EIGHT NFB DOCUMENTARIES FEATURED AT HOT DOCS 2015
Includes a world premiere feature documentary and live preview of the closing chapter in the award-winning interactive project HIGHRISE
Toronto, Ontario – National Film Board of Canada - Mysteries and disappearances stranger than anything in a detective novel. Visionary one-of-a-kind figures in Canadian arts and politics. Feature documentaries and short works, and a live preview of the final installment in a legendary six-year digital project.
It’s all part of a rich National Film Board of Canada (NFB) presence at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in Toronto, Ontario, Canada where NFB works will be showcased this year from April 23 to May 3, 2015.
This year’s selection includes the world premiere of Sasha Snow’s feature documentary Hadwin’s Judgement, a spellbinding account of environmentalism, obsession and myth produced by True West Films and Passion Planet in association with the NFB, screening in the World