Hot Docs ’18 adds to Special Presentations program

Daniel J. Clark’s Behind the Curve and Richard Rowley’s Blue Wall are among the documentary features enjoying world premieres in the Hot Docs Special Presentations program. On Tuesday morning (March 13), Hot Docs ...
March 13, 2018

Daniel J. Clark’s Behind the Curve and Richard Rowley’s Blue Wall are among the documentary features enjoying world premieres in the Hot Docs Special Presentations program.

On Tuesday morning (March 13), Hot Docs announced 17 additional doc features that will screen as part of the festival’s Special Presentations program, which features a “high-profile collection of world and international premieres, award winners from the recent international festival circuit and works by master filmmakers or featuring some star subjects.” Of the 17 docs screening, four are world premieres.

Behind the Curve looks at the rapid rise of those who believe the world is flat, while Blue Wall examines the police killing and cover up of Laquan McDonald. Elsewhere, directors Steve and Todd Jones Andy Irons: Kissed by God looks at the life of surf champ Andy Irons, while Jack Bryan’s espionage-focused Active Measures explores how Trump-Putin ties and Soviet-style information warfare tactics were used to affect the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

As previously announced, Hot Docs Special Presentations program also includes Morgan Neville’s Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, centered on childhood entertainer Mr. Rogers, and Tommy Avallone’s feature doc featuring legendary comedian Bill Murray.

The complete Special Presentations program and the full selection of films to screen at Hot Docs 2018 will be announced on March 20, including the 2018 opening night film

The 2018 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival runs April 26 to May 6 in Toronto, Canada.

The additional 17 films in the Special Presentations section are listed below, with descriptions courtesy of Hot Docs:

Active Measures
D: Jack Bryan | P: Laura Dubois, Marley Clements | U.S. | 2018 | 112 min | World Premiere
Dive deep into one of the most deft espionage operations in history. Featuring exclusive interviews with Hillary Clinton, John McCain and more, this explosive film uncovers Trump-Putin ties dating back to the ’70s and Soviet-style information warfare tactics used to affect the 2016 US presidential election.

Alt-Right: Age Of Rage
D: Adam Bhala Lough | P: Michael Karbelnikoff, Alex Needles | 2018 | U.S. | 104 min | Canadian Premiere
Trigger warning: everything. Set against the horrific violence of the 2017 Charlottesville riots, alt-right leader Richard Spencer squares off against antifa activist Daryle Lamont Jenkins in this provocative look inside the two movements boiling over in America.

Andy Irons: Kissed By God
D: Steve Jones, Todd Jones | P: Enich Harris | 2018 | U.S. | 100 min | World Premiere
Three-time world surfing champion Andy Irons chased perfect pipe on the waves but dark demons on shore. Breathtaking cinematography captures the gorgeously wild star, but as mental illness troubles the waters, a heartbreaking tragedy unfolds.

Behind The Curve
D: Daniel J. Clark | P: Caroline Clark, Nick Andert, Daniel J. Clark | 2018 | U.S.| 96 min | World Premiere
A rapidly rising number of people are convinced that the Earth is flat. Follow the leaders behind this conspiracy theory du jour as they rally to spread their message, challenge scientific proofs and flatten the globe once and for all.

Blue Wall
D: Richard Rowley | P: Jamie Kalven, Jacqueline Soohen | 2018 | U.S. | 76 min | World Premiere
Oscar-nominated director Richard Rowley offers a searing examination of the police killing of Laquan McDonald, tracing the conspiracy of silence that extended up to the Chicago mayor’s office and revealing the journalists, activists and lawyers whose perseverance exposed the truth.

The Fourth Estate
D: Liz Garbus | P: Liz Garbus, Jenny Carchman, Justin Wilkes | 2018 | U.S. | International Premiere
Granted unprecedented access and interviews with editors and reporters on the front lines, Emmy®-winning and Oscar®-nominated filmmaker Liz Garbus’ THE FOURTH ESTATE follows the inner workings of The New York Times, revealing the challenges, triumphs and pitfalls of covering a president who has declared war on the free press.

