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Thread: HotDocs 2011

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    by the Humber

    Default HotDocs 2011

    We have been a lot quieter around here this year about HotDocs. After nearly daily updates last year, we have been very pressed for time this year: there's a lot going on behind the scenes at UrbanToronto which you learn more about soon. At the same time, HotDocs 2011 has far fewer films that are specifically urban-issue or architecturally themed than last year, and there is nearly nothing playing about Toronto itself.

    That is not to say that there are not a great number of excellent films at HotDocs this year, or that UrbanToronto members would only be interested in films about urban issues, architecture, or Toronto. It is just that those are UrbanToronto's areas of interest, and other media outlets are better at covering the festival on whole.

    Some films within our area of interest have not fit UrbanToronto's publication schedule. Battle for Brooklyn, for instance, is an excellent film detailing the abuse of Eminent Domain, or the ability of a government to seize land from private landowners for the benefit of the public. Set, obviously, in Brooklyn, and filmed over the last half dozen years, Battle recounts the fight at community group Develop Don't Destroy wages against the powers that want to redevelop the Atlantic Yards area of their borough for a basketball stadium and several towers. Its screenings were Saturday and Sunday, and it's the perfect cautionary tale for anyone fascinated with the way cities develop and redevelop. With no more screenings at the festival, we can only hope that this deserving film materializes in theatres on or the telly sometime in the future. Just keep 'Battle for Brooklyn' in kind for future quality viewing should you find it being screened sometime.

    Battle for Brooklyn

    In contrast, we can highlight another film that you might enjoy, and which you actually have two more chances to see. St-Henri, The 26th of August puts over a dozen filmmakers into the Montreal neighbourhood on the first day of school last year, and introduces us to a baker's douzaine of engaging characters, from the ordinary to the eccentric. St-Henri reminds us of the richness of experiences which are waiting to be claimed by urbanites on a diverse city. This very warm film will cause you to wonder more about what may be around the corner from you. St-Henri is playing next on Thursday, 12.30 at the Cumberland, and on Sunday, 6.00 at the ROM. All of the details necessary for you to see it can be found at the link at the top of this paragraph.

    St-Henri, The 26th of August

    Another Thursday screening, which we cannot vouch for yet, but you know, 90% of everything here is as least good of not better than good, is Foreign Parts, a film about junkyards and salvage shops in the shadow of New York's Mets Stadium, Owners struggle to stay afloat amidst the gentrification going on around them. That's a story not unfamiliar to business owners on either side of Toronto's downtown, as the King-Spadina and King-Parliament areas quickly redevelop. Click the link abouve for more info about it.

    Foreign Parts

    Not quite so on-message, but not a complete 180° for UrbanToronto, is yet another Thursday screening, this one at 4 PM at the Cumberland. Abendland was shot all over Europe, exclusively after dark, in cities, towns, fields, along borders, railway tracks, in hospitals, morgues, video surveillance centres, raves, protests, deportations... all sorts of places and events for which acclaimed filmmaker Nikolaus Geyrhalter was granted extraordinary access. Unfolding without narration, the film is nevertheless absolutely mesmerizing. Highly recommended to those who want to know what goes on behind the scenes to keep Europe functioning. Should you go, you may find me there drinking it all in a second time.


    All HotDocs screenings before 6.00 PM are free to students and seniors. Take advantage of that!


  2. Default

    There are at least two docs which were shot in Toronto, and I can recommend them. "Grinders" is a feature length doc, which looks at the underground poker scene in Toronto. The message of the doc is the idea that life is full of calculated risk, but there are many scenes shot driving through Toronto, or in front of buildings around the city.
    The other Toronto-based doc is a short (about 8.5 mins), made by a group of students from Humber college and it deals with the experience of two subway train drivers who have had to cope with the experience of jumpers committing suicide in front of their trains as they pulled into High Park and Broadview stations. It is quite touching. It has been shown with Grinders at the festival.

    [At the showing this evening, the director of the short doc (the name of which has still not come to me), which was shot in the many TTC locations and trains (drivers cab included) was asked about the TTCs attitude to the subject-matter of the film. Apparently, (and I can't decide if I am surprised or not) nobody at the TTC asked anyone involved in the film, what the topic of the film was! The TTC said it was fine to film, and the Humber college students simply flashed their post-secondary TTC passes as they wandered about the system with camera, mics and an entire film crew and no-one batted an eyelid. I would have thought that someone at the TTC would have some interest in how the 'brand' was being portrayed...]

    The Tiff lightbox has functioned very nicely for the festival, and many visiting directors have mentioned how they love the building, and remarked on what a great place Toronto is. The festival has been great with a number of really good movies and Toronto has definitely has her game-face on.

  3. #3


    The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema (formerly the Bloor Cinema) is set to re-open in March with free screenings of Waste Land (March 12, 13). Hot Docs has announced their programming for the theatre for March/April, which includes a wide variety of documentary features, some of which screened at last year's Hot Docs and TIFF. There will also be screenings of non-documentary films and less-recent documentaries. Jane Goodall will attend an upcoming benefit screening of a documentary about her, Jane's Journey. So, lots of great stuff ahead. And this doesn't even include this year's Hot Docs, April 26 to May 6. Between TIFF Bell Lightbox and the new Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, this is a time of plenty for Toronto movie buffs.

  4. #4


    BlogTO and Torontoist have photos of the newly rennovated Bloor Hot Docs Cinema:



    Edit to add: video from the press conference/media launch of the theatre on February 29, 20122
    Last edited by canmark; 2012-Mar-12 at 16:06.

  5. #5


    On another note, the HotDocs 2012 program should be announced soon!

  6. #6


    Just in time for Hot Docs 2012, a new marquee on the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Downtown Toronto


    Quote Originally Posted by canmark View Post
    Just in time for Hot Docs 2012, a new marquee on the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema.
    Nice sign but it's lacking any excitement, in particular lighting. The marquee now has less lighting than it did before. Further, the front of the building needs a good acid wash or sand blasting to clean it up and bring the yellow in the brick back out again. Overall, a really nice job was done on the old girl.
    “Our roads are not here for automobiles. Our roads are here for people to get around.” - Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City - July 10, 2012

    Original photographic images posted on this forum by dt_toronto_geek are not for publication, display or dissemination of any kind except on the Urban Toronto discussion board, altered or otherwise, without expressed written permission from the owner.

  8. #8


    Here's a pic I snapped last night of the marquee:

  9. #9


    Bloor Hot Docs Cinema participating in Doors Open this year: http://wx.toronto.ca/inter/culture/d...8?opendocument

    The Bloor Cinema opened its doors as a film house in 1913 under the name Madison Picture Palace, making it one of the first 'picture palaces' in Toronto. Demolished and rebuilt in 1941 under prolific theatre architects Kaplan & Sprachman, it reopened as the Midtown, becoming a popular neighbourhood cinema throughout the 1940s and 50s. It underwent several incarnations throughout the end of last century, including the Capri, the Eden, and finally the Bloor Cinema, a popular rep cinema known for its alternative film programming. Family-run for the past several decades, the Bloor Cinema was sold to the Blue Ice Group in 2011. After a more than $3-million renovation, the venue reopened in March 2012 as the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, operated by the Hot Docs Festival and featuring predominantly documentary programming. Led by Hariri Pontarini, the renovation has enhanced the cinema's atmosphere while still respecting its grandeur and architectural details. Inspired by previous incarnations of the cinema, the expanded lobby features a large transparent wall that enables open views from the street directly into the auditorium, and the refurbished marquee harkens back to the original.
    Last edited by canmark; 2012-May-02 at 11:32.

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