Milly, Lucy - Child Soldiers", "Leave The Laughing", "Marwencol", "Waste Land".

  • Slackjawed surprise - "talhotblond" reveals information at a rate that keeps you wondering. "Life With Murder" also delivers a kick to the gut.

  • Most beautiful images - "Space Tourists" had numerous moments of beauty - particularly anything from the International Space Station. The works of art by Vik Muniz in "Waste Land".

  • Recurring theme #3 - Obsession: "talhotblond", "Soundtracker", "The Mirror", "Marwencol".

  • Moment that brought bile into your mouth - "Grace, Milly, Lucy - Child Soldiers" leaves you angry that humanity can even conceive of such things.

  • Most disappointing film - "Eyes Wide Open - Exploring Today's South America". I guess I wanted to leave knowing more - perhaps not a fair expectation given the complexity of the history of that continent.

  • Recurring theme #4 - What colour is the sky in your world?: "AMERICAN: The Bill Hicks Story", "The Peddler", "The Invention Of Dr. Nakamats", "Eat The Kimono".

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