Highlights for the Doc Crowd at Curious Minds Weekend

By Pat Mullen

The Curious Minds speakers series returns to the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema this weekend. The second annual event brings sharp minds and innovators to the theatre to engage audiences in deep conversations about current events.

This year’s festival taps into the urgency of smart and rigorous journalism in the age of Donald Trump and #FakeNews, along with talks that give voice to the demand for better representation and equity in the age of Harvey Weinstein and #TimesUp.

Here are some highlights that might appeal to the documentary crowd:

Tina Brown on The Vanity Fair Diaries
Friday, March 2 at 6:30 PM

Forget Vogue and The Devil Wears Prada! Tina Brown gives audiences a look behind the curtain of one of the world’s most beloved and influential magazines. Brown dishes on the ins and outs of keeping the publication chic and stylish in the digital age. What keeps Vanity Fair readers coming back to those Annie Leibovitz spreads when any celebrity with a selfie stick is just a click away? “The diaries veer between literature and the slick lingo of Madison Avenue,” wrote Peter Conrad in The Guardian while reviewing The Vanity Fair Diaries. “I’d call her a satirist not a moralist. Swift was an early contributor to Tatler, and Vanity Fair borrowed its name from the scathing novel by Thackeray, who in turn took it from the headquarters of human folly in Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress.” Whether one’s read the book or the magazine, the event is an intimate glimpse into celebrity journalism.

Marty Baron on The Fourth Estate in the Age of Trump
Saturday, March 3 at 3:30 PM

Are you a fan of the drama Spotlight? Get the scoop from one of the characters of the Best Picture winning newsroom drama on Oscar weekend as Boston Globe Executive Editor Marty Baron, portrayed by Liev Schreiber in Spotlight, discusses the role of news media in the era of #FakeNews. The editor’s work at the Boston Globe uncovered pervasive and systemic child molestation and cover-ups within the local Catholic Archdiocese. The story won a Pulitzer Prize. Baron joins Globe and Mail Editor-in-Chief David Walmsley to confront the ways in which journalists and newsrooms keep ahead of the pack when it comes to alternative facts and presidential Twitter rants that shape the news cycle in the wee hours of the morning. It’s also a great talk to complement the film that deserves to win the Best Picture Oscar Sunday, The Post, about Washington Post publisher Kay Graham and their story on the Pentagon Papers, and how little things changes as administrations come and go from the White House.

Masai Ujiri on Building a Global Sports Juggernaut
Saturday, March 3 at 7:00 PM

Masai Ujiri, whom readers might remember from last year’s documentary Giants of Africa, takes the stage to discuss his work with the Toronto Raptors and acting as a positive role model for aspiring athletes around the world. Ujiri talks about founding Giants of Africa, a philanthrophic mission that began in Nigeria before expanding across the continent, and the mission to transform the world through sport. Anyone who has seen Hubert Davis’s documentary knows that Ujiji is a great speaker with a worthy cause, and this discussion that touches upon themes of access and inclusion is worthy of courtside seats at the festival. Read the POV review of Giants of Africa here.http://povmagazine.com/articles/view/tiff-review-giants-of-africa

Sunday, March 4 at 6:30 PM (red carpet reception) and 7:30 PM (free broadcast of the show)

Hollywood’s biggest night is an occasion for film buffs to come together, so cap off the weekend of Curious Minds by getting the scoop on the films that win (or lose) from some of Toronto’s top critics. Hot Docs screens the show for free to Oscar watchers, which is always fun on the big screen. Anyone looking for a rundown of the Best Documentary Feature category should take a peek at our picks for who will win and should win. Although we’re still flip-flopping between Aleppo and Icarus to take the prize!

Curious Minds weekend runs March 2-4 at Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema.
Get the full line-up here.