Event Category: Festival

The Accountant of Auschwitz

A man looking over his shoulder towards the camera

Oskar Gröning, known as the “Accountant of Auschwitz,” was charged with the murder of 300,000 Jews. When he took the stand in 2015, at the age of 94, his trial made headlines worldwide. The debate around his prosecution is at the centre of this historic yet contemporary look at justice. As survivors travel to Germany to testify, the heinous acts of the Holocaust remain vivid and traumatic. For some, there is no grey area: Gröning was witness and therefore complicit, regardless of his duty to follow orders. Others look at a frail man in the last years of his life and see no reason to pursue charges. Bringing war criminals to justice, with no statute of limitations, asks fundamental moral questions with few simple answers. From Nuremberg to the new alt-right, The Accountant of Auschwitz constructs a stark reminder that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. (Alexander Rogalski)

April 29, 5:45 PM (closed captioning)
TIFF Bell Lightbox, Reitman Square, 350 King Street West

April 30, 3:45 PM (closed captioning)
TIFF Bell Lightbox, Reitman Square, 350 King Street West

May 4, 9:0 PM (closed captioning)
Scotiabank Theatre, 259 Richmond Street West

For more information and tickets: The Accountant of Auschwitz at Hot Docs

United We Fan

A woman sitting in a science fiction T.V. or movie set

They call themselves fan activists, TV advocates and the defenders of democracy: They are the countless women and men who work to save their favourite TV series from cancellation. United We Fan introduces us to Bjo and John Trimble, two super-fans who spearheaded a letter-writing campaign in the 1960s to save Star Trek, and later successfully petitioned President Ford to name a NASA spaceship in honour of the Enterprise. In the present day, countless other TV crusaders have moved on to modern methods like Twitter, websites and crowd-funding to save the shows that give their lives meaning. We also meet some of the writers, producers and TV stars involved in shows like Star Trek, Veronica Mars and Designing Women. United We Fan is a fun and multifaceted look at dedicated fandom and all the sweat, blood and tears that go into it. (Aisha Jamal)

April 28, 5:30 PM (closed captioning)
Scotiabank Theatre, 259 Richmond Street West

April 30, 3:00 PM (closed captioning, ASL interpretation for introduction and Q&A)
Hart House Theatre, 7 Hart House Circle

May 3, 12:15 PM (closed captioning)
Hart House Theatre, 7 Hart House Circle

For more information and tickets: United We Fan at Hot Docs

United Skates

A woman doing a dance move low to the floor in roller skates

Roller rinks across America have provided the African American community with a safe space for family and tradition since before the civil rights movement. They’ve even been credited with the career breakthroughs of influential artists like Queen Latifah, N.W.A. and Dr. Dre. Every city’s rink scene has its own signature moves, Baltimore is home to Snapping, Detroit has Open House and in New York/New Jersey they skate in trains and trios. Despite the continued closures of these cultural landmarks, the community adopts a “have wheels, will travel” attitude, twisting and turning their way to national skate parties. Strap on your wheels and get ready be moved by the love and spirit of a community working to preserve their culture.

April 28, 9:00 PM (closed captioning)
Scotiabank Theatre, 259 Richmond Street West

April 30, 1:00 PM (closed captioning, ASL interpretation for introduction and Q&A)
TIFF Bell Lightbox, Reitman Square, 350 King Street West

May 4, 9:30 PM (open captioned, ASL interpretation for introduction and Q&A)
TIFF Bell Lightbox, Reitman Square, 350 King Street West

For more information and tickets: United Skates at Hot Docs

Transformer

A muscular powerlifter posing

Matt “Kroc” Kroczaleski was a world-record weightlifter with lucrative sponsorships. As a US Marine and bodybuilder, he was a poster boy for masculine body image. But in the summer of 2015, he was publicly outed as transgender—and quickly dropped by sponsors, banned from competing and renounced by his parents. Matt’s dual life came to an end as she made the decision to transition to Janae. Wearing makeup while pumping iron and looking for outfits that complement her muscular 250-pound frame, Janae is surrounded by her admiring sons and supportive friends. But it’s her emotional, rather than physical, transformation that’s truly the heart of this film. Her vulnerability is balanced by strength, her confidence tempered by concern for others. Her openness to documenting the sometimes painful process of letting go captures a timely story of finding acceptance for being who you are. (Alexander Rogalski)

