Beloved comedians and controversial politicians headline the guest list for Hot Docs 2022. The documentary festival revealed the film subjects who will be attending this year’s event, which starts Thursday night. The opening night gala of Into the Weeds, directed by Jennifer Baichwal, will feature the documentary’s key subject, Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, whose bellwether case against the Monsanto company leads the doc’s inquiry about corporate environmental responsibility. Also attending opening night are subjects Garry Gadd, Brian Gadd, Raymond Owl, Carey Gillam, Brent Wisner, Robin Greenwald, Nancy Miller, and Araceli Johnson.
Notable names attending Hot Docs include Conservative Calgary MP Michelle Rempel Garner, who appears in the documentary Hunting in Packs, directed by Chloe Sosa-Sims. Garner has gained prominence as an outspoken critic of progressive politics and for her often aggressive behaviour on social media. On the political front, Bellingcat reporter Christo Grozev will participate in a Q&A for Navalny with director Daniel Roher and guests. Grovez plays a pivotal role in the doc working with Alexei Navalny to investigate an assassination attempt.
Lighter guest appearance may be found in the trio of Bruce McCulloch, Mark McKinney, and Scott Thompson from The Kids in the Hall, who will participate in a Q&A about the comedy troupe doc Comedy Punks, directed by Reg Harkema. Canuck comic Jay Baruchel, meanwhile, appears with the Crave series We’re All Gonna Die (Even Jay Baruchel), directed by Victoria Lean. As previously announced, Hot Docs will welcome Academy Award nominated director Christine Choy, on hand for The Exiles and a master class, and Abigail E. Disney, director and subject for the Scotiabank Big Ideas selection The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales. Over 190 directors will attend Hot Docs this year.
The full list of guests for Hot Docs 2022 released by the festival is as follows:
Scott Thompson, Bruce McCulloch, and Mark McKinney from The Kids in the Hall: Comedy Punks (D: Reg Harkema | P: Nick McKinney, Kim Creelman | Canada, USA | 2022 | 95 min) – Iconic members of the legendary Canadian sketch comedy troupe will reunite at Hot Docs 2022.
Jay Baruchel from We’re All Gonna Die (Even Jay Baruchel) (D: Victoria Lean | P: Stuart Henderson, Victoria Lean, Ben Travers | Canada | 2022 | 60 min) – Canadian actor, director, stand-up comedian, and host of the new series about the end of the world.
Christo Grozev from Navalny (D: Daniel Roher | P: Odessa Rae, Diane Becker, Melanie Miller, Shane Boris | USA | 2022) – A Bulgarian investigative journalist known for his work as the lead Russia investigator with Bellingcat, whose investigation of the suspicious string of Novichok agent poisonings in the UK earned him awards and worldwide notoriety.
Abigail E. Disney from The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales (D: Abigail E. Disney, Kathleen Hughes | P: Aideen Kane, Abigail E. Disney, Kathleen Hughes | USA | 2022 | 87 min) – A prominent social activist, an Emmy-winning documentary film producer, and director. She is also the granddaughter of Roy O. Disney, co-founder of The Walt Disney Company. In recent years, Disney has advocated for workers’ rights and condemned modern corporate practices.
Moto Yasu Kinoshita, John Kutsch, Eric Meyer, Iida Rushalme, Prof. Jim Smith, Madison Czerwinski, and Michael Shellenberger from Atomic Hope: Inside the Pro-Nuclear Movement (D: Frankie Fenton | P: Frankie Fenton, Kathryn Kennedy | Ireland | 2022 | 82 min) – Moto Yasu Kinoshita is a renowned engineer working on solutions for nuclear power radioactive waste. John Kutsch is the Executive Director of the Thorium Energy Alliance, promoting the use of thorium as an energy source. Eric Meyer is the founder and Director of Generation Atomic, a nuclear advocacy non-profit. Iida Rushalme is a biologist and nuclear power supporter. Jim Smith is a Professor of Environmental Science researching the consequences of radioactive pollutants in the environment while offering solutions on how to best manage this waste. Madison Czerwinski is the founder and executive director of Campaign for a Green Nuclear Deal. Michael Shellenberger is an American author writing about the intersection of climate change, nuclear energy, and politics.
Pavla Holcová and Eva Kubanoviá from The Killing of a Journalist (D: Matt Sarnecki | P: Signe Byrge Sørensen | Denmark, Czech Republic, USA | 2022 | 100 min) – Pavla is an investigative journalist from the Czech Republic who works across borders to expose crime and corruption at the highest levels of government. Her investigation into the brutal murder of her colleague unmasked the culprits and contributed to the downfall of the former Slovak government. Eva is an award-winning journalist based in Prague covering organized crime topics, including the murder of journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová.
Christine Choy and Wu’erkaixi from The Exiles (D: Ben Klein, Violet Columbus | P: Maria Chiu, Ben Klein, Violet Columbus | USA | 2022 | 95 min) – Christine Choy is a Chinese American Oscar-nominated filmmaker (Who Killed Vincent Chin?) and educator (NYU, Cornell, and Yale). Choy’s unfinished Tiananmen Square massacre project is re-examined in The Exiles. Wu’erkaixi is a political commentator known for his leading role during the Tiananmen protests of 1989.
