This intimate documentary captures the great singer Maria Bethânia during a 60th birthday celebration in her hometown, Santo Amaro da Purificação—alongside family including brother Caetano Veloso—as well as an emotional performance in Salvador, Bahia.
Chad Walker and Dave LaMattina
Intimate interviews and never-before-seen home videos conjure up a beautiful, accomplished and surprisingly moving portrait of Caroll Spinney, who has performed as Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street for over 40 years.
“3.5/4 stars: thoroughly entertaining…a joy to watch.” Globe and Mail
“The triumphant tearjerker of this year’s Hot Docs film festival…speaks to the heart of a viewer and brings out the softie in everyone” POV Magazine
“One of the most emotionally effective performing arts docs that’s ever been made." Dork Shelf
Jeremy Kipp Walker
The hilarious (and possibly exaggerated) origin story of the real life alien bluegrass band, Future Folk. When a comet threatens to destroy their planet, the citizens of Hondo enlist their most decorated soldier, General Trius (Nils d’Aulaire), to search for a new home planet- and wipe out the current inhabitants with a flesh-eating virus. After landing somewhere near Brooklyn, General Trius wanders into a megastore to unleash the terror… when he’s enchanted by a strange and mystical human invention known as "music."
"Close encounters of the charming kind." Robert Koehler, Variety
"Delightful." LA Weekly
"Hilarious." San Francisco Chronicle
Nunavut means "Our Land". But does that include us? After decades of what might generously be described as benign neglect, Canada seems more invested in the north than ever (no prizes for guessing why). Documentarian John Walker (A Drummer’s Dream) traces the long, often fractious relationship between the Inuit and the rest of the country, marvels at the beauty and hardship of this place, and reflects on his own experiences, revisiting the arctic for the first time since the 60s.
The flipside to reckless extreme sports docs, the latest from Lucy Walker (Wasteland) follows snowboarder Kevin Pearce from his glory days, when he looked set to dethrone Shaun White from his perch at the Vancouver Olympics, through his long, painful rehabilitation after a devastating accident.
"By turns pulse-quickening and contemplative… Thorougly winning… A spectacular feat." Variety
"Lucy Walker has assembled one of the great sporting docs - partly because its scope extends beyond the slopes." Trevor Johnston, Time Out
"Captures a seesaw exhilaration between the thrill of pushing one’s limits and the pain of dreams cut short." Robert Abele, LA Times
Thai-English director Tom Waller takes on one of the popular Father Ananda mystery novels. Former cop Ananda is now a senior monk and is asked by the abbot to solve a murder inside his monastery because the police don’t want to get involved. Not everything in the monastery is what it should be…
Robert B Weide
Everything you always wanted to know about Woody… well, very nearly. This documentary traces the long and prolific life of a comedy genius, with relaxed commentary from Allen himself, his sister, and collaborators from every phase of his 50-years showbiz career.
"Not a film to be missed." Philip French, The Observer
Justin Weinstein and Tyler Measom
Renowned for outing psychics and faith-healers as frauds, James "The Amazing" Randi makes no bones about being a "liar, cheat and charlatan." But such honesty doesn’t necessarily mean he has nothing to hide. This fascinating film investigates the famed debunker’s own deceptions.
"Directors Justin Weinstein and Tyler Measom apply the same relentless scrutiny to their subject that Randi brings to bear on the phonies he exposes."—NOW Toronto
"(The filmmakers) turn a standard bio-doc about an extraordinary man into a rumination on the blurred line between trickery and truth."—Toronto Star
Writer-director Ti West (House of the Devil) assembles an indie-film all-star cast including fellow filmmakers Joe Swanberg, Kentucker Audley and Amy Seimetz for this chilling suspense story about cults and a crisis of conscience.
A newsteam trails a man as he travels to an undisclosed location to find his missing sister. Upon entering "Eden Parish" and meeting the community’s leader, it becomes apparent to the newcomers that this paradise may not be as it seems.
"Frightening in any genre language."—Guy Lodge, Variety
It’s the camping trip from hell! Produced by Edgar Wright, the latest from Down Terrace and Kill List director Ben Wheatley is another pitch black comedy on English manners and psychopathology, the missing link between Mike Leigh and Hammer Horror. Chris and Tina depart on what is supposed to be a romantic caravan trip (or "erotic odyssey" as Tina prefers to think of it). Alas, litterbugs, obnoxious hikers and condescending tourists interrupt their idyll at every turn, reminding us of Sartre’s famous truism, "hell is other people".
