Media Room

Hot Docs Showcase

The Hot Docs Showcase offers independent cinemas, film societies, student associations, museums, libraries and other non-traditional screening venues across Ontario access to a catalogue of recent, high-quality Canadian and international documentary films.

Specially selected by Hot Docs, one of the world’s leading documentary festivals, these films offer audiences unique viewing experiences through engaging and provocative true-life stories from around the globe.

For each film booking, Hot Docs will provide a Blu-Ray exhibition disk, and offer access to an online library of publicity and promotional support materials.

To book a screening please contact Robin Smith at rsmith@hotdocs.ca.

If you are a member of TIFF’s Film Circuit, please connect with your Film Circuit contact to book Hot Docs Showcase films.

Please note: Hot Docs Showcase films are not available for bookings by individuals for private screenings.

View past selections in the Hot Docs Showcase archive.

Film Selection 2013-14



15 REASONS TO LIVE
D: Alan Zweig | Canada | 2013 | 83 min


After running into a neighbourhood acquaintance at the local used record store who shared his list of reasons to live, filmmaker Alan Zweig felt a strong compulsion to make a film on the subject. Drawing from Ray Robertson’s collection of essays Why Not: Fifteen Reasons to Live, Zweig offers vignettes of individuals and their reasons to live while also discovering a couple of his own in his touching, honest and endearing way.

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BLACKFISH
D: Gabriela Cowperthwaite | USA | 2013 | 83 min


When director Gabriela Cowperthwaite began investigating the death of a trainer who was dragged to her death during a show at SeaWorld, the initial story gave way to a far more shocking and further-reaching situation that plumbed the depths of a billion-dollar industry. Blackfish artfully and powerfully explores the complex relationship we have with entertainment and nature, and the repercussions of keeping these sensitive and intelligent creatures in captivity.

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THE DEFECTOR: ESCAPE FROM NORTH KOREA
D: Ann Shin | Canada | 2013 | 71 min


Hidden cameras follow two North Korean women as they undertake a journey to freedom. Director Ann Shin follows the arduous journey, placing their fate in the hands of a seemingly sympathetic broker, who negotiates passages across multiple borders with human smugglers. The Defector humanizes the harrowing experience of illegal migrants, who are rendered invisible when forced to travel as commodities across closed borders.

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DRAGON GIRLS
D: Inigo Westmeier | Germany, China | 2013 | 90 min
Best International Feature Documentary, Hot Docs 2013


Over 20,000 students train in the ancient Shaolin Kung Fu discipline at a school outside Beijing. A breathtaking display of skill and precision, the entire student body practises en masse and in perfect unison. Dragon Girls follows three young female warriors-in-training who battle under immense pressure, with strength and fragility, to become Kung Fu Masters. The physical and mental exhaustion and constant drive for perfection weigh heavily, yet it’s hoped that by graduation they will have learned how to fly and the gain will have been worth the struggle.

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FIGHT LIKE SOLDIERS DIE LIKE CHILDREN
D: Patrick Reed | Canada | 2013 | 83 min | PG


When you’ve been to hell and back, how do you shake the memories? This question has haunted General Roméo Dallaire since 1994, when he faced the Rwandan genocide. Dallaire has now found a reason to live, embarking on a mission to end the use of child soldiers. Will he succeed where others have failed, or will he once again be forced to look on as the world turns away?

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THE GHOSTS IN OUR MACHINE
D: Liz Marshall | Canada | 2013 | 92 min
Audience Top 10, Hot Docs 2013


Award-winning photographer and activist Jo-Anne McArthur has been travelling the world for over ten years to document the mistreatment and suffering of animals at the hands of western industry. The Ghosts In Our Machine joins the impassioned McArthur and sets out to capture the sentience of animals through stunning images that contrast their intelligence, quirks and personalities with their brutal treatment as property in factory farms and other industries. Poetic and engaging, this powerful film will spark important conversations about the relationships between human and nonhuman animals on our shrinking planet.

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GOOD OL’ FREDA
D: Ryan White | USA | 2013 | 86 min


A Liverpool teen lands the job of a lifetime when a local band, The Beatles, hires her to run their fan club. For the next decade Freda Kelly worked as personal secretary and fan club manager for the biggest rock ’n’ roll band in history. Though Freda was a trusted member of the band’s inner circle, she has never before gone on record to speak about her integral role in Beatlemania. Ryan White’s film gives Freda a well-deserved moment in the spotlight and creates a portrait of a dedicated, humble and charming woman who was loved and respected by the Fab Four.

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THE LIFE AND CRIMES OF DORIS PAYNE
D: Matthew Pond, Kirk Marcolina | USA | 2013 | 73 min | PG


Meet 81-year-old Doris Payne, one of the world’s most notorious jewel thieves. As thoroughly unrepentant today about the nearly $2-million she’s stolen over a 60-year career as the day she stole her first carat. Now on trial for her final heist, Kirk Marcolina and Matthew Pond probe beneath her consummate smile to uncover the secrets of her trade and what drove her to a life of crime. This sensational portrait exposes a rebel who defies society’s prejudices and pinches her own version of the American Dream.

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THE MANOR
D: Shawney Cohen | Canada | 2013 | 78 min


Shawney Cohen reluctantly returns home to a small Ontario town to help run the unconventional family business. Now an adult in his mid-30s, Shawney was only six years old when his father bought the Manor, a strip club adjoining a 32-room motel. Shawney’s role as filmmaker and son provides an astonishingly intimate and rarely seen perspective on a family facing the consequences of their livelihood, dependence and love.

