Hot Docs Announces 15 More Special Presentations Titles

Sour Grapes

By Pat Mullen

Hot Docs adds 15 new films to the Special Presentations selections of this year’s festival. Among the newly announced titles are the world premieres of Sour Grapes, the new film by How to Change the World director Jerry Rothwell, and Hip-Hip Evolution by Darby Wheeler,Scot McFadyen, and Sam Dunn, which is the only Canadian title among the new selections. This wave features an impressive slate of international docs, particularly those with subjects about art, film, and culture. Notable newbies include Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow’s De Palma on filmmaker Brian de Palma, and Last Laugh, which features comedians including Mel Brooks, Sarah Silverman, and Carl Reiner in a debate about the trickiness of Holocaust jokes. Expect more titles in the days to come.

The new Hot Docs selections are:

D: Jared P. Scott | USA | 2016 | 78 min | World Premiere
Sounding an alarm over the critical and disturbing effects of societal inaction, this revealing film highlights the irreversible impacts of climate change—resource scarcity, mass migration and conflict—through the lens of global stability and national security.

D: Chris Smith | USA | 1999 | 107 min | Cinema Eye Legacy Screening
In this beloved cult classic, an aspiring filmmaker struggles to complete a hilariously lo-fi horror film, only to be derailed by personal demons and the staggering ineptitude of his production team.

D: Brendan Byrne | Ireland, UK | 2016 | 105 min | World Premiere
This riveting account of a turning point in the Troubles in Northern Ireland is taken straight from the diary of Bobby Sands, who led protests of imprisoned Irish Republicans and a hunger strike with momentous consequences.

D: Bill Ross IV, Turner Ross | USA | 2016 | 96 min | International Premiere
An extraordinary lineup of top music stars including event mastermind David Byrne of The Talking Heads, Nelly Furtado, St. Vincent and more perform live with 10 “colour guard” teams—perfectly synchronized students in pep-rally choreography—in this one-of-a-kind, kaleidoscopic event.

D: Noah Baumbach, Jake Paltrow | USA | 2015 | 107 min | Canadian Premiere
From Carrie to Mission: Impossible to Scarface and beyond, Brian de Palma has created some of cinema’s most iconic work. In this career-spanning, funny and candid conversation, he reveals his unique perspective on life, work and the past 50 years in film.

D: Clay Tweel | USA | 2016 | 110 min | International Premiere
At age 34, former NFL defensive back and New Orleans hero Steve Gleason was diagnosed with ALS. With limited time left to live, he purposefully records his spirited and inspiring life—a heartfelt time capsule for his newborn son.

D: Darby Wheeler | Co-D: Scot McFadyen, Sam Dunn | Canada | 2016 | 90 min | World Premiere
Acclaimed Canadian rapper Shad travels to the Bronx and Harlem to talk with hip-hop’s originators and biggest stars—Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash among others—tracing its evolution from underground to global phenomenon.

D: Ferne Pearlstein | USA | 2016 | 85 min | International Premiere
Mel Brooks, Sarah Silverman, Carl Reiner, a 90-year-old Auschwitz survivor and others uproariously debate and test the limits of comedy’s ultimate taboo: how to joke about the Holocaust, or if it’s even ethical to try.

D: Tadasuke Kotani | Japan | 2015 | 89 min | Canadian Premiere
A renowned Japanese photographer inventories iconic Mexican artist Frida Kahlo’s wardrobe and personal belongings, recently discovered 58 years after her death, lending deserved importance to fashion and “women’s work,” while resurrecting the dead through clothing and talismans.

D: Roger Ross Williams | USA | 2015 | 91 min | International Premiere
Disney cartoons play a key role in helping a young autistic boy communicate and understand the world around him in this moving testament to coming-of-age through fantasy, from Academy Award–winning director Roger Ross Williams.

D: Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami | Iran, Germany, Switzerland | 2015 | 90 min | Canadian Premiere
After her family attempts to sell her into marriage, a young Afghan refugee in Iran channels her frustrations and seizes her destiny through music. Grabbing the mic, she spits fiery rhymes in the face of oppressive traditions.

D: Jerry Rothwell | USA, France | 2016 | 96 min | World Premiere
Controversy erupts when an unassuming young man floods the American market with fake vintages valued in the millions, bamboozling wine snobs and the super-wealthy alike, in this suspenseful tale of excess on the eve of the 2008 crash.

D: Dawn Porter | USA | 2016 | 80 min | International Premiere
American women’s right to abortion is no longer clear, as 288 dubious laws slyly crafted by the right have decimated access. While a watershed Supreme Court battle looms, witness the human stakes of the right to choose.

D: Stephanie Soechtig | USA | 2016 | 110 min | International Premiere
With razor-sharp arguments and insight, Stephanie Soechtig and Katie Couric (the team behind Fed Up) craft a gripping indictment of American gun culture, meeting communities shattered by shootings and exposing the politics that allow the epidemic of violence to persist.

Hot Docs runs April 28 – May 8, 2016.
Please visit for more information on this year’s festival.