‘A Thousand Cuts’, ‘The Forum’ Headline Scotiabank Big Ideas Series at Hot Docs

A Thousand Cuts is one of five films participating in the online Scotiabank Big Ideas Series


By Pat Mullen

Hot Docs will be bringing its spotlight Scotiabank Big Ideas series to its online festival. The Big Ideas Series, presented by Scotia Wealth Management, is the centrepiece of the annual festival with filmmakers and big name film subjects engaging in audience Q&As for some of the Hot Docs’ biggest titles. This year’s series will appear as live webinars with film subjects and experts in the field. Notably, the conversations in the Big Ideas Series will be available freely via a link on the Hot Docs website. Audiences will also be able to watch the conversation on subsequent screenings of the film, as films run throughout the duration of the online festival beginning May 28.

This year’s Big Ideas Series begins May 30 with Ramona Diaz’s A Thousand Cuts. The film brings 2018 Time Person of the Year Maria Ressa to the series for a Q&A and what’s sure to be an explosive conversation about the freedom of the press in the era of “fake news.” Also screening in the Big Ideas series is The Forum, Marcus Vetter’s chronicle of the World Economic Platform that proved a breakthrough performance for teen activist Greta Thunberg. Barry Avich’s Made You Look: A True Story About Fake Art brings together authors Maria Konnikova and Don Thompson, as well as journalist Patricia Cohen to discuss the film’s wild-but-true tale about an art forger who conned New York’s finest.

“The series has always hosted enlightening and thought-provoking conversations with film subjects, directors and experts, and this year’s digital edition will be no different,” said Brett Hendrie, executive director of Hot Docs, in a statement from the festival. ‘We’re looking forward to diving further into these complex stories and learning more about the pressing issues surrounding them.”

Previous screenings in the Scotiabank Big Ideas series have includes some of the most popular films in recent festivals, such as Willie, Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind, and Won’t You Be My Neighbor?.

The full list of films in the Big Ideas Series is as follows:
(descriptions courtesy of Hot Docs)

A Thousand Cuts
D: Ramona S. Diaz | USA | 2020 | 120 min | Special Presentations
Saturday, May 30 at 8:00 PM

Internationally acclaimed press-freedom fighter Maria Ressa must navigate fake news punditry, bomb threats and arrest warrants to chronicle Philippine President Duterte’s extrajudicial war on drugs and weaponization of social media in this urgent report on democracy itself.

Big Ideas Event
Featuring Maria Ressa, co-founder, executive editor and CEO Rappler

Internationally acclaimed journalist and 2018 Time Person of the Year Maria Ressa, co-founder, executive editor and CEO of Rappler, and A Thousand Cuts director Ramona Diaz discuss the role of journalists in democratic society, lessons we can learn about the weaponization of social media, political harassment and the importance of a free press to counter disinformation and “fake news”.

IHuman
D: Tonje Hessen Schei | Norway | 2019 | 100 min | Special Presentations
Sunday, May 31 at 3:00 PM
Take a deep dive into rapidly expanding forms of artificial intelligence, as told by some of the pioneers and experts of the field who reflect on the massive impact these advancements have on our world.

Big Ideas Event
Featuring Hao Li, deepfake pioneer; Lee Fang, investigative reporter, The Intercept

Join Hao Li, deepfake pioneer, Lee Fang, investigative journalist, The Intercept, and iHUMAN director Tonje Hessen Schei for a deep dive into rapidly expanding forms of artificial intelligence (AI), including the rise of deepfakes, as they discuss how the most powerful and far-reaching technology of our time is changing our lives, our society and our future.

Made You Look: A True Story About Fake Art
D: Barry Avrich | Canada | 2020 | 96 Min | Artscapes
Tuesday, June 2 at 7:00 PM

Controversy erupts when the American art market is flooded with a slew of fake paintings valued in the millions. As the truth unravels and consequences mount, a reputed New York dealer unwittingly finds herself at the centre of an elaborate con.

Big Ideas Event
Featuring Maria Konnikova, author, The Confidence Game; Don Thompson, author The Orange Balloon Dog: Bubbles, Turmoil and Avarice in the Contemporary Art Market; Patricia Cohen, reporter, The New York Times, and director Barry Avrich

Join us for a fascinating look at the big business of art fraud, the art of the con and why we fall for it with Maria Konnikova, author, The Confidence Game; Don Thompson, author The Orange Balloon Dog: Bubbles, Turmoil and Avarice in the Contemporary Art Market; Patricia Cohen, reporter, The New York Times and Made You Look: A True Story About Fake Art director Barry Avrich.

Coded Bias
D: Shalini Kantayya | USA | 2020 | 90 min | Special Presentations

Thursday, June 4 at 7:00 PM

When facial recognition software is used in clandestine surveillance, who does it protect and who is singled out? Scientists, scholars and activists all argue there is a clear racial bias buried in the algorithms, but will the US government take heed?

Big Ideas Event
Guests to be confirmed.

As facial recognition technology becomes increasingly used in surveillance, questions need to be asked about who is creating and benefitting from it, and who is being harmed. Join Coded Bias director Shalini Kantayya and special guests for a timely conversation about privacy and civil liberties under threat.

The Forum
D: Marcus Vetter | Germany, Switzerland | 2019 | 92 min | Special Presentations
Saturday, June 6 at 3:00 PM

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, where the most powerful leaders and thinkers on the planet gather, astonishing conversations unfold between the likes of Al Gore, Jair Bolsonaro and Greta Thunberg during an event with so much at stake.

Big Ideas Event
Guests to be confirmed.

Join The Forum director Marcus Vetter and guests for a crucial conversation about The World Economic Forum and the role world leaders, corporations and individuals play in ensuring the health of our planet, particularly at this challenging moment in human history.