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MUSCLE SHOALS
D: Greg ‘Freddy’ Camalier | USA | 2013 | 111 min | PG
Audience Award Winner, Hot Docs 2013


The tiny backwater town of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, barely registers on a map. But thanks to one visionary record producer and a group of unknown session musicians, it changes the course of modern music. The deep, soulful “Muscle Shoals sound” reinvents the work of legends from Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett to Mick Jagger and Gregg Allman. Revealing interviews with countless icons serve up one of the greatest untold American music stories

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NCR: NOT CRIMINALLY RESPONSIBLE
D: John Kastner | Canada | 2013 | 95 min | 14A


Twelve years after savagely attacking a stranger while in a delusional frenzy, a man is freed, but his victim fears a relapse. Four-time Emmy award-winning director John Kastner gained unprecedented access to those involved in the case including the victim and her parents. The film compassionately presents the dilemma between the rights of the mentally ill and the safety of others.

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OIL SANDS KARAOKE
D: Charles Wilkinson | Canada | 2013 | 83 min


Home to one of the most controversial industries in the world, Fort McMurray, Alberta, has seen a record population boom. Thousands of men and women have flocked to the city to work in the oil sands, attracted by the promise of good jobs and a high salary. The work is hard, and the hours are long, the weather is harsh and the social life is sparse. How do they cope? With karaoke of course! Oil Sands Karaoke profiles five Fort McMurray residents as they prepare to unleash their inner divas at the local pub.

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A PEOPLE UNCOUNTED
D: Aaron Yeger | Canada | 2012 | 99 min


A People Uncounted tells the story of the Roma—a people who have been both romanticized and vilified in popular culture. The Roma have endured centuries of intolerance and persecution in Europe. Filmed in 11 countries, A People Uncounted sheds light on this unique culture while placing the Romani story within the larger context of the world’s legacy of racism and genocide.

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SPRING & ARNAUD
D: Katherine Knight, Marcia Connolly | Canada | 2013 | 67 min
Audience Top 10, Hot Docs 2013


Cinematically gorgeous and beautifully crafted, Spring & Arnaud is a breathtakingly tender portrait of two acclaimed Canadian artists, Spring Hurlbut and Arnaud Maggs. Spring’s art focuses on mysterious photographs that evoke mortality while Arnaud Maggs remains fascinated by systems of identification, of repetition and the miniscule differences and similarities in collections of people, objects and ephemera while recognizing the authority of photography to express these ideas in massive installations. Their undying love for each other as they face the reality of Arnaud’s illness literally lights up the screen.

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THE SUMMIT
D: Nick Ryan | USA, Ireland, UK, Switzerland | 2013 | 95 min


On August 2008, twenty-four climbers converged on High Camp of K2, the last stop before the summit of the most dangerous mountain on earth. Forty-eight hours later, eleven had been killed or had vanished, making it the worst K2 climbing disaster in history. At the heart of The Summit lies a mystery about one extraordinary man, Ger McDonnell. Morality is skewed 180 degrees from the rest of life. When a climber falls or wanders off the trail, the unwritten code of the mountain is to leave them for dead. Had Ger McDonnell stuck to the climbers’ code, he might still be alive.

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TALES FROM THE ORGAN TRADE
D: Ric Esther Bienstock | Canada | 2013 | 82 min


Multi-award-winning director Ric Esther Bienstock takes a gritty and unflinching trip into the lucrative black market industry of organ traffickers, the desperately poor whose bodies are their only bank accounts and the desperately ill who face death without a transplant. Superb investigative documentary skills and heartbreaking human stories of poverty and illness pose a modern ethical dilemma that only 50 years ago was the stuff of science fiction.

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TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM
D: Morgan Neville | USA | 2013 | 90 min


Millions know their voices, but no one knows their names. In his compelling new film, Twenty Feet From Stardom, award-winning director Morgan Neville shines a spotlight on the untold true story of the backup singers behind some of the greatest musical legends of the 21st century. Includes tributes to their work by Bruce Springsteen, Mick Jagger, Sting, Bette Midler, Sheryl Crow and Stevie Wonder.

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UNCLAIMED
D: Michael Jorgensen | Canada | 2013 | 77 min


Vietnam veteran Tom Faunce has devoted the better part of his life as a missionary to the less fortunate. The work takes him back to Vietnam, where he hears of an elderly man claiming to be John Hartley Robertson, an American listed as killed in action who has spent the past 40 years in Vietnam. Their meeting begins an unbelievable sequence of events as Faunce works to repatriate the aging soldier against the wishes of the American government. Unclaimed is an emotionally riveting and inspirational example of what strangers will do when bound by loyalty, duty and faith.

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WHEN I WALK
D: Jason DaSilva | Canada | 2013 | 85 min
Best Canadian Feature Documentary, Hot Docs 2013


When Jason DaSilva was diagnosed with a severe form of multiple sclerosis at 25, his legs were literally taken from beneath him. He was a filmmaker who travelled the world and now had to face that he couldn’t brush his teeth without help. Turning the camera on himself, he documents his seven-year struggle with a disease that has no cure and a world filled with increasing obstacles. The result is a very personal, ambitious and genuine view of a life that takes nothing for granted.

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