Monday, April 26, 2010

Film subjects attend Hot Docs screenings

One of the delights of attending a film festival is the opportunity to see the people behind the movie. At many screenings, one or more representatives from the film will attend and possibly introduce the film, interact with the audience in a post-screening Question & Answer period, or both. Usually it's the director who is present, but sometimes it can be a producer, actor or any key personnel from the film. With documentary films, often the real-life subject(s) of the film will attend. 

For the upcoming Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival, a good number of the film subjects will be guests at their respective screenings. Hot Docs has released a list of the guest subjects who are featured in films at this year’s upcoming Festival which starts this coming Thursday. The first guest subjects presented will be from one of the two opening night films, RUSH: Beyond the Lighted Stage (D: Scot McFadyen, Sam Dunn, 106 min). Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of Rush will attend the film's Canadian premiere at the Winter Garden Theatre on Hot Docs' opening night, Thursday, April 29. Filmmakers Scot McFadyen and Sam Dunn will also attend the screening of their film.

Additional guests are listed below. In most cases, the guests will be present at one or more of their film's screenings.

  • Mark Siegel from Bhutto (D: Duane Baughman, Johnny O'Hara | USA | 115 min) – Biographer and confidant of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, whose remarkable life and last days are exquisitely unravelled in this epic biographic documentary.  
  • David Klein from Candyman: The David Klein Story (D: Costa Botes | New Zealand | 76 min) – When Jelly Belly released the official history of the candy, the name of its inventor, David Klein, is nowhere to be found.
  • Michael Louis Johnson from A Different Path D: Monteith McCollum | USA | 96 min) – A Toronto cycling activist who throws a block party in the film to challenge car culture and take back the streets for pedestrians, cyclists, and wheelchairs.
  • Ash, Jane, Pam and Rosie from Dish: Women, Waitressing & the Art of Service (D: Maya Gallus | Canada | 70 min) – From Toronto's downtown diners to Montreal's "sexy restos", and from Paris' haute eateries to Tokyo's fantasy "maid bars", waitresses dish the dirt, offering up an insider's look at gender, power and the art of service.
  • Dennis Chambers, Raul Rekow, and Nasyr Abdul-Al-Khabyyr from A Drummer’s Dream D: John Walker | Canada | 84 min) – World-renowned master drummers, including Dennis Chambers and Raul Rekow of Santana, blow the roof off a barn in Ontario's remote cottage country when they gather to teach at Nasyr Abdul-Al-Khabyyr's drumming camp and end up delivering performances that lift the spirit with pure joy and exhilaration.
  • Alan Parrot from Feathered Cocaine (D: Thorkell Hardarsson, Orn Marino Arnarson | Iceland | 80 min) – Falconer Alan Parrot enters a whirlpool of international intrigue and obsession when he takes on the smuggler market for coveted birds of prey.
  • Dr. Yoshiro NakaMats from The Invention of Dr. Nakamats (D: Kaspar Astrup Schröder | Denmark | 59 min) – At a mere 81, Ig Nobel-winning inventor Dr. NakaMats fully intends to live to the age of 144. Holding 3,300 patents for everything from floppy disks to aphrodisiacs, the quirky Japanese icon delightfully champions the limitlessness of imagination and innovation.
  • "Hana" and "Alina" from In The Name Of The Family (D: Shelley Saywell | Canada | 90 min) – These young girls' heartbreaking stories expose the patriarchal beliefs used to justify violence against women in this powerful and sensitive investigation into the killing of young girls in the name of family honour in North America.
  • Marjorie Silver from The Kids Grow Up (D: Doug Block | USA | 90 min) – Wife of filmmaker Doug Block and mother of Lucy, who is leaving home for college in this tender, funny, and endearing exploration of the complexities of modern-day parenting and the hardship of letting go.
  • Maclen Zilber from Leave Them Laughing (D: John Zaritsky | Canada, USA | 89 min) – The son of Carla Zilbersmith, a mother, performer, and darkly funny smart-ass whose life is being taken by Lou Gehrig's disease.
  • Teachers Carl Merenick, Brandon Merenick, Thompson Egbo-Egbo, Stokes and students from Listen to This (D: Juan Baquero | Canada | 76 min) – Teachers help three special kids blossom through a music program at an inner-city Toronto elementary school in this inspiring doc about what it means to be truly heard.
  • Brian Switzer and Lisa Switzer from Made In India (D: Rebecca Haimowitz, Vaishali Sinha | USA | 96 min) – After seven failed years of expensive U.S. treatments, Lisa and Brian Switzer desperately outsource their pregnancy to India's burgeoning surrogate market in this gripping look at the ethical and economic price of their parenthood.
  • Baba Dez from Sex Magic, Manifesting Maya (D: Jonathan Schell, Eric Leibman | USA | 77 min) – A prominent, sacred sex-healer, Baba Dez tries to win back the woman of his dreams through the power of Sex Magic; merging his sexual energy with that of his many lovers.
  • Namrata Gill from Namrata (D: Shazia Javed | Canada | 9 min) - Namrata Gill wraps herself in her wedding sari, bringing emotions to the surface with her honest testimonial describing six years in an abusive relationship. Gill’s voice and courage resonate with self-determination, providing hope to those in similar circumstances.
  • Chris Mburu from A Small Act (D: Jennifer Arnold | USA | 88 min) – As a young Kenyan, Chris Mburu had his education sponsored by a stranger from Sweden. Now a Harvard-educated lawyer, he founds a scholarship to pay it forward, but discovers a failing school system that's leaving its children behind.
  • Josh Dolgin from The "Socalled" Movie (D: Garry Beitel | Canada | 90 min) – If Woody Allen and Lil Wayne had a love child it would be Josh Dolgin, a.k.a. Socalled, an unstoppable gay musician, magician, songwriter, visual artist, and filmmaker.
  • Gordon Hempton from Soundtracker (D: Nicholas Sherman | USA | 88 min) – A sound recordist who's spent thirty years finding and recording the vanishing sounds of nature, Gordon Hempton embarks on a fascinating "soundtracking trip" into the wilderness seeking out uncompromised expression.
  • Pete Czerwinski from The Story of Furious Pete (D: George Tsioutsioulas | Canada | 85 min) – Pete was recovering from anorexia when a friend dared him to eat a super-sized breakfast. He rose to the challenge and ate four. Now, he's a YouTube sensation as a world champion competitive eater.
  • Sebastio Carlos "Tiao" Dos Santos from Waste Land (D: Lucy Walker | UK, Brazil | 99 min) – A picker of recyclable materials in Brazil's Jardim Gramacho, "Tiao" works with artist Vik Muniz in the world's largest landfill site.
  • Barbara Smith Conrad from When I Rise (D: Mat Hames | USA | 74 min) – Barbara Smith Conrad, a gifted African-American singer, finds herself at the centre of a radical controversy at the University of Texas. Against the odds, she emerges as one of the world's most respected opera singers.
For more information on the films, please visit

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