Over the last 11 days, North America’s largest documentary film festival and doc conference, Toronto’s beloved Hot Docs, hosted 452 public screenings of 210 films on 17 screens throughout the city. Today they announced that directors Michael Beach Nichols and Christopher K. Walker were awarded the 2015 Filmmaker-to-Filmmaker Award for their Sundance preemed white supremacist portrait WELCOME TO LEITH, while the Phillip Baribeau’s UNBRANDED took home this year’s Audience Award. Reflecting on the offerings of this year’s Hot Docs, Indiewire’s Anthony Kaufman wrote a piece explaining exactly what makes Hot Docs such a spotlight for under-appreciated films, as well as an outline of his favorite eight discoveries from the festival. At Doc Soup, Tom Roston also wrote up his discoveries of the past week – both writers making note of Kristof Bilsen’s THE ELEPHANT’S DREAM and Andreas Koefoed’s THE ARMS DROP.
While the public and much of the press take in as many films as is humanly possible in the 11 day stretch (I think the most I’ve manage to see is 45?!), hundreds of people in the industry descend upon the famed Hot Docs Forum to watch filmmakers pitch their projects in hopes of securing funds for production. Extending his coverage of Hot Docs, Anthony Kaufman wrote up a feature on his top eight pitches from the forum as well as tips for first time filmmakers at Indiewire, while Realscreen’s Manori Ravindran covered the forum over the course of three days – the highlight possibly being doc legend Frederick Wiseman’s first ever pitch for his new film IN JACKSON HEIGHTS, which, from the sounds of it was more like public performance than pleading pitch. While Wiseman was there in hopes of funding, he was also on hand to take part in a live discussion along with his long-time producer and distributor Karen Konicek and CBC journalist Piya Chattopadhyay. Kevin Ritchie recounted the various lessons learned from the live chat over at Realscreen.
Back in 2012, we here at Stranger Than Fiction showed Andrew Berend’s DELTA BOYS. So, we are extremely pleased to welcome back Berend with his latest film MADINA’S DREAM, which tells the story of rebels and refugees fighting to survive in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains and will screen tomorrow at 8pm at the IFC Center as part of our Spring Season of Stranger Than Fiction. Berends will be on hand for a post-screening Q&A. Ticketing information and more details on the screening can be found at the link.