April 27, 6:00 PM (closed captioning)

April 29, 12:30 PM (closed captioning)

May 3, 8:15 PM (closed captioning, ASL interpretation for introduction and Q&A)

For more information and tickets: Transformer at Hot Docs

This Mountain Life

Aerial view of snow-covered trees and a river

At once alluring and intimidating, the Coast Mountains have served as a muse for artists and explorers for centuries. The stories of unique individuals who have devoted their lives to British Columbia’s rugged terrain elevate Grant Baldwin’s film to the next level, while his breathtaking cinematography and brilliant aerial imagery capture the wonder and scale of this magnificent landscape that soars from sea to sky. A daughter and her 60-year-old mother’s arduous 2,300-kilometre trek to Alaska is the thread that binds these intimate portraits together. Moving from nail-biting to inspiring, the story of an avalanche disaster juxtaposed with the devoted residents of a remote monastery illuminates the humanity to be found amidst these geographic giants. As diverse as their backgrounds and motivations are, they are bound by a common passion. They can imagine no other place on Earth to call home. After being immersed in their lives, it’s difficult not to feel the same. (Alexander Rogalski)

April 30, 6:15 PM (closed captioning)
TIFF Bell Lightbox, Reitman Square, 350 King Street West

May 2, 3:30 PM (closed captioning)
Isabel Bader Theatre, 93 Charles Street West

May 4, 11:45 AM (closed captioning, ASL interpretation for introduction and Q&A)
Scotiabank Theatre, 259 Richmond Street West

For more information and tickets: This Mountain Life at Hot Docs

Take Light

A crowd of people with a man in the foreground pointing to the right

Over 50 per cent of Nigeria’s nearly 200 million citizens don’t have access to electricity. For Africa’s largest energy producer and most populous nation, that number is shocking. Those dependent on the unreliable grid are limited to a few hours of power a day at best. Taking matters into their own hands, many households illegally and dangerously wire their homes by tampering with transformers. While a bungling bureaucracy attempts to privatize the electrical system, an electrician risks his life on power poles, trying to provide for his daughter’s education. His colleague in customer service has the more difficult task of going door to door collecting fees from disgruntled customers. The problems are complex and systemic, but director Shasha Nakhai delicately balances the big picture of a country trying to advance its development with the compelling stories of blue-collar workers attempting to make better lives for their families. (Alexander Rogalski)

April 27, 6:45 PM (closed captioning)
Hart House Theatre, 7 Hart House Circle

May 1, 3:15 PM (closed captioning)
Scotiabank Theatre, 259 Richmond Street West

May 3, 6:30 PM (closed captioning)
Scotiabank Theatre, 259 Richmond Street West

For more information and tickets: Take Light at Hot Docs

Slut or Nut: The Diary of a Rape Trial

Illustration of a face with a zippered tongue and the words Don't Tell Me What to Say

Dubbed “the face of rape on campus” by the Canadian media, former York University student Mandi Gray is forced to grapple with a university administration, legal system and police force unwilling to take seriously her report of rape by a fellow PhD student. Frustrated by a system stacked against her, Gray turns to activism to advocate for herself and other women like her. Both heart-wrenching and inspirational, the film tracks her ups and downs through the court case against her accused rapist Mustafa Ururyar and unrelenting online harassment by men’s rights groups. Slut or Nut‘s punk aesthetic and raw feel offers us intimate insight into Gray’s personal and emotional struggles during this difficult time. What emerges is an infuriating picture of Canada’s deeply embedded rape culture. (Aisha Jamal)

