Following on White Walls Say Nothing, which opens up the extraordinary graffiti scene in Buenos Aires (you'll want to plan a visit to the Argentine capital after seeing it), Hot Docs has another documentary film on the graffiti scene—Shadowman—but this time in New York of the 1980s, and focusing on one of the most infamous artists of the time, Richard Hambleton.

Richard Hambleton's shadowmen became ubiquitous in New York in the 1980sRichard Hambleton's shadowmen became ubiquitous on New York's streets in the 1980s, image courtesy of Hot Docs

Hambleton grew up in Vancouver, but moved on to Seattle before getting noticed for his artwork. There he would paint body outlines—like chalked death scenes—which he also splashed with blood-red paint. Police in Seattle began to think that someone had actually been murdered. The negative publicity meant that Hambleton would never get another art grant there, so he next made the move to New York City, where a far larger and more daring scene was flourishing. In a time that Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat are now better know for, Hambleton began painting silhouetted, shadowy people on walls in sketchy parts of New York when its crime rate was at an historic high. Hambleton's artwork reflected the chaos of the time, became a ubiquitous comment on it, and freaked out its viewers.

Hambleton now, with one of his creations, image courtesy of Hot DocsHambleton now, with one of his creations, image courtesy of Hot Docs

Hambleton gradually withdrew from the scene, and virtually disappeared into drug dependancy and poverty. Oren Jacoby's Shadowman tells the fascinating, maddening, gripping story of his past and his reemergence decades later, helped by those who were determined to not let Hambleton's genius die despite his self-sabotage.

Toronto is a calmer city than New York of the 80s, but we all know how crazy the world is now. This city's street artists have Rush Lane south of Queen West, and walls here-and-there throughout the city for their canvases. Not as pervasively painted as the walls of Buenos Aires or the alleys of New York, might Toronto's street art scene become more political like that of those two cities? We'll see…

Shadowman plays at the Lightbox tonight at 6:15 PM, at the Ted Rogers Hot Docs Cinema at 1:30 on Friday, May 5, and at 3:45 PM at the Revue Cinema on Saturday, May 6.

White Walls Say Nothing's last showing is at the Lightbox at 9 PM on Friday, May 5.

Integral Man takes place in what seems like another world. James Stewart was the most published mathematician—it's claimed—since Euclid, and the Toronto-based McMaster University math prof had the money to create a truly spectacular residence that reflected what he cared about.

James Stewart in his office at Integral House, image courtesy of Hot DocsJames Stewart in his office at Integral House, image courtesy of Hot Docs

Stewart's brilliance extended beyond math to music, and he had also played violin as a member of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, and was concert master of the McMaster Symphony Orchestra. For his Rosedale home, Stewart wanted curves which reflected the mathematical formulas that he was master of, and a space where he could present musical performances. After interviewing architects which included Rem Koolhaas and Frank Gehry, Steward settled on Brigitte Shim and Howard Sutcliffe of Shim Sutcliffe Architects in Toronto, sensing that they understood better than anyone what he wanted to accomplish.

The performance space in Integral House image courtesy of Hot DocsThe performance space in Integral House image courtesy of Hot Docs

The result is one of the most acclaimed new homes in the world from the last dozen years. Integral Man covers the home's design, construction, and Stewart's use of it as a centre for charity events for the musical world. Stewart has since passed away, his premature death brought on by cancer a couple of years ago. For anyone who has ever wished to be welcomed inside Integral House's amazing walls, Joseph Clement's assured debut feature film will serve as an inspirational and intimate introduction.

Integral House as seen from the street in Toronto's Rosedale neighbourhood, imagIntegral House as seen from the street in Toronto's Rosedale neighbourhood, image courtesy of Hot Docs

Integral Man's three screenings have all gone "Rush". The last screening is tomorrow at 4:30 PM at the Fox Theatre in The Beach. If you show up early enough in line, you should get a rush ticket. With the intense local interest—while nothing has been announced yet—it's inconceivable that this film film won't get a theatrical release. Here's hoping we have a run of the film to announce soon!