Hot Docs Announces 10 Special Presentations Titles

Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World

By Pat Mullen

Hot Docs announced its first wave of titles this morning. The Toronto doc festival unveiled ten films that will screen as part of the Special Presentations programme when Hot Docs runs April 27 to May 7. Among the titles are the Canadian Sundance prize-winner Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World, which scored a jury prize for masterful storytelling, and Chasing Coral from Jeff Orlowski, whose Chasing Ice previously won the Hot Docs audience award. Expect more titles when Hot Docs reveals its slate during the main press conference on March 21st.

The announced Special Presentations titles are:

Bill Nye: Science Guy
D: David Alvarado, Jason Sussberg | USA | 2017 | 101 min | International Premiere
In the 90s, Bill Nye’s infectious enthusiasm for science inspired a generation of kids, but with his field increasingly under attack, the bow-tied science guy now finds himself leading an urgent crusade against creationists and climate change deniers.

Chasing Coral
D: Jeff Orlowski | USA | 2016 | 93 min | International Premiere
From the director of Chasing Ice comes this breathtaking cinematic journey below the world’s oceans to its coral reefs. Spectacular time-lapse footage reveals the devastating impact of climate change, which threatens to eradicate this marvelous ecosystem—within our lifespan.

D: Peter Bratt | USA | 2017 | 98 min | International Premiere
Often overshadowed by her United Farm Workers co-founder Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta was a powerhouse activist who defied 1950s gender conventions as she unflinchingly fought to protect women and people of color in her push for social change.

D: Ross McDonnell, Tim Golden | Ireland, USA | 2017 | 105 min | Canadian Premiere
When five-year-old Elián Gonzalez was plucked from the ocean near Miami in 1999, it sparked a flashpoint for simmering US-Cuban tensions. Decades later, with relations warming, the media firestorm and ensuing international custody saga is revisited.

Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower
D: Joe Piscatella | USA, Hong Kong | 2016 | 78 min | Canadian Premiere
China’s government meets its fiery match in young Joshua Wong. Rallying thousands of fellow students to skip school and occupy the streets in support of Hong Kong’s autonomy, he becomes one of his country’s most notorious—and unlikely—dissidents.

In Loco Parentis
D: Neasa Ni Chianain, David Rane | Ireland, Spain | 2016 | 99 min | Canadian Premiere
A heartfelt look at the lives of two soon-to-be-retired educators—and married couple of almost 50 years—whose passion and idiosyncratic teaching styles inspire and challenge the young students of Ireland’s last primary-age boarding school.

Nobody Speaks: The Trial of the Free Press
D: Brian Knappenberger | USA | 2017 | 93 min | International Premiere
The trial between wrestler Hulk Hogan and Gawker Media pitted privacy rights against freedom of the press, but ended up as a case study in how big money can silence media through legal means. An examination of the perils and duties of the free press in an age of inequality.

Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World
D: Catherine Bainbridge, Alfonso Maiorana | Canada | 2016 | 103 min | Canadian Premiere
The sound of rock ’n’ roll was forever changed by Link Wray’s distorted guitar. Decades later, his legacy—and that of other Native Americans who shaped popular music—is given overdue recognition in this Sundance award winner. The film also features Executive Producer and guitarist Stevie Salas, who has put together a group of music royalty to discuss the influence of Indigenous music on rock and roll.

Strong Island
D: Yance Ford | USA, Denmark | 2017 | 107 min | Canadian Premiere
Twenty years after an unarmed African-American was shot during an altercation with a young white mechanic, his brother revisits the circumstances that left his sibling dead and the killer uncharged in this powerful investigation of love, loss and justice.

The Workers Cup
D: Adam Sobel | United Kingdom | 2017 | 92 min | Canadian Premiere
On the backs of 1.6 million migrant workers, Qatar will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. But far from the roaring crowds and media spectacle, 24 construction companies compete for glory and the thrill of hoisting the Workers Cup.

Please visit for more information on this year’s festival.