"This sardonic depiction of Britain, as a land where a thin veneer of strained politesse and fussy specificity of tastes masks a throbbing heart of darkness, makes for Ben Wheatley’s best film yet." Jesse Cataldo, Slant
"A black comic state of the nation address." Kim Newman, Empire
"Dark, gruesome, blithely amoral and thoroughly entertaining." Sheila O’Malley, RogerEbert.com
A behind-the-scenes look inside the case to overturn California’s ban on same-sex marriage. Shot over five years, the film follows the unlikely team that took the first federal marriage equality lawsuit to the U.S. Supreme Court.
"The stirring new documentary The Case Against 8, showcasing the lawyers and plaintiffs who challenged California’s 2008 gay marriage ban, is the best kind of popular history, a film that trembles with tears and hope, and I dare you to get through it without bawling some yourself."—Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice
“Cotner and White’s handling of a hugely divisive topic is masterful ... Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, The Case Against 8 is essential viewing.”—National Post
"The film fascinates in part because the legal team behind the couples—and the American Foundation for Equal Rights that supported them—included Republican stalwart Ted Olson and Democrat David Boies, who had squared off in the famous Bush vs. Gore case, the 2000 battle over whether there should be a recount in Florida. Here they’re warm and toasty together and passionately committed to a progressive cause.”—Now magazine
Freda Kelly was just a shy Liverpudlian teenager when she was asked to work for a local band hoping to make it big. Though she had no concept of how far they would go, Freda had faith in The Beatles from the beginning, and The Beatles had faith in her. A unique perspective on the greatest band in the history of pop.
"A satisfying and moving experience." Ernest Hardy, Village Voice
Last September Neil Young spoke for many when he likened Fort McMurray to Hiroshima, "a wasteland". Local inhabitants were outraged, and at least one radio station banned Young from its playlist. Vancouver filmmaker Charles Wilkinson (Peace Out) treads a middle-ground with Oil Sands Karaoke, a portrait of the tar sands capital which includes both sobering vistas of massive environmental upheaval and an affectionate, non-judgmental look at the folks who live and work there, mostly when they’re letting their hair down at Bailey’s karaoke bar.
"Surprisingly sensitive… poignant, and beautifully shot." Marsha Lederman, Globe & Mail
Summer war games between the neighbourhood kids turn deadly serious when jealousy and betrayal enter the mix, in this alternately hilarious and horrifying black comedy that mixes equal parts Lord of the Flies and Roald Dahl.
"Sharp, funny and edge-of-your-seat chilling, this darkly provocative actioner, starring a startlingly stellar all-kid ensemble cast, turns a neighbourhood woods game of Capture the Flag into a high-stakes round of no-holds-barred jungle warfare – with the rules about to be broken. The fantasy-tinged film nails the ferocious intensity of children’s games (the imaginary world feels real in the moment) while it plays with cinema conventions (coming-of-age stories, war tales, etc). An after-school special you won’t want to miss." 4 stars Globe & Mail
"I Declare War is everthing The Hunger Games attempts to be, but better - it says more with less, goes farther while staying smaller, and finds reality in a more fantastical scenario… A Lord Of The Flies for a new generation, I Declare War deserves to be seen by adults and needs to be seen by kids. We don’t often get action films of any kind that have this much to say, much less films that are this delicately balanced between mainstream appeal and realistic intensity. Smart, touching, and exciting, I Declare War is sure to be one of your favorites of this year or next." Renn Brown, CHUD
Described as nothing less than "miraculous", this low budget HK dance film became a box office sensation last summer and newcomer Cherry Ngan became an overnight star.
"A cracking spectacle that showcases some of Hong Kong’s best street dancers" The Hollywood Reporter
"The choreography shows flashes of genuine inventiveness that will impress even those unfamiliar with the street dance scene." Twitch
"After all these years, we have finally found the new hope for Hong Kong cinema." Shu Kei
The intense, remarkable life of the Chilean singer-songwriter Violeta Parra is explored with sensitivity and exquisite lightness of touch in Andrés Wood’s [drama]. Featuring a searching central performance from Francisca Gavilán, this beautifully lensed portrait moves elegantly back and forth in time to limn the life of a woman who perpetually struggled to find her place.—Variety. Winner, World Cinema Jury Prize: Dramatic, Sundance 2012.
Eternally opinionated, brilliantly funny and terminally political, Gore Vidal—novelist, essayist, polemicist, politician, pundit, screenwriter—was the true protean man. If nothing else, this acute, trenchant documentary reminds us just how much we’re missing in a cultural landscape from which the public intellectual has been banished without a trace.
"Immensely enjoyable… invigorating."—Ernest Hardy, Village Voice
"Nicholas Wrathall’s treasure-trove documentary does a terrific job of summing up the late political writer’s life and work."—Time Out New York