Sophia Dunkley from Don’t Come Searching (D: Andrew Moir | P: Michelle Serieux, Sherien Barsoum, Andrew Moir | Canada | 2022 | 72 min) – In Don’t Come Searching, Sophia’s partner, Delroy, returns to his native Jamaica to be reunited with his family after doing seasonal work in Canada. He brings Sophia an engagement ring and an unexpected diagnosis of terminal cancer. This is a moving portrait of a resilient, contemporary Jamaican woman, determined to find her own way in life.
Hrefna Lind Lárusdóttir, Petur Eggertsson, Saga Sigurðardóttir from Band (D: Álfrún Örnólfsdóttir | P: Þórður Jónsson, Heather Millard | Iceland | 2022 | 88 min) – Hrefna Lind Lárusdóttir is a performance artist working across physical theatre, dance, video installations, and music. Petur Eggertsson is a performance and media artist working across many mediums. Saga Sigurðardóttir is a dancer and performance artist based in Reykjavik.
Sam Harkness from Sam Now (D: Reed Harkness | P: Jason Reid | USA | 2022 | 85 min) – The subject of Sam Now is director Reed Harkness’ younger half-brother, who grapples with the disappearance of his mother during the most formative years of his life.
Garry Gadd, Brian Gadd, Raymond Owl, Carey Gillam, Brent Wisner, Robin Greenwald, Nancy Miller, Araceli Johnson, and Dewayne “Lee” Johnson for Into the Weeds: Dwayne “Lee” Johnson vs. the Monsanto Company | P: Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier | Canada | 2022 | 96 min) – Dewayne “Lee” Johnson is a former groundskeeper who takes on a multinational agrochemical corporation after his terminal cancer diagnosis. He will be accompanied by his wife, Araceli Johnson. Raymond Owl is a Traditional Ecological Knowledge Elder. Garry Gadd is a Saskatchewan farmer, and Brian is his son. Robin Greenwald, Nancy Miller, and Brent Wisner are attorneys featured in the film. Carey Gillam is the author of Whitewash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer and the Corruption of Science and The Monsanto Papers, and worked as a story consultant on the film.
Saira Rao, Genevieve Swift, and Regina Jackson from Deconstructing Karen (D: Patty Ivins | P: Katherine Montgomery, Mikell Ivey, Jessica Lipman | USA | 2021 | 75 min) – Saira Rao is a political activist, author, publisher, and co-founder of Race2Dinner, a series of anti-racist dinner parties. Genevieve Swift is a business developer for Race2Dinner. Regina Jackson is an education advocate and co-founder of Race2Dinner.
Marinela Piedrahita from My Two Voices (D: Lina Rodriguez | P: Brad Deane, Lina Rodriguez | Canada | 2022 | 68 min) – Marinela was born in Canada but was sent back to Colombia at age four. My Two Voices captures her return to Canada as an adult and offers a compelling portrait of her life in the diaspora.
Kang-Won Song from Queer My Friends (D: Ah-hyun Seo | P: Sarah Kang | South Korea | 2022 | 82 min) – Queer My Friends captures Kang-Won’s search for identity and belonging as he comes out publicly as a gay man in South Korea.
Doris Muñoz from Mija (D: Isabel Castro | P: Tabs Breese, Yesenia Tlahuel | USA | 2022 | 88 min) – Doris Muñoz is the daughter of immigrants and a manager and advocate for LatinX music artists.
Annet Negesa from Category: Woman (D: Phyllis Ellis | P: Phyllis Ellis, Howard Fraiberg | Canada | 2022 | 80 min) – A Ugandan former record-breaking middle-distance runner whose career ended after the International Amateur Athletics Federation (now World Athletics) forced her to medically alter her healthy body.
Phyllis Jack-Webstad from Returning Home (D: Sean Stiller | P: Andrew Lovesey, Gilles Gagnier | Canada | 2021 | 72 min) – A Northern Secwepemc (Shuswap) author from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation (Canoe Creek Indian Band) and the creator of Orange Shirt Day. She is a First Nations residential school survivor.
Michelle Rempel Garner from Hunting in Packs (D: Chloe Sosa-Sims | P: Hannah Donegan, Ann Shin | Canada | 2022 | 80 min) – Michelle Rempel Garner is a Canadian politician who sits in the House of Commons as a member of Parliament for the Alberta riding of Calgary Nose Hill.
Julia Bruzzese from The Quiet Epidemic (D: Lindsay Keys, Winslow Crane-Murdoch | P: Daria Lombroso, Lindsay Keys, Chris Hegedus | USA | 2022 | 102 min) – Julia, who was diagnosed with Lyme disease and lost the ability to walk, is featured as a subject in The Quiet Epidemic.
Antonio Regalado and Ben Hurlbut from Make People Better (D: Cody Sheehy | P: Samira Kiani, Cody Sheehy, Mark Monroe | USA | 2022 | 83 min) – Antonio Regalado is the senior editor for biomedicine for MIT Technology Review and works on stories about the changes that tech has brought to medicine and biomedical research. J. Benjamin Hurlbut, PhD is an Associate Professor in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University and focuses on bioethics and the history of modern biomedical and life sciences.