Having just marked its first anniversary, the bustling Bloor Hot Docs Cinema gave its stage over to the press conference for the 20th edition of the Hot Docs Film Festival this morning, as the festival's brass rolled out the programming slate for the 2013 festival.
Precisely 205 documentaries from 43 countries will be screened. Among Canada's 51 contributions are 27 features, 15 shorts and three mid-length titles, 22 of which are world premieres.
The festival will open with The Manor, Shawney Cohen's look at his family-owned and operated Guelph strip club. "The entire film was shot within a 45-minute drive of this theatre," Cohen announced at the Bloor.
This year's festival will inaugurate a new series, Scotiabank Big Ideas, giving the subjects of selected documentaries additional speaking space. Anita Hill will speak following Freida Mock's Anita; Roméo Dallaire will appear after Fight Like Soldiers, Die Like Children and Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss will take the stage after The Unbelievers.
Documentarians Les Blank (Burden Of Dreams, In Heaven There Is No Beer?) and Peter Mettler (Gambling, Gods & LSD, The End Of Time) are to receive career retrospectives; there will also be a 20th anniversary screening of The War Room, D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus's 1993 documentary about Bill Clinton's spin doctors, with Pennebaker and Hegedus in attendance. This year's national spotlight falls on Poland
James Franco, Gael García Bernal and Anne Wheeler are all bringing documentaries to this year's festival. Franco's Interior, Leather Bar purports to re-create the 40 minutes of footage cut from William Friedkin's 1980 thriller Cruising, while García Bernal's Who Is Dayani Cristal? traces the identity of a young woman found dead in the Arizona desert.
Wheeler's Chi, premiering in the Canadian Spectrum competition, finds the filmmaker following her actor friend Babz Chula to India as she searches for a cancer cure. It's joined by new works from John Kastner (NCR: Not Criminally Responsible), Nimisha Mukerji (Blood Relative) and Liz Marshall (The Ghosts In Our Machine), among others.
Previously announced Special Presentations include AJ Schnack's Caucus, a look at the Republican Party's 2012 Iowa primary; Penny Lane's Our Nixon, which uses Super-8 footage shot by three of Richard M. Nixon's White House aides to construct a behind-the-scenes portrait of the President, and The Crash Reel, Lucy Walker's story of snowboarder Kevin Pearce's recovery from a devastating injury.
Tickets are on sale now at the box office in Hazelton Lanes, online at www.hotdocs.ca and by phone at 416-637-5150. The 2013 Hot Docs Film Festival opens April 25.