Joan Tosoni and Martha Kehoe’s Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind and Laurence Mathieu-Leger’s Willie are among the 16 additional documentary titles that will screen as part of the 2019 Hot Docs Special Presentations program.
The special presentation’s program 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 star subjects.” Of the 16 features announced today (March 12), three are world premieres.
Tosoni and Kehoe’s Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind looks back on the life and career of legendary Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot. From his early days in rural Ontario to life in Greenwich Village in the ’60s, stadium tours of the ’70s and beyond, this 90-minute doc features archival footage to chart the career of Lightfoot as he reveals the inspiration behind his work and longevity. Elsewhere, Willie O’Ree, the first Black hockey player to make it to the National Hockey League is the subject of Mathieu-Leger’s 89-minute documentary Willie (pictured).
As previously announced, Hot Docs special presentations program also includes Rachel Lears’ award-winning Knock Down the House,which follows four female progressive candidates as they campaign against prominent incumbents in the 2018 midterm elections, and Jeffrey Palmer’s N. Scott Momaday: Words From a Bear, about one of Native America’s most celebrated literary figures.
The full selection of films to screen at Hot Docs 2019, including the opening night film, will be announced on March 19.
The 2019 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival runs April 25 to May 5 in Toronto.
The additional 16 films in the special presentations section are listed below, with descriptions courtesy of Hot Docs:
D: Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert | P: Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert, Jeff Reichert, Julie Parker Benello | U.S. | 2019 | 115 min | International Premiere
When an abandoned General Motors factory in Ohio is reopened by a Chinese billionaire, the local blue-collar employees clash with modern Chinese innovations in this Sundance award-winner co-directed by this year’s Outstanding Achievement Award recipient Julia Reichert.
Ask Dr. Ruth
D: Ryan White | P: Rafael Marmor, Ryan White, Jessica Hargrave, Christopher Leggett | U.S. | 2019 | 100 min | International Premiere
Do we have anything left to learn from 90-year-old sex therapist Dr. Ruth? In this revealing look at a true trailblazer, she revisits the painful memories of her early life in Germany and the playful milestones of her career as America’s most candid sex ed teacher.
Cold Case Hammarskjöld
D: Mads Brügger | P: Arno Becker, Andreas Rocksén, Bjarte Mørner Tveit | Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Belgium | 2019 | 127 min | Canadian Premiere
Was it accident or assassination when a UN Secretary General’s plane crashed en route to peace talks for the Congo Crisis? In this probe into the 1961 tragedy, sinister new evidence draws the director into a discovery more horrific than he imagined.
Framing John Delorean
D: Don Argott, Sheena M. Joyce | P: Tamir Ardon, Nick Spicer, Don Argott, Sheena M. Joyce | U.S. | 2019 | 109 min | International Premiere
Car design guru, genius entrepreneur or brilliant criminal—who was the real John DeLorean? Narrative recreations starring Alec Baldwin punctuate revealing interviews with the enigmatic automaker’s inner circle to elegantly parse the man from the scandalous myth.
Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind
D: Joan Tosoni, Martha Kehoe | P: Joan Tosoni, Martha Kehoe | Canada | 2018 | 90 min | World Premiere
From a rural Ontario childhood to Greenwich Village of the ’60s, stadium tours of the ’70s and beyond, vivid archival footage helps chart the career of the legendary songwriter as he reveals the inspiration behind his lyrics and longevity.
I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth vs. Michelle Carter
D: Erin Lee Carr | P: Andrew Rossi | U.S. | 2019 | 140 min | International Premiere
This two-part HBO docuseries dives past the headlines and into the ethical morass of the case of Michelle Carter, who faces the prospect of jail time after coercing her boyfriend into suicide via text, blowing open troubling questions of how we communicate in the digital age.
Miles Davis: Birth Of The Cool
D: Stanley Nelson | P: Nicole London, Stanley Nelson | U.S., UK | 2019 | 113 min | International Premiere
Never-before-seen footage and studio session outtakes reconstruct the rich inner life of one of the most influential jazz musicians of all time, along with new interviews from the artists he inspired, including Quincy Jones and Carlos Santana.
Mystify: Michael Hutchence
D: Richard Lowenstein | P: Maya Gnyp, John Battsek, Sue Murray, Mark Fennessy, Richard Lowenstein, Lynn-Maree Milburn, Andrew de Groot | Australia | 2019 | 104 min | Canadian Premiere
The enigmatic frontman of wildly popular Australian rock band INXS, who died tragically in 1997, is remembered by the women in his life, including revealing interviews with famous girlfriends Kylie Minogue and Helena Christensen.
Through vérité footage and raw interviews, this fearless, Sundance Award–winning exposé unmasks the wrenching costs to millions of families of China’s infamous 1979 “one-child policy,” introduced to curb population growth and boost sweeping economic development.
D: Mark Franchetti, Andrew Meier | P: Mark Franchetti, Andrew Meier | UK, Russia | 2018 | 93 min | World Premiere
The family of a high-ranking Sicilian mob boss comes out of 30 years of hiding to tell the gripping tale of how he helped convict over 400 Mafiosi—and became the most hunted witness in U.S. criminal history.
Explore the evolution of emojis, the colourful and creative pictorial language that surged from a simple set of icons to a swiftly evolving linguistic phenomenon that is reshaping how we communicate with one another.
Quiet Storm: The Ron Artest Story
D: Johnny Sweet | P: Colleen Dominguez, Omar Michaud, Johnny Sweet | U.S. | 2019 | 116 min | International Premiere
Following an infamous on-court brawl, Ron Artest became the most maligned athlete in sports. This distinctly American biography follows him from his childhood in Queens to his turbulent NBA years to his reinvention as inspiring mental health advocate Metta World Peace.
D: Ai Weiwei | P: Ai Weiwei | Germany | 2018 | 78 min | North American Premiere
From Chinese artist and political activist Ai Weiwei comes a powerful work that follows the daily lives of refugees in Europe as they hang in limbo between a disintegrating humanitarian aid system and intensifying nationalism.
Stieg Larsson: The Man Who Played With Fire
D: Henrik Georgsson | P: Mattias Nohrborg, Fredrik Heinig | Sweden | 2018 | 99 min | Canadian Premiere
This compelling look at the Swedish journalist, whose The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series shot to wild posthumous fame, delves into his lesser-known but more significant contribution: fearlessly researching and exposing Neo-Nazism in his own country and beyond.
D: Laurence Mathieu-Leger | P: Laurence Mathieu-Leger, Bryant McBride | U.S., Canada | 2018 | 89 min | World Premiere
In the midst of the American civil rights movement, Willie O’Ree became the first Black player to skate in the NHL. An inspiration to many, the remarkable story of this recent Hall of Fame inductee’s courage and resilience transcends the sport.
After her 35-year prison sentence is commuted by President Obama, former military intelligence analyst and whistleblower Chelsea Manning prepares to leave a military prison and transition to her new life as a free woman