Hot Docs

Hot Docs Review: Handle with Care:The Legend of the Notic Streetball Crew (Jeremy Schaulin-Rioux, Kirk Thomas, 2021)

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The rise of basketball in Canada stemmed from a confluence of events in the mid to late ’90s. I always thought it was purely due to the introduction of two NBA teams in the form of the Raptors and the Grizzlies but what this document introduces is a 3rd group that had substantial influence in the culture as well

The Notic was a Vancouver-based streetball crew whose creativity in style helped to lay the seed for a streetball culture not only in Vancouver but worldwide

Handle with Care: The Legend of the Notic Streetball Crew follows their rise and fall as a group, highlighting the different cultural conditions that led to the group’s formation. It’s an interesting origin story and shows a side of Vancouver you don’t often see

For me it was a great trip down memory lane as there were heavy callbacks to the AND1 mixtape culture that was burgeoning in the early 2000s. As someone who played basketball at the Y in Burnaby back in 2000-2001, it also brought back some nostalgia

Obviously with any documentary, there are conflicts and resolutions throughout the Notics journey which I won’t spoil but beyond basketball, it’s a story about triumphs, redemption and just going with it when you get that chance. An enjoyable time

Hot Docs Review: Corrupted (Juan Cifuentes Mera, 2022)

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Not quite a documentary is the strictest sense, Corrupted is based on the real life experiences of a number of psychiatric patients with the effects of electroshock therapy and the resulting memory loss.

The unnamed protagonist of this short film is an amalgam of several of these patients whose sad story unfolds through voiceovers as she comes to terms with the fact that there are things in her life she’ll never remember. She sometimes wakes up not knowing where she is or what time it is. She often feels lonely and detached from her life, and she struggles to recall events from her childhood. Pictures with the faces blacked out and images onscreen becoming semi-pixellated make for effective visual metaphors, illustrating what this must feel like for her.

Memory is a precious thing. In some cases it can also be a tenuous and all too fragile thing. Corrupted is a brief yet poignant portrait of what can happen when one’s memories become just that – corrupted.

Hot Docs Review: Meeting Point (Roberto Baeza, 2022)

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The past never really goes away.

Our pasts shape who we are and can often have an impact on our present day. In the case of Alfredo García and Paulina Costa, the pasts that they must confront in Meeting Point are those of their fathers, both of whom were taken prisoner by Pinochet’s forces in the 1970s. Costa’s father Lucho eventually returned, but Garcia’s father Alfredo Sr, who disappeared when García was only 18 days old, never did.

Now, 45 years later, Garcia and Costa take it upon themselves to investigate and deal with what happened back then through the making of a film which will recreate their fathers’ stories using actors. Through the making of this film within a film, we see Garcia and Costa as they try and reconstruct pieces of their shared family history in the hopes of building a bridge between the past and the present.

While the duo are delving into their fathers’ revolutionary past, we see Chile again enveloped in waves of protest against social inequity under the rule of then-president Sebastián Piñera, thus making the connection between past and present even more explicit. As Costa notes at one point, “Eventually everything happens again. This is happening just as we look back, trying to understand the past, and suddenly, this is in your face.”

Meeting Point is a rather effective and affecting documentary, with director Roberto Baeza drawing the audience in as we follow García and Costa on their journey through the past.

Hot Docs Review: Dio:Dreamers Never Die (Demian Fenton and Don Argott, 2021)

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Ronnie James Dio was one of the greatest metal vocalists of all time. Small in stature, but a larger than life figure with a huge voice to match, Dio was a consummate performer who was loved and respected by fans and contemporaries alike. Dio:Dreamers Never Die tells the story of his life and career through archival footage and plenty of interviews from the likes of Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi, Sebastian Bach, Danny Lilker, Lita Ford, Vinny Appice and Dio’s widow Wendy.

Starting with his early days playing in pre-Beatles rock bands like The Redcaps and The Prophets and following through to his big breakthrough with Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Dio and Heaven and Hell, the film makes a case for Ronnie’s place in history while also emphasizing what a kind and positive man he was.

Dio:Dreamers Never Die is a must see for fans and a solid introduction to a metal legend for newcomers.