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Hot Docs Film Festival 2018 picks

With Hot Docs Film Festival hitting Toronto for its 25th year, we put together a list of films we’re looking forward to. Here are our 10 picks:

The Feeling of Being Watched:  Speaking to residents, filing requests under the Freedom of Information Act and even taking the FBI to court, director Assia Boundaoui uncovers “Operation Vulgar Betrayal,” the largest pre-9/11 counter-terrorism surveillance undertaking in history. Among the thousands of pages of unsealed documents, emotional recollections of her friends and neighbours and unsettling archival footage, Boundaoui shines light not only on the disturbing trajectory of American racial profiling and xenophobia, but the life-altering effects of the death of privacy. Read more

Global Family: Driven out of Somalia by civil war, Imra and each of her children were forced to seek refugee status in separate countries. Spread across Germany, Italy, Canada and Ethiopia, they assumed they’d reunite in the future, but decades later they remain apart. Read more

Artemio: At the age of 10, California born and raised, Artemio must return to Mexico with his mother, Coco, who is unable to obtain an American visa. He is taken from everything he knows and must now traverse a new life, new surroundings and new language in what could be a permanent or temporary home. Read more

Bisbee ’17: Today celebrated as a community of harmless eccentrics, Bisbee was the site of a notorious and brutal tragedy in 1917, when 1,200 striking mine workers were violently rounded up from their homes and streets. Targeted for their pro-union sympathies, the mostly immigrant workers were forced at gunpoint onto cattle cars and deposited in the middle of the New Mexican desert to die. Read more

I’m Leaving Now (Ya Me Voy): He sends the bulk of his earnings home to support his family in Mexico, and longs to return and reunite with his wife and children. But when he calls them with the news that he’s decided to move back to Mexico, he discovers that they don’t return the feeling—they’ve squandered the money he’s sent, are now deep in debt and need him to stay in the US to keep earning. Read more

25th Anniversary Screening: Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance: In this essential masterwork, renowned filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin documents the 1990 Oka crisis from behind the front lines, capturing the armed stand-off between Mohawks, the Quebec police and the Canadian army. Followed by a post-screening conversation with the director. Read more

Sol: Marie-Hélène Cousineau and Susan Avingaq’s film is a tribute to performer and musician Solomon Uyarasuk and an investigation into how he met his end while in RCMP custody in 2012.  Read more

Havarie: Havarie traces a complex network of political, geographic and affective relations orbiting around a visible centre: a three-minute YouTube video of a tiny boat jammed full of refugees attempting passage to Europe. Read more

Two Worlds Colliding: This documentary chronicles the story of Darrell Night, an Indigenous man who was dumped by two police officers in a barren field on the outskirts of Saskatoon in January 2000, during -20°C temperatures. He found shelter at a nearby power station and survived the ordeal, but he was stunned to hear that the frozen body of another Indigenous man was discovered in the same area. Days later, another victim, also Indigenous, was found. This film is an inquiry into what came to be known as Saskatoon’s infamous “freezing deaths” and the schism between a fearful, mistrustful First Nations community and a police force that must come to terms with a shocking secret. Read more

Warrior Women: Through the figure of Lakota activist and community organizer Madonna Thunder Hawk, this inspiring film traces the untold story of countless Native American women struggling for their people’s civil rights. Read more

Shorts to watch for:

At Home with the Horses

Black Sheep

Black Mother Black Daughter


The Last Refugees

Loin D’ou? 

Tokyo Kurds

Turning Tables


Men with No Name

Like the Trees