Hot Docs Welcomes Over 200 Guests and Filmmakers to this Year’s Festival

Spirit of the West frontman John Mann and wife Jill Daum in Spirit Unforgettable
Courtesy of Hot Docs.

By Pat Mullen

Hot Docs is just a week away and this morning’s hefty announcement of guest subjects and filmmakers expected to attend the festival promises a great ten days of moviegoing. Over 200 subjects and filmmakers are slated to appear at Hot Docs this year to present their films to audiences and, in many cases, participate in post-screening Q&As. Notable names on this year’s guest list include Spirit of the West frontman John Mann and his wife Jill Daum for the excellent Spirit Unforgettable, while Gil Won-Ok and Meehyang Yoon join director Tiffany Hsiung for one of the festival’s hot ticket Scotiabank: Big Ideas screenings with The Apology. Also appearing in the Big Ideas series are Gil Garcetti and Robert Lipsyte for OJ: Simpson: Made in America. Other talents appearing for Canadian films include burlesque star Tempest Storm for Tempest Storm, while burlesque legends Camille 2000 and Judith Stein shake a leg with the Hot Docs opener The League of Exotique Dancers.

The list of featured guests released by Hot Docs is as follows:

Dolly Jacobs, Pedro Reis and Rafael Palacios from AFTER CIRCUS (D: Viveka Melki | Canada | 2015 | 78 min) – Founders of the Circus Arts Conservatory Dolly Jacobs and Pedro Reis, and aerialist Rafael Palacios.

Izak Sagi and Shep Shell from AIDA’S SECRETS (D: Alon Schwarz, Shaul Schwarz | Israel, USA, Germany, Canada | 2016 | 90 min) – Brothers who learn of each other’s existence and meet for the first time at almost 70-years-old.

Mark Haney from AIM FOR THE ROSES (D: John Bolton | Canada | 2016 | 102 min) – Renowned double bassist and composer from Vancouver.

Kryzstof Baginski from ALL THESE SLEEPLESS NIGHTS (D: Michal Marczak | Poland | 2016 | 90 min) – A young Polish man moving towards adulthood during one eventful summer.

Daniel Giusti from ANTS ON A SHRIMP (D: Maurice Dekkers | Netherlands | 2016 | 88 min) – Former head chef at Noma and founder of Brigaid, whose mission is to transform the way American schools serve meals to schoolchildren.

Gil Won-Ok and Meehyang Yoon from THE APOLOGY (D: Tiffany Hsiung | Canada | 2016 | 105 min) – Activist Gil Won-Ok and Director of Korean Council for Women Drafted for Military Slavery, Meehyang Yoon.

Dr. David W. Titley from THE AGE OF CONSEQUENCES (D: Jared P. Scott | USA | 2016 | 78 min) – Professor of meteorology at Pennsylvania State University and the founding director of their Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk.

Daisy Coleman, Tristan Coleman, Melinda Coleman and Delaney Henderson from AUDRIE & DAISY (D: Jon Shenk, Bonni Cohen | USA | 2016 | 95 min) – Sexual assault survivors Daisy Coleman and Delaney Henderson, and Daisy’s brother and mother.

Michelle Smith from BEST AND MOST BEAUTIFUL THINGS (D: Garrett Zevgetis | USA | 2015 | 91 min) – A precocious young autistic and legally blind woman chasing her dreams despite all odds.

Miia Norvapalo, Aino Selin and Patricia Fisk (Patu) from CHEER UP (D: Christy Garland | Finland, Canada | 2016 | 72 min) – Ambitious cheerleading coach Miia and teammates Aino and Patricia.

Miriam Zoll from FUTURE BABY (D: Maria Arlamovsky | Austria | 2016 | 91 min) – An award-winning writer, public speaker and an international health and human rights advocate and educator.

Michel Varisco from GLEASON (D: Clay Tweel | United States | 2016 | 110 min) – Wife of former NFL player Steve Gleason.

Stefan Sagmeister and Dr. Sheenah Hankin from THE HAPPY FILM (D: Hillman Curtis, Ben Nabors, Stefan Sagmeister | USA | 2016 | 92 min) – Renowned graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister and psychotherapist Dr. Sheenah Hankin.

Melle Mel, Shad Kabango and Nelson George from HIP-HOP EVOLUTION (D: Darby Wheeler, Co-D: Scot McFadyen, Sam Dunn) – American hip-hop musician and rap pioneer Melle Mel, hip-hop artist and CBC q host Shad, and author, music and culture critic, journalist, and filmmaker Nelson George.

Rob Niosi and Ron Mallett from HOW TO BUILD A TIME MACHINE (D: Jay Cheel | Canada | 2016 | 82 min) – Stop motion animator Rob Niosi who spent eleven years constructing a full-scale replica of a time machine prop and American theoretical physicist, academic, and author Ron Mallett.

