Hot Docs Announces 2020 Festival Selections

Lulu Wei’s There’s No Place Like This, Anyplace is among the Canadian films unveiled in Hot Docs’ 2020 selections

226 films and 12 interdisciplinary project comprise this year’s list of Hot Docs selections. The festival revealed its official selections today to honour the works selected for Hot Docs 2020. Despite postponing the festival run originally planned for April 30 to May 10 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Hot Docs remains committed to sharing these films with audiences at a later date.

“Documentaries are vitally important to helping us understand the world we live in, particularly at this challenging moment in time,” said Shane Smith, director of programming for Hot Docs in a statement from the festival. “This year’s Hot Docs program features the best of global documentary storytelling from 63 countries, all of which will connect us to each other in ways that inspire, inform, and illuminate.”

Among the Canadian films selected for the Special Presentations program are Liz Marshall’s Meat the Future, which explores the evolving “cultured meats” industry that aims to offer an alternative to animal-based diets, and Jean-Simon Chartier’s They Call Me Dr. Miami, about an eclectic cosmetic surgeon. Meat the Future was previously announced as one of several Canadian titles to stream online as part of Hot Docs’ partnership with CBC Docs to make festival selections available to audiences immediately. Other films in the Special Presentations line-up include the acclaimed Sundance winner Boys State from Jesse Moss and Amanda McBaine, Ryan White’s Assassins, Jamal Khashoggi doc The Dissident from Icarus Oscar winner Bryan Fogel, Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick’s controversial Sundance sensation/Oprah dumpee On the Record. 51% of the festival selections have female directors.

Selections in the Canadian Spectrum include Ali Weinstein’s #Blessed about holy hipsters, Lulu Wei’s Honest Ed’s doc There’s No Place Like This, Anyplace, Paul Marc Kell’s character study The Dawnsayer, Mia Donovan’s “chemical warfare” drug doc Dope Is Death, Gregory Compton’s strange-but-true Eddy’s Kingdom, Jean-François Lesage’s Montreal metro ride Prayer for a Lost Mitten, and Michèle Stephenson’s NFB film Stateless (previously announced for Tribeca). The Canadian Spectrum also includes RIDM award winners Don’t Worry, the Doors Will Open by Oksana Karpovych and A Woman, My Mother by Claude Demers. Rounding out the Canadian Spectrum are Ying Wang’s The World Is Bright, which explores bureaucracy and the experiences of Chinese-Canadians; François Jacob’s propaganda study Under the Same Sun; and Nathalie Bibeau’s The Walrus and the Whistleblower, which looks at the ongoing mistreatment of marine mammals.

Other Canadian selections include, but are not limited to, the Kenyan-Canadian co-production Softie, a prize-winner from Sundance. The Artscapes program features three Canadian titles at Hot Docs, including Mira Burt-Wintonick’s Wintopia, which looks at her father Peter Wintonick’s search for utopia, and Oscar nominee Ariel Nasr’s excavation of Afghan film history in The Forbidden Reel. Both films appear in the Artscapes program. Nasr’s The Boxing Girls of Kabul is among the Canadian titles in the Redux program. Last week, Hot Docs announced a collaboration with CBC Docs to screen broadcast premieres for selection Hot Docs 2020 picks. The series begins Thursday, April 16 with Barry Avrich’s Made You Look: A True Story About Fake Art, which also appears in the Artscapes program. The Hot Docs/CBC Docs partnership screens one Hot Docs selection online weekly through May 28.

The full list of festival selections is available at Hot Docs previously announced that the Forum and Industry events would move online this year for the proper festival run of April 30 to May 10. Details about screening events for the festival selections will appear at a later date as Hot Docs monitors the Covid-19 situation and recommendations from public health authorities.