Docs Opening in Canada this Week (Oct. 7 -13)

Gun Runners
Photo by Georgina Goodwin, courtesy of the NFB

By Pat Mullen

Three notable Canadian docs open in theatres this weekend and they’re all worth the ticket. A must-see for Toronto audiences is Hugh Gibson’s raw and powerful doc The Stairs, which profiles residents of the city’s Regent Park neighbourhood. The characters are immediately accessible and their stories put a human face on a corner of the city that often finds itself reported in crime blurbs and statistics. “For a first feature,” writes Jason Gorber in his review of the doc, “The Stairs is extraordinary, and speaks to Gibson’s own tenacity and resourcefulness to let the story take him where it was meant to go, finding moments that illuminate the harsh but often beautiful reality of Regent Park and its citizens.” Read more about The Stairs in the POV review or pick up a copy of the current issue at the TIFF gift shop for a feature on the doc!

The Stairs – Trailer from Midnight Lamp Films on Vimeo.

Opening this week at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema is Adam Irving’s popular Hot Docs selection Off the Rails. This doc profiles Autistic transit thief Darius McCollum, who is a public hero of sorts given his knack for taking buses and train cars for his own ride home in an act of skipping the fare to the extreme. McColllum’s story is set to receive a dramatic treatment with Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich mode as a lawyer handling his case, but casting reports for an actor for the subject have yet to surface. Let us know star should play Darius after you see Off the Rails!

The NFB flick Gun Runners opens in more Canadian cities this week after a warm-up run in Quebec. This rousing and inspiring film offers a feel good story about two men who escape dire conditions and transform themselves through sport. (Insert ‘Faster than a speeding bullet’ joke here!)

Finally, The Beatles’ doc Eight Days a Week opens in Toronto and Kingston for big screen Beatlemania. The film is Ron Howard’s second foray into documentary after the 2013 Jay-Z joint Made in America. It’s already one of the most successful docs of the year. Will another rock doc take the stage on Oscar night?

New Docs Opening this Week:

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week
Dir. Ron Howard | USA | 138 min.
-Kingston, ON: The Screening Room – Fri, Oct. 7 – Thurs, Oct. 13
-Toronto, ON: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema – Fri, Oct. 7 – Thurs, Oct. 13

Gun Runners
Dir. Anjali Nayer | Canada | 98 min.
-Calgary, AB: Globe Cinema – Fri, Oct. 7 – Sat, Oct. 8; Tues, Oct. 11 – Wed, Oct. 12
-Edmonton, AB: Metro Cinema – Fri, Oct. 7 – Sun, Oct. 9; Tues, Oct. 11 – Wed, Oct. 12
-Toronto, ON: Cineplex Scotiabank – Fri, Oct. 7 – Thurs, Oct. 13
-Vancouver, ON: Cineplex Odeon International Village Cinemas – Fri, Oct. 7 – Thurs, Oct. 13

Off the Rails
Dir. Adam Irving | Canada/USA
-Toronto, ON: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema – Fri, Oct. 7 – Wed, Oct. 12
—>Director Adam Irving will be in attendance for Q&As following the screenings on Friday, October 7 at 3:45 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., as well as Saturday, October 8 at 12:30 p.m.

The Stairs
Dir. Hugh Gibson | Canada | 95 min.
-Toronto, ON: TIFF Bell Lightbox – Fri, Oct. 7 – Thurs, Oct. 13
—> Intro and Q&A with director Hugh Gibson at the Friday October 7th, 6:45pm screening!
—> The 6:40pm screening on Wednesday October 12th will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by Toronto Star Columnist Joe Fiorito and feature City councillors Joe Cressy and Gord Perks (both head Toronto’s Drug Strategy), Raffi Balian (South Riverdale CHC Project Coordinator) and film subject Roxanne Smith!
—> Pick up a copy of POV #103 at the TIFF gift shop to read Adam Nayman’s feature ‘Neighbourhood Watch’ on The Stairs and Charles Officer’s Unarmed Verses!

Doc Classics:

The War Room
Dir. Chris Hegedus, D.A. Pennebaker | USA | 1993 | 96 min
-Toronto, ON: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema – Thurs, Oct. 13

Enjoy a week at the movies!