Joe Zambito and family from HOW TO PREPARE FOR PRISON (D: Matt Gallagher | Canada | 2016 | 90 min) – Former inmate Joe Zambito and his family.

Bobby Rush from I AM THE BLUES (D: Daniel Cross | Canada | 2016 | 106 min) – The award-winning American blues musician, composer and singer.

Deb Filler from THE LAST LAUGH (D: Ferne Pearlstein | USA | 2016 | 85 min) – Acclaimed writer, actor and comedian.

Camille 2000 and Judith Stein from LEAGUE OF EXOTIQUE DANCERS (D: Rama Rau | Canada | 2016 | 90 min) – Burlesque legends and pioneers.

Nikuusi Elijassiapik from LIVING WITH GIANTS (D: Sébastien Rist, Aude Leroux-Lévesque | Canada | 2016 | 78 min) – A young Inuk woman living in a remote Northern Quebec community.

Brian Gillis, David Minkin and Jon Armstrong from MAGICIANS: LIFE IN THE IMPOSSIBLE (D: Marcie Hume, Christoph Baaden | USA | 2016 | 85 min) – Premier close-up magicians and entertainers.

Charles Mully and his family from MULLY (D: Scott Haze | USA, Kenya | 2015 | 81 min) – Founder of Mully Children’s Family, a non-profit Christian rehabilitation organization for street children in Africa.

Gil Garcetti and Robert Lipsyte from O.J. SIMPSON: MADE IN AMERICA (D: Ezra Edelman | USA | 2016 | 464 min) – Former Los Angeles District Attorney Gil Garcetti and American sports journalist Robert Lipsyte.

Bruce Weber from OBIT (D: Vanessa Gould | USA | 2016 | 93 min) – Obituary writer for The New York Times.

Padraig O’Malley from THE PEACEMAKER (D: James Demo | USA | 2016 | 88 min) – Author and the John Joseph Moakley Distinguished Professor of Peace and Reconciliation at the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Cleo Kambugu and Nelson Kasaija from THE PEARL OF AFRICA (D: Jonny von Wallström | Sweden | 2016 | 90 min) – A Ugandan transgender woman and activist and her boyfriend Nelson.

Tom ‘Putuparri” Lawford from PUTUPARRI AND THE RAINMAKERS (D: Nicole Ma | Australia | 2015 | 91 min) – An aboriginal Wangakjunka man, living in Fitzroy Crossing, Australia.

Robin Karlsson, Abud Hanna and Anna Brorsson from THE SEX TEMPLE (D: Johan Palmgren | Sweden | 2015 | 81 min) – Co-owner of Nordic Moulin Rouge Robin, his husband Abud, and swinger Anna.

Mike Ware from SOUTHWEST OF SALEM: THE STORY OF THE SAN ANTONIO FOUR (D: Deborah S. Esquenazi | USA | 2016 | 89 min) – Director of the Innocence Project of Texas.

John Mann and Jill Daum from SPIRIT UNFORGETTABLE (D: Pete McCormack | Canada | 2016 | 86 min) – Front man for Canadian Celtic rock band Spirit of the West and his wife, actress and playwright Jill Daum.

José Gutierrez, Kevin Stea and Oliver Crumes III from STRIKE A POSE (D: Ester Gould, Reijer Zwaan | Netherlands, Belgium | 2016 | 83 min) – Backup dancers on Madonna’s record-breaking Blond Ambition World Tour and co-stars in Madonna: Truth or Dare.

Tempest Storm and Harvey Robbins from TEMPEST STORM (D: Nimisha Mukerji | Canada, Germany, France | 2016 | 83 min) – Burlesque star and actress dubbed the “Queen of Exotic Dancers” and manager Harvey Robbins.

Tony Robbins from TONY ROBBINS: I AM NOT YOUR GURU (D: Joe Berlinger | USA | 2016 | 115 min) – Bestselling self-help author and motivational speaker.

Mark Barden from UNDER THE GUN (D: Stephanie Soechtig | USA | 2016 | 110 min) – Founder of gun control group Sandy Hook Promise.

Razia Jan from WHAT TOMORROW BRINGS (D: Beth Murphy | USA | 2016 | 89 min) – Humanitarian and founder of the Zabuli Education Centre, the first school for girls in Deh’Subz, Afghanistan.

Robert Gagno and Maurizio Gagno from WIZARD MODE (D: Nathan Drillot, Jeff Petry | Canada | 2016 | 82 min) – Pinball champion, currently ranked sixth in the world, and his father Maurizio. Members of the Alaev family from THE WONDERFUL KINGDOM OF PAPA ALAEV (D: Tal Barda, Noam Pinchas | Israel, France | 2016 | 74 min) – A family of celebrated folk musicians, lead by Allo “Papa” Alaev.

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