May 2, 9:00 PM (closed captioning)
Isabel Bader Theatre, 93 Charles Street West

May 3, 8:45 PM (closed captioning, ASL interpretation for introduction and Q&A)
Scotiabank Theatre, 259 Richmond Street West

May 4, 6:45 PM (closed captioning)
TIFF Bell Lightbox, Reitman Square, 350 King Street West

For more information and tickets: Slut or Nut: The Diary of a Rape Trial at Hot Docs

The Silver Branch

A flat landscape at sunset

Patrick McCormack is an Irish farmer/poet. As a descendant of the generations of farmers who have lived off the wild landscape of the Burren in County Clare, his life is deeply intertwined with the land and his rural community. In this cinematically beautiful, uplifting and emotional celebration of people, place and the natural world, director Katrina Costello spent five years capturing this corner of the world and the fateful turn of events that threatened its future. Patrick and his rural community are drawn into a divisive battle with the government, which wants to turn the area into a tourist mecca, thus destroying this sacred and fragile landscape. The Silver Branch is a bittersweet end-of-era evocation and a story of one man’s battle to preserve his ancestral home. Though it is centred around this remarkable man and his search for “unity of being,” it explores more universal themes: the relationship between man and landscape, between tradition and spirit, between body and soul. (Heather Haynes)

May 1, 5:30 PM (closed captioning, ASL interpretation for introduction and Q&A)
TIFF Bell Lightbox, Reitman Square, 350 King Street West

May 3, 1:00 PM (closed captioning)
TIFF Bell Lightbox, Reitman Square, 350 King Street West

May 6, 5:30 PM (closed captioning)
Scotiabank Theatre, 259 Richmond Street West

For more information and tickets: The Silver Branch at Hot Docs

Shirkers

Woman wearing glasses and a camera around her neck, lying in the grass

An inspired labor of love for zine-making teens Sandi Tan, Jasmine Ng and Sophie Siddique, Shirkers was a Singapore-made 1992 cult classic—or it would have been, had the 16mm footage not been stolen by their enigmatic American collaborator Georges Cardona, who disappeared. More than two decades later, Tan, now a novelist in L.A., returns to the country of her youth and to the memories of a man who both enabled and thwarted her dreams. Magically, too, she returns to the film itself, revived in a way she never could have imagined.

April 27, 9:15 PM (closed captioning, ASL interpretation for introduction and Q&A)
TIFF Bell Lightbox, Reitman Square, 350 King Street West

April 28, 3:45 PM (closed captioning)
TIFF Bell Lightbox, Reitman Square, 350 King Street West

May 5, 2:45 PM (closed captioning)
Scotiabank Theatre, 259 Richmond Street West

For more information and tickets: Shirkers at Hot Docs

Roll Red Roll

A crowd of protesters wearing masks

Small towns love their high school football and will go to great lengths to protect the players they place on such high pedestals. Steubenville, Ohio, is no different. When a teenage girl is sexually assaulted at a pre-season football party in 2012, the town goes silent. In a case that garnered national attention, it took amateur crime blogger Alex Goddard’s uncovering of disturbing evidence on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to spark a more thorough investigation, resulting in a wave of threats and cyberbullying directed at Goddard and, eventually, the conviction of two key offenders. With extensive access to archival footage, police interrogations and interviews with local townspeople, this turbulent documentary explores the complex motivations of both perpetrators and bystanders, unearthing the attitudes at the core of their behaviour and making a powerful statement on how deeply rooted rape culture can be. (Heather Haynes)

April 30, 6:45 PM (closed captioning)
Hart House Theatre, 7 Hart House Circle

May 2, 1:00 PM (closed captioning, ASL interpretation for introduction and Q&A)
Scotiabank Theatre, 259 Richmond Street West

May 6, 3:15 PM (closed captioning)
Hart House Theatre, 7 Hart House Circle

For more information and tickets: Roll Red Roll at Hot Docs