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Scotland, Denmark

The Best of Hot Docs


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A film about the thin space between life and death, this is the story of Neil Platt, whose perfectly ordinary, very happy existence was turned upside down when he developed ALS. Within one year Neil became paralysed from the neck down. As his body failed, he tried to make sense of his life and communicate in a letter meant for his one-year-old son.

"Among the year’s most moving films." Neil Young, Hollywood Reporter

"Alternately heartbreaking and disarmingly sardonic." Basil Tsiokos, Indiewire

Denmark, Indonesia

Vancity Theatre Screening

Probably the most radical and powerful film you will experience this year, The Act of Killing is a searing expose of political amnesia and impunity in Indonesia, where the gangsters and thugs behind the murders of millions are celebrated as champions of free enterprise. It is also a surreal, provocative exploration of the psyches of these men - killers who proudly re-enact their atrocities for the camera, willing collaborators in their own cinematic bonfire of the vanities.

"I have not seen a film as surreal, and frightening in at least a decade… Unprecedented in the history of cinema." Werner Herzog

Vancity Theatre Screening

Probably the most radical and powerful film you will experience this year, The Act of Killing is a searing expose of political amnesia and impunity in Indonesia, where the gangsters and thugs behind the murders of millions are celebrated as champions of free enterprise. It is also a surreal, provocative exploration of the psyches of these men - killers who proudly re-enact their atrocities for the camera, willing collaborators in their own cinematic bonfire of the vanities.

Vancity Theatre Screening

Probably the most radical and powerful film you will experience this year, The Act of Killing is a searing expose of political amnesia and impunity in Indonesia, where the gangsters and thugs behind the murders of millions are celebrated as champions of free enterprise. It is also a surreal, provocative exploration of the psyches of these men - killers who proudly re-enact their atrocities for the camera, willing collaborators in their own cinematic bonfire of the vanities.

Denmark

Vancity Theatre Screening

Can you rewire the brain, just by taking a breath? In 1992 Professor Richard Davidson, one of the world’s leading neuroscientists, met the Dalai Lama, who encouraged him to apply the same rigorous methods he used to study depression and anxiety to the study of compassion and kindness, those qualities cultivated by Tibetan meditation practice. The results of Davidson’s studies are portrayed in Free the Mind as they are applied to treating PTSD in returning Iraqi vets and children with ADHD. The film poses two fundamental questions: What really is consciousness, and how does it manifest in the brain and body? And is it possible to physically change the brain solely through mental practices?

"Grips your heart from the first moment." Film Comment

"By the end of this documentary, you’ll feel like a kid again, filled with wonder and questions about humanity and yourself." Marco Chown Oved, Toronto Star

"There is something healing about simply watching Free the Mind." Gary Goldstein, LA Times

(Kapringen)
Vancity Theatre Screening

The writer of VIFF-favourite The Hunt fashions a lean, taut, morally ambiguous Scandinavian thriller out of the facts of the hijacking of a Danish-owned cargo boat by Somali pirates (the very incident captured in the documentary Stolen Seas).

96% Fresh Rotten Tomatoes

"No mainstream American thriller could ever be made about this subject that resisted simple-minded narrative clichés the way "A Hijacking" does, or that refused to depict its characters as either heroes or villains." Andrew O’Hehir, Salon

"A nail-biter of a thriller." Geoff Pevere, Globe & Mail

Sweden, Denmark

Witches

Vancouver’s Funerary Call performs a new, specially commissioned live score for this mind-blowing 1922 cult classic. Grave robbing, torture, possessed nuns and a satanic Sabbath are just a few of the ingredients that make up Benjamin Christensen’s witches’ brew of superstition, sorcery, surrealism and enlightenment.

"A unique film for its boldness in dealing with its taboo subject, for its amazing visual inventiveness, and also for its complex structure." Fernando Martin Pena, Defining Moments in Movies

"A truly unique work that still holds the power to unnerve even in today’s jaded era." Jyotsna Kapur, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

"An amazing experience. The film is overflowing with dark fairytale imagery, incredible makeup effects (especially Christensen himself in the role of a leering Lucifer) and shocking portrayals of torture that still make viewers cringe over 90 years later." Gregory Burkart, Fearnet.com