TORONTO — The Hot Docs festival hasn’t set a new date for this year’s postponed event but it’s unveiled the full lineup nonetheless, including an environmental film featuring ”Property Brothers” star Jonathan Scott and a look at the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong.
A month ago organizers postponed the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, which was scheduled to kick off April 30 in Toronto, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hot Docs says it’s still is looking at ways to bring the entire 2020 festival lineup to Toronto audiences with public screenings.
In the meantime, a sample of the films in this year’s lineup will make their debut for free through the CBC, starting this Thursday with Canadian director Barry Avrich’s “Made You Look: A True Story About Fake Art.”
There are no public screening details for the remainder of the Hot Docs lineup, which was announced on Tuesday.
Organizers said they wanted to reveal the entire 2020 selection, despite not having screening options for all, in order to help filmmakers further sales and marketing opportunities. Content buyers can also access films through its newly created online industry market, The Doc Shop.
The digital market includes virtual pitch meetings and offers distributors, sales agents and programmers access to curated playlists of documentary titles.
Films announced Tuesday include “Power Trip,” which follows Scott across the United States as the celebrity real-estate expert “advocates for renewable solar energy solutions and exposes the politics protecting fossil fuels.”
The Vancouver-born Scott directed the Canadian/American co-production, along with co-director Edward Osei-Gyimah.
And in “Hong Kong Moments,” directed by Bing Zhou, cameras capture pro-democracy activists and armed police battling in the city’s streets.
A total of 226 docs and 12 interdisciplinary projects from 63 countries are on the docket.
“The official selection is being announced at this time to honour and celebrate the hard work of the filmmakers and to support them as they seek opportunities in these difficult times,” Hot Docs said in a statement Tuesday.
Other newly announced titles include Lulu Wei’s “There’s No Place Like This Place, Anyplace,” which examines Toronto’s gentrification through immigrant stories affected by the closure of discount store Honest Ed’s.
“Borealis” by Kevin McMahon looks at Canada’s boreal forest and people’s relationships with it.
International Hot Docs films include Yoruba Richen’s “The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts the Tonight Show,” about the time the legendary Jamaican-American performer took over for talk-show host Johnny Carson.
“Larry Flynt for President” from director Nadia Szold looks at the Hustler magazine publisher’s polarizing 1990s U.S. presidential run.
“Dark City Beneath the Beat,” directed by singer-rapper-producer Tt The Artist and co-produced by actor Issa Rae, looks at Baltimore’s club music and dance scene.
In “Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist” by Alexandre O. Philippe, the Oscar-winning director explains the genesis of his 1973 horror film.
And the Sundance award winner “Feels Good Man” by Arthur Jones looks at how an innocently created meme of the comic character Pepe the Frog became a symbol of the alt-right.
The full lineup is online:
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 14, 2020.
Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press