Hot Docs: Our Critics Selection Of Documentaries To See At This Year’s Fest

Our critic have collaborated on a list of their selections, with 9 films for the Hot Docs Documentary Film Festival which you shouldn’t miss. Hot Docs will run from April 24th to May 4th featuring 197 documentaries from 43 countries.

#1 American Interior
After debuting at the South By Southwest Film Festival American Interior is now our number one selection for Hot Docs. The adventure follows Welsh musician Gruff Rhys getting back to his roots, as he journeys off the beaten track on an American road trip to reenact the historical journey undertaken by his 18th Century ancestor John Evans. The feature encompses a range of interestingly used visual effects and journeys through the intriguing world of native America.Click Here: Read Our American Interior Review

#2 Mission Blue
Directed by award-winning filmmakers Robert Nixon and Fisher Stevens Mission Blue although left unseen by our critics is our number two selection for the festival because of the new ocean frontieres it brings to the screen. As Legendary oceanographer, marine biologist and botanist Dr. Sylvia Earle, who has dedicated her life to exploring the world’s oceans and raising awareness of the urgent need for their conservation, paints a very personal and intimate portrait of her extraordinary life and career – from her youth to her appointment as Chief Scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to her Mission Blue initiative.

#3 Mad As Hell
This is a superb pick for our selection of must see docs following the rise of New Media and the failure of mainstream media which has gone on without a rise of truth on the horizon. Until Cenk Uygur took to the only place no one could end his free speech newscast of uncensored truth on the Internet, without a rundown just live. After he amassed over 800 million views on YouTube on his web series “The Young Turks” he took to the 6pm slot on MSNBC, where his uncensored brand of journalism created enemies in the battle between new and old media.

#4 The Immortalists
Our fourth pick is The Immortalists which also premiered at the SXSW Film Festival and draws its audience into the interesting reality of immortality. This doc follows the story of two biologists who believe in the possibility of human immortality is upon us. This a remarkable and eye opening feature that is also sprinkled with humor and is superb to watch.

#5 The Engineer
Despite the deceiving title this is a staggering doc that takes you inside the criminal world of El Salvador’s Gang Conflict. The world where death is an art, a corpse is a friend and you can spend more time with friends than family. This feature follows The Engineer as his own life is in danger, but he continues to unearth secret mass graves and identify the hundreds of missing children lost to El Salvador’s gang conflict.

#6 The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz
After premiering at the Sundance Film Festival The Internet’s Own Boy is a triumph and emotionally devastating tribute to Aaron Swartz. The doc centers on Aaron Swartz after taking the Internet community by storm, with capabilities, intellect and understanding that matched which most seasoned members, he helped found or develop countless household-name technologies and companies in the time it takes most people finish college. Aaron was also a pioneer in Internet activism, and stood at the forefront of the SOPA and PIPA victories. He looked towards a limitless future—but his life took a dramatic turn. In 2011 and 2012, he was indicted by prosecutors who charged him with a staggering number of felonies. Aaron found himself facing 35 years in prison, and at the age of 26 was found dead in his apartment, from an apparent suicide.

#7 The Last Season
The Last Season is a strange subject for a documentary but is intriguing none the less. Deep in the backwoods of Chemult, Oregon, lie the hunting grounds for one of the world’s rarest mushrooms, the matsutake. This tiny town, with a population of only 135, is one of the most lucrative stops on the wild mushroom hunt. Migrant workers flock to the area from all over Southeast Asia to forage the land for the tiny treasures, which can sell in Japan for hundreds of dollars a pound. It’s here that we meet Kouy Loch and Roger Higgins, two former soldiers from different walks of life who form an unconventional bond. Both affected by the hardships of combat, they turn to each other to cope with the mental and physical wounds of war. As the men set out on their last hunting season together, they discover the healing powers of nature, a reward more valuable than the matsutake.

#8 Absences
From the two-time Hot Docs award-winning director Carole Laganière, comes our ninth pick not to be missed at Hot Docs, which dives deeply into personal territory in this beautifully crafted exploration of absence and loss and its painful effect on daily lives.

#9 Pulp
After premiering at the SXSW Film Festival Pulp a film about life, death and supermarkets is now heading to Hot Docs and is our 9th in our critics selection. The film focuses on alternative rockers Pulp who found stardom in the ‘90s with hits like “Common People” and “Disco 2000.” Twenty-five years later, and 10 million albums sold, they return to their hometown of Sheffield for a reunion show. An extensively brilliant concert film.


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The TFM Team.


Posted in Festivals, Hot Docs