Hot Docs has announced the lineup for their Special Presentations program. Nine of 26 films are directed or co-directed by women, amounting to about 35 percent of the high-profile slate. According to a press release from the Toronto fest, Special Presentations include “world and international premieres, award winners from the recent international festival circuit, and works by master filmmakers or featuring some star subjects.”Catherine Bainbridge
and Alfonso Maiorana
’s Sundance winner “Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World” is among the titles screening. The doc centers on the contributions Indigenous musicians have made to popular music. “Some of the greatest rock stars in the world know about the influence of these incredible Indigenous musicians but the rest of us do not,” Bainbridge told us.Amanda Lipitz
,” another Sundance favorite, follows three senior girls and the rest of their Baltimore-based dance team as they make their way through the overwhelming, complicated, and emotional college application process. Fox Searchlight reportedly shelled out more than $4 million for “Step
,” and secured the remake rights to the story, so a narrative version of the inspiring doc may be on the way.
Other films in the Special Presentations program include Kate Brooks
’ “The Last Animals
,” an animal-rights thriller chronicling the efforts of conservationists, scientists, and activists to protect elephants and rhinos from extinction, and Erin Lee Carr
’s “Mommy Dead and Dearest,” a disturbing mystery about a girl accused of murdering her mother. “Gypsy, our main subject, was forced to live in a little house with no access to real friends or education, so she taught herself about the world through the internet. It had fascinating and yet very dangerous consequences,” Carr revealed in an interview with us.
Hot Docs runs from April 27 to May 7. Check out the women-directed and co-directed Special Presentations below. List adapted from Hot Docs.
Becoming Who I Was
D: Chang-Yong Moon, Jin Jeon | South Korea | 2016 | 96 min | North American Premiere
An impoverished young boy discovers he’s the reincarnation of an esteemed, high-ranking Tibetan monk. Displaced from his past self’s monastery and denied the privilege of that position, he struggles with his identity amid growing doubts.The Departure
D: Lana Wilson
| USA | 2017 | 86 min | International Premiere
A Japanese punk rocker assumes a new role as a Buddhist priest, helping suicidal people find hope in the depths of their despair. But his wholehearted dedication to their suffering starts to erode his own well-being.In Loco Parentis
D: Neasa Ni Chianain, David Rane
| Ireland, Spain | 2016 | 99 min | Canadian Premiere
A heartfelt look at the lives of two soon-to-be-retired educators — and married couple of almost 50 years — whose passion and idiosyncratic teaching styles inspire and challenge the young students of Ireland’s last primary-age boarding school.The Last Animals
D: Kate Brooks
| USA, UK | 2017 | 85 min | International Premiere
From Africa’s frontlines to Asian markets to European zoos, this animal-rights thriller follows the conservationists, scientists and activists battling poachers and transnational trafficking syndicates to protect the last of the world’s elephants and rhinos from extinction.Mommy Dead And Dearest
D: Erin Lee Carr
| USA | 2017 | 82 min | International Premiere
After an ailing, wheelchair-bound girl goes missing and her devoted mother is found dead in their home, dark family secrets are revealed as the girl becomes the prime suspect in her grisly murder.Playing God
D: Karin Jurschick
| Germany, Netherlands | 2017 | 95 min | World Premiere
Witness firsthand the struggle of the charismatic and controversial Us attorney who, since 9/11, has been charged with the impossible task of assigning a dollar value to life when compensating victims of America’s most tragic events.
D: Matthias Heeder
, Monika Hielscher
| Germany | 2017 | 90 min | World Premiere
Science fiction turns into disturbing fact as forecasting software, algorithms and databases quickly become the new fortune-tellers for future crimes, driving us to ask: how much are we willing to abandon for the sake of security?Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World
D: Catherine Bainbridge
, Alfonso Maiorana
| Canada | 2017 | 103 min | Canadian Premiere
The sound of rock ’n’ roll was forever changed by Link Wray
’s distorted guitar. Decades later, his legacy — and that of other Native Americans who shaped popular music — is given overdue recognition in this Sundance award winner. The film also features executive producer and guitarist Stevie Salas
, who has put together a group of music royalty to discuss the influence of Indigenous music on rock and roll.Step
D: Amanda Lipitz
| USA | 2016 | 83 min | International Premiere
Meet the fierce and inspiring “Lethal Ladies” of the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women, a dynamic step dance team battling the odds to make it to the championship and become the first in their families to go to college.
Hot Docs Special Presentations Lineup: Dance Teams, Indigenous Musicians, & Animal Rights Activists was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.