Hot Docs

Hot Docs Preview: Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind (Joan Tosoni, Martha Kehoe, 2018)

Posted on by Paul in Hot Docs | Leave a comment


From his beginnings in the 1960s Yorkville scene through his rise to success and up to the present day, there’s no denying that Gordon Lightfoot is an absolute legend of Canadian music. Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could read My Mind takes a look at that legend, examining the life and career of Lightfoot through all of its ups and downs.

Through a mix of archival footage and extensive interviews with Lightfoot himself as well as many other contemporaries and admirers (including Ian and Sylvia,The Good Brothers, Murray McLachlan, Randy Bachman, Ronnie Hawkins, Sarah McLachlan, Steve Earle and um, Alec Baldwin … yeah, I don’t get that last one either), directors Joan Tosoni and Martha Kehoe delve into Lightfoot’s history and influence.

However, the filmmakers don’t shy away from looking at some of Lightfoot’s darker moments as well, presenting an interesting portrait of the man that will appeal to fans as well as those looking to learn a bit more about an icon of Canadian music.

Sat, Apr 27, 6:45 PM at TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
Tue, Apr 30, 6:30 PM Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema

Hot Docs Preview: The Wandering Chef [Hye-Ryeong Park, 2018]

Posted on by Ricky in Hot Docs | Leave a comment


The Wandering Chef is a slow moving yet moving documentary that explores a famous chef and a friend he happens to have met while wandering the countryside.

Yim Gi-Ho is a famous Korean chef who focuses on making something out of nothing. Throughout the film, you will find him picking ragged weeds and plants from a practically barren countryside and making seemingly Michelin star quality food out of it. However, this film is more than that, as it explores a relationship that Yim develops with an elderly lady that was built on the foundation of a communal meal.

The film looks at what food means to people and the bonds that can be derived from it. Foodies will love watching the chef forage and ultimately make tasty meals out of seemingly nothing but the core of the film explores the relationships of people through food.

Wed, May 1 | 6:30 PM Hart House Theatre
Thu, May 2 | 3:00 PM Scotiabank Theatre 3
Fri, May 3 | 9:30 PM Isabel Bader Theatre

Find out more about the film here

Hot Docs Preview: The Pickup Game [Matthew O’ Connor, Barnaby O’ Connor, 2019]

Posted on by Ricky in Hot Docs | Leave a comment


A documentary that will surely infuriate, The Pickup Game is a film that exposes the pickup artist industry. The film digs into the origin, the mythology and what the industry is like today. I’m surprised that the film actually included a lot of testimonials and footage provided by the pickup artist themselves. My roommate watched the screener with me and recognized the pickup tactics a few days later when someone approached her and tried them on her, so it’s also informative in a weird way.

Normally this type of film would only explore the one obvious angle, but the directors also took it in several unexpected directions that helped to add additional dimensions to the world of pick up artists. Definitely recommended.

Tue, Apr 30 | 8:45 PM TIFF Bell Lightbox
Wed, May 1 | 10:15 AM TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
Sat, May 4 | 3:15 PM Isabel Bader Theatre

Additional information here

Hot Docs Review: Pick of the Litter [Don Hardy Jr., Dana Nachman, 2018]

Posted on by Gary in Hot Docs | Leave a comment

Pick of the Litter

Put down your smartphone, and spend an hour outdoors. You’ll likely start to notice how modern Homo sapiens are increasingly useless without a plethora of gadgetry to keep track of the minutiae of daily life. What happens if those gadgets now have minds of their own? Do you keep running try-outs until you find the match-made-in-heaven? Will yours be called “Jarvis” like millions other?

Of course I may be talking about artificial intelligence … but not just yet. Man’s best friend is our most ancient, living breathing smart gadget. Pick of the Litter follows 5 puppies born in the same litter as they move up through our world, blissfully unaware of their destiny as faithful companions lounging on a sofa all day, working dogs in many other duties, or guide dogs. The non-profit organization Guide Dogs for the Blind breeds, selects and ultimately pairs vision-impaired folks with trained dogs to give them some semblance of normality and mobility. Keeping themselves and their handlers alive being of the utmost importance, guide dogs need to display a certain aptitude, and hence genetic disposition, proper upbringing, and focused training are all necessary components that must be put together properly.

This is a straightforward and delightful documentary. The dogs are the stars here, of course. Details of their training are bizarre yet irresistible. For example, running a sedan directly into the trainer/dog at crosswalks would not have been my idea of experiential exposure – but that is exactly the type of behind the scenes info one wants. And of course, watching the dogs grow and their personalities blossom is immensely interesting. Those faces the dogs make as they (pretend to) ignore cookies placed in front of their snout are quite hilarious to witness. Having never had any pets, however, I don’t think I can fully understand how volunteers could be excited about the prospect of raising/socializing a puppy to train-able age, only to cut loose months later. It sounds more than anything like a recipe for heartbreak. It is also baffling to see that, like parents of pre-med students, some volunteers even attach a level of pride and self-worth to whether the puppy they helped raise becomes guide dog. Puerile egotism aside, Pick of the Litter is an easy film to recommend to kids of all ages – and all for a noble cause.

Fri, May 4, 1:00 PM @ Isabel Bader Theatre
Sun, May 6, 3:15 PM @ TIFF Bell Lightbox 1

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