The full lineup of films selected for this year’s Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival has been revealed.
Running online from April 29 to May 9, the 2021 slate includes 219 films from 66 countries presented across 12 programs, with 50% of directors being women.
Titles unveiled today (March 23) join the previously announced Special Presentations lineup.
Films premiering worldwide in the Canadian Spectrum program are A.rtificial I.mmortality (director: Ann Shin); Dropstone (d: Caitlin Durlak); Spirit to Soar (d: Tanya Talaga, Michelle Derosier); Hell or Clean Water (d: Cody Westman); and Grey Roads (d: Jesse McCracken). Two films from the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) premiering globally in the section include Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers’ Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy and Sean Horlor and Steve J. Adams’ Someone Like Me.
In the competitive International Spectrum program, notable films include the world premieres of Any Given Day (d: Margaret Byrne); Magaluf Ghost Town (d: Miguel Angel Bianca); The Silence of the Mole (d: Anais Terecena); Four Seasons in One Day (d: Annabel Verbeke); Songs that Flood to the River (d: German Arango); and Gaucho Americano (Nicolas Molina).
International premieres in the International Spectrum program include People We Come Across (d: Mia Halme); Threshold (d: Coraci Ruiz); Ostrov – Lost Island (d: Svetlana Rodina, Laurent Stoop); and School of Hope (d: Mohamed El Aboudi).
Films having their world premieres as part of the World Showcase program are Sunny (d: Keti Machavariani); Neighbouring the Moon (d: Reza Farahmand); Blue Box (d: Michal Weits); My Mohamed Is Different (d: Ines Marzouk); Only I Can Hear (d: Itaru Matsui); and The Colonel’s Stray Dogs (d: Khalid Shamis).
The Made in Colombia program includes the world premieres of On the Other Side (d: Ivan Guarnizo) and Rebel Love (d: Alejandro Bernai). It also includes the North American premieres of Between Fire and Water (d: Viviana Gomez Echeverry, Anton Wenzel) and Option Zero (d: Marcel Beltran).
Showcasing creative minds, artistic pursuits and inventive filmmaking, the Artscapes program includes the world premieres of Bank Job (d: Daniel Edelstyn, Hilary Powell); No Hay Camino – There Is No Path (d: Heddy Honigmann); Cezanne (d: Sophie Bruneau); The Story Won’t Die (d: David Henry Gerson); Set! (d: Scott Gawlik); and I’m Wanita (d: Matthew Walker).
The Nightvision program, which features future cult classics, includes the world premieres of Acts of Love (d: Isidore Bethel, Francis Leplay) and Bloom Up – A Swinger Couple Story (d: Mauro Russo Rouge), as well as the international premieres of Cannon Arm and the Arcade Quest (d: mads Hedegaard) and Dark Blossom (d: Frigge Fri).
Nightvision also includes the North American premiere of Lost Boys (d: Joonas Neuvonen; Sadri Cetinkiya).
The Persister program, which features female-directed films about women speaking up and being heard, includes the world premieres of Bangla Surf Girls (d: Elizabeth D. Costa); Only the Ocean Between Us (d: Khaldiya Amer Ali, Marah Mohammad Alkhateeb, Karoli Bautista Pizarro, Christy Cauper Silvano); Lady Buds (d: Chris J. Russo); and FANNY: The Right to Rock (d: Bobbi Jo Hart).
International premieres as part of the Persister program include Fruits of Labor (d: Emily Cohen Ibanez); The Spokeswoman (d: Luciana Kaplan); and La Madrina: The Savage Life of Lorine Padilla (pictured, d: Raquel Sepida).
New this year, the Systems Down program features films that capture the zeitgeist by calling for systemic change through stories of people challenging the status quo and seeking new paths forward.
Films premiering worldwide as part of that section include It’s Not Over Yet (d: Louise Detlefsen); Faceless (d: Jennifer Ngo); Dead Man’s Switch a Crypto Mystery (d: Sheona McDonald); and The Face of Anonymous (d: Gary Lang).
The program will also include the international premieres of Apart (d: Jennifer Redfearn); Generation Utøya (d: Aslaug Holm, Sigve Endresen); and Sieged: The Press vs. Denialism (d: Caio Cavechini).
Now in its second year, the Deep Dive program features two long-form documentaries told over multiple episodes. The program includes the international premieres of Philly D.A (d: Ted Passon, Yoni Brook). and The Caviar Connection (d: Benoit Bringer).
Named in tribute to filmmaker Chris Marker, the Markers program — also in its second year — features experimental films that take bold liberties with the documentary form.
The program includes the North American premieres of Rift Finfinnee (d: Daniel Kotter); Zaho Zay (d: Maeva Ranaivokaonoa); and A River Runs, Turns, Erases, Replaces (d: Shengze Zhu), as well as the Canadian premieres of Users (d: Natalia Almada); Just a Movement (d: Vincent Meessen); and Her Socialist Smile (d: John Gianvito).
Finally, films selected as part of the Changing Face of Europe program include the world-premiering Welcome to Spain (d: Juan Antonio Moreno Amador) and A Marriage (d: Katerina Hager, Asad Faruqi). The program will also feature the international premiere of Raise the Bar (d: Gudjon Ragnarsson).
North American premieres featured in the program include Eatnameamet – Our Silent Struggle (d: Suvi West); Molecules (d: Andrea Segre); The New Plastic Road (d: Myrto Papadopolous, Angelos Tsaousis); and Faith and Branko (d: Catherine Harte).
Hot Docs’ newly commissioned Citizen Minutes project will also premiere at this year’s festival.
The project features eight original short films with the aim to inspire interest and engagement in Canadian democracy and public affairs by exploring and celebrating stories of civic participation in communities across the country.
“Documentaries are vitally important to helping us understand the world we live in, and to build bridges of understanding across cultural, social and political divides, particularly at this unprecedented moment in time,” said Shane Smith, director of programming for Hot Docs, in a statement. “This year’s Hot Docs program features the best in outspoken, outstanding documentary storytelling from 66 countries, all of which will connect us to each other in ways that inspire, inform and illuminate.”