Hot Docs Announces Additional Guests

Leyner Palacios Asprilla, subject of Bojayá: Caught in the Crossfire, is one of several names added to the Hot Docs guest list.


By Pat Mullen

Hot Docs added to the line-up of star subjects at this year’s festival. The doc fest released a few more names for the 2019 guest list today, although many of the subjects noted were previously tapped for the Scotiabank Big Ideas series in the main Hot Docs announcement in March. New to the list are a quartet of survivors from the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting who appear in After Parkland, while Nobel Peace Prize nominee Leyner Palacios Asprilla will attend with the doc Bojayá: Caught in the Crossfire. Names confirmed for the festival having been announced previously for the Big Ideas series included folk icon Gordon Lightfoot, artist/activist Ai Weiwei, and hockey Legend Willie O’Ree. The talents added to the impressive guest list released on April, which included actor John Cleese and sexpert Dr. Ruth.

The newly announced/confirmed guests are:

Brooke Harrison; Samuel Zeif; Victoria Gonzalez; Dillon McCooty; and Manuel and Patricia Oliver from After Parkland (D: Jake Lefferman, Emily Taguchi |USA | 2018 | 92 min) – Brooke, Samuel, Victoria and Dillon are all students who survived a school shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FLA. Manuel and Patricia are the parents of Joaquin Oliver, a student who was killed in the Parkland school shooting.

Sven Marquardt from Beauty and Decay (D: Annekatrin Hendel | Germany | 2019 | 79 min) – Sven is a nightclub bouncer in Berlin as well as a photographer; he’s known for taking stunning black-and-white photos of East Berlin’s subculture scene before the Berlin Wall came down.

Leyner Palacios Asprilla from Bojayá: Caught in the Crossfire (D: Oisín Kearney | UK, Ireland | 2019 | 80 min) – Leyner is a Colombian and Chocó community leader and Nobel Peace Prize nominee who lost 32 relatives in the conflict between the Colombian military and FARC guerillas.

Gordon Lightfoot from Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind (D: Joan Tosoni, Martha Kehoe | Canada | 2018 | 90 min) – Gordon is a famous Canadian singer songwriter; this film recounts his life story as one of Canada’s most treasured musical icons.

Haydee Oberreuter from Haydee and the Flying Fish (D: Pachi Bustos | Chile, Brazil | 2019 | 73 min) – Haydee is a Chilean woman who was subjected to torture 40 years ago under the country’s dictator, Augusto Pinochet, and is now awaiting the verdict of a trial that will bring her torturers to justice.

Chuck from Hi, AI (D: Isa Willinger | Germany | 2019 | 85 min) – Chuck is a film subject who engages in soul-searching conversations with his female companion robot while on a road trip.

Scott Comber from My Dads, My Moms, and Me (D: Julia Ivanova | Canada | 2019 | 85 min) – Scott is a gay man who connected with a surrogate to father twins.

Ai Weiwei from The Rest (D: Ai Weiwei | Germany | 2018 | 78 min) – Ai Weiwei is a contemporary artist and activist who directed this film.

Eva Collé from Searching Eva (D: Pia Hellenthal | Germany | 2019 | 84 min) – Eva is a 25-year-old Berliner who models her message of “you can pretend to be whatever you want to be” through selfies, sex scenes and social media comments that capture the contradictions and fluidity of being everything and nothing at once.

Jennifer Doudna from Human Nature (D: Adam Bolt | USA | 2019 | 107 min) – Jennifer is a biochemist; the Doudna Lab discovers and develops CRISPR systems and other RNA-guided mechanisms of gene regulation.

Deane Berg, Dr. Daniel Cramer, Dr. Ami Zota, Dr. David Michaels, Allen Smith, Mymy Nuygen, Rick Smith, Dr. Shruthi Mahalingiah, Dr. Tamarra James Todd, and Joel Rochon from Toxic Beauty (D: Phyllis Ellis | Canada | 2019 | 90 min) – Deane is a whistleblower who was the first to go to trial after suing Johnson & Johnson over accusations that its talcum powder products caused her ovarian cancer. Dr. Cramer is a Harvard Professor and world-renowned Epidemiologist at Brigham Women’s Hospital. Dr. Ami Zota Environmental Health Scientist, and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health at the George Washington University Milken School of Public Health. Dr. Michaels was appointed by President Clinton and President Obama as Assistant Secretary of the Environment and Occupational Safety; he is also the author of Doubt Is Their Product. Allen Smith is the lead attorney at The Smith Law Firm, P.L.L.C. and is the first lawyer to seek damages for a client based on injuries caused by exposure to talcum powder. Mymy is a Boston University medical student who measures her chemical body burden from over 27 products while scientists monitor her shocking results. Rick Smith is an environmentalist and co-author of Slow Death by Rubber Duck, a book featured in the film. Dr. Mahalingiah, a reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility Specialist and Physician-Scientist of Reproductive Health. Dr. Tamarra James Todd is an Epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Joel is the Canadian co-lead in the class action against Johnson & Johnson.

Willie O’Ree from Willie (D: Laurence Mathieu-Leger | USA, Canada | 2018 | 89 min) – Willie is a former NHL hockey player who was the first person to break the league’s colour barrier in 1958; he was recently inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Hot Docs runs April 25 to May 5. Additional guests will be revealed leading up to the festival.