Hot Docs Announces Featured Guests

Gilbert Gottfried in the 1990s in New York.
Picture taken by his sister, photographer Arlene Gottfried. / Hot Docs

By Pat Mullen

Hot Docs gets read carpet ready with the announcement of featured guests slated to attend this year’s festival. Among the notable names coming to Hot Docs ’17 are comedian, actor and Hollywood Squares staple Gilbert Gottfried, subject of the portrait Gilbert; fashion designer Zac Posen, who appears in the Canadian co-production House of Z; and musician Stevie Salas, who will be on hand to support the acclaimed Rumble.

Guests generally appear at more than one screening. Additionally, Hot Docs expects 192 filmmakers to attend the festival and introduce their films/participate in audience Q&As.

Featured guests announced for Hot Docs are:

Venerable Sovath Luon, from A Cambodian Spring (D: Chris Kelly | UK | 2016 | 121 min) – Buddhist monk and human rights activist.

William Kaysaywaysemat and his family, and Evan Taypotat from Bee Nation (D: Lana Šlezić | Canada | 2016 | 78 min) – The Kaysaywaysemat’s are subjects in the film; Mr. Taypotat is the principal of Chief Kahkewistahaw Community School.

Richard Vevers from Chasing Corall (D: Jeff Orlowski | USA | 2016 | 93 min) – Founder and CEO of The Ocean Agency, a not-for-profit organisation founded by a group of ex-advertising execs and creatives.

Dolores Huerta from Dolores (D: Peter Bratt | USA | 2017 | 98 min) – An American labour leader and civil rights activist who was the co-founder of the National Farmworkers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers.

Gilbert Gottfried from Gilbert (D: Neil Berkeley | USA | 2017 | 96 min) – Actor and comedian who has appeared in numerous feature films and television shows.

Alisa Aarniomäki, Mariam Njie (Aisku) and Elsa Salo from Hobbyhorse Evolution – Film subjects and hobbyhorse enthusiasts.

Zac Posen from House of Z (D: Sandy Chronopoulos | USA, Canada | 2016 | 87 min) – American fashion designer; regarded as a wunderkind of the fashion world.

Joshua Wong from Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower (D: Joe Piscatella | USA, Hong Kong | 2016 | 78 min) – Student and teenage activist who formed the student organization Scholarism in protest of the Chinese national education plan.

Goran Colak from My Life Without Air (D: Bojana Burnać | Croatia | 2017 | 73 min) – World champion free-diver from Croatia.

John Cook from Nobody Speaks: The Trials of the Free Press (D: Brian Knappenberger | USA | 2017 | 93 min) – Executive director, Special Projects Desk at Gizmodo Media Group.

Camille Biros and Ken Feinberg from Playing God (D: Karin Jurschick | Germany, Netherlands | 2017 | 95 min) – Ms. Biros is a business manager and Mr. Feinberg is a compensation specialist and attorney at the Feinberg Group.

Mohamed Gharbi from Rue de Victoire (D: Frédérique Cournoyer Lessard | Canada | 2017 | 65 min) – Circus artist and trapeze performer from Tunisia.

Stevie Salas from Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World (D: Catherine Bainbridge, Alfonso Maiorana | Canada | 2017 | 103 min) – Native American guitarist, author, music director, record producer and Advisor of Contemporary Music at The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.

David Bull from Ukiyo-e Heroes_ (D: Toru Tokikawa | USA, Japan | 2016 | 96 min) – Artist and craftsman who reinvigorated the ancient art of Japanese woodblock prints known as ukiyo-e.

Susanne Bartsch from Susanne Bartsch: On Top (D: Anthony&Alex | USA | 2017 | 84 min) –New York nightlife icon, event promoter and founder of The Love Ball.

Hot Docs runs April 27 – May 7.
Please visit for more information on this year’s festival.