The Game Changers
D: Louie Psihoyos | P: Joseph Pace, James Wilks | 2018 | U.S., Canada | 88 min | Canadian Premiere
Oscar-winner Louie Psihoyos’s (The Cove) explosive doc examines elite athletes’ dramatically improved strength and performance when they switch from animal- to plant-based diets, and upends antiquated notions of masculinity and virility along the way.

Matangi / Maya / M.I.A.
D: Steve Loveridge | P: Lori Cheatle, Andrew Goldman, Paul Mezey | 2018 | U.S. | 97 min | Canadian Premiere
Two decades’ worth of personal footage capture the complex evolution of M.I.A., the musician and social justice activist whose outspoken rhymes tore up the charts, stoked political fires and captivated fans and critics worldwide.

D: Ian Bonhôte, Peter Ettedgui (co-director) | P: Ian Bonhôte, Andee Ryder, Nick Taussig, Paul Van Carter | 2018 | U.S. | 111 min | International Premiere
An intimate account of the life, career and artistry of legendary couturier, fashion maverick and creative genius Alexander McQueen, vividly brought to life via rare archival footage and revealing interviews with his inner circle.

Mercury 13
D: David Sington, Heather Walsh | P: David Sington, Heather Walsh, Brendan Byrne, Trevor Birney, Geraldine Creed | 2018 | Ireland | 80 min | International Premiere
The pioneers enrolled in NASA’s first female astronaut training program finally open up about their top-secret testing, which pitted them against the established boys’ club of American astronauts of the 1950s.

More Human Than Human
D: Tommy Pallotta, Femke Wolting | P: Tommy Pallotta, Femke Wolting, Bruno Felix, Bart Van Langendonck | 2018 | Netherlands, U.S., Belgium | 79 min | International Premiere
With artificial intelligence potentially on track to surpass human capabilities within the next two decades, one filmmaker tests his own job security by building a robot to replace himself and discovers the truth of what’s really at stake.

Mr. Soul!
D: Sam Pollard, Melissa Haizlip | P: Doug Blush, Melissa Haizlip | 2018 | U.S. | 102 min | International Premiere
Go backstage with the first all-Black variety show broadcast nationally on PBS, and meet its openly gay host, who was instrumental in ushering radical Black talent into American living rooms in the wake of the civil rights movement.

The Night Of All Nights
D: Yasemin Şamdereli | P: Anja-Karina Richter, Arne Birkenstock, Christian Becker | 2018 | Germany | 96 min | International Premiere
In frank and funny interviews, four couples from across the world, united under vastly different circumstances but each together for more than 50 years, reflect on their relationships and share their secrets for long-lasting love—for better or for worse.

Our New President
D: Maxim Pozdorovkin | P: Maxim Pozdorovkin, Joe Bender, Charlotte Cook | 2018 | U.S.| 77 min | Canadian Premiere
In a horrifying and hilarious collage, the story of Donald Trump’s path to the presidency is told entirely through Russian propaganda, laying bare an empire of fake news and the cynical tactics of information warfare.

Pick Of The Litter
D: Dana Nachman, Don Hardy | P: Dana Nachman, Don Hardy | 2018 | U.S. | 79 min | International Premiere
A litter of newborn Labrador puppies begins “basic training” to become service dogs for the blind—but who will make the cut? Their successes and failures are shared equally with the devoted caretakers who guide them on this rigorous two-year journey.

Tiny Shoulders: Rethinking Barbie
D: Andrea Blaugrund Nevins | P: Cristan Crocker | 2018 | U.S. | 90 min | International Premiere
With sales at a historic low and women’s rights campaigns at fever pitch, Barbie is getting a radical makeover. Gloria Steinem, Roxane Gay, Mattel designers and others renegotiate the iconic doll’s place in a world that both loves and loves to hate her.

United Skates
D: Dyana Winkler, Tina Brown | P: Tina Brown, Dyana Winkler | 2018 | U.S. | 86 min | International Premiere
When America’s last roller rinks are threatened with closure, thousands pull together to save and celebrate the vibrant underground subculture that has provided a safe space for the Black community since before the civil rights movement.

About The Author
Meagan Kashty is an associate editor of realscreen, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Meagan is an award-winning business journalist. Prior to joining the realscreen team, Meagan was online editor of Canadian Grocer, named Magazine of the Year at the 2015 Canadian Business Media Awards. She can be reached at, and you can follow her on Twitter @MegKashty