The Bloor Cinema reopened last night as the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema at a love-in for documentaries and the new theatre devoted to them.
Harini Pontarini Architects has reconfigured the theatre so that it accomodates two bars, the seats are finally comfortable and you can actually see right into the theatre from the lobby. (Don't worry, a curtain closes when the films begin.)
Culture vultures, media heavyweights like the CNC's Anna Maria Tremonti and doc directors, including Jennifer Baichwal, Justine Pimlett, Maya Gallus, John Kastner and many others snacked on popcorn while celebrating the fact that the Bloor was saved from condo developers.
Hot Docs Executive Director Chris McDonald welcomed the crowd, joking that the theatre would have had a marquis had last weekend's time change not made the renovators lose an hour. And Neil Tabatznik, of the Blue Ice Group production company that helped finance the project, spoke to the crowd about the beauty of documentary, working up the crowd with his observation that his teenage daughter's experience of her first documentary turned her into an eco-terrorist.
The crowd was treated to a screening of Big Boys Go Bananas!, Fredrek Gertten's film tracking the way the Dole company tried to suppress his documentary Bananas! , which exposed Dole's careless treatment of its works. The film, showing at the upcoming Hot Docs Festival, was a superb choice for the occasion - an extremely well-made movie about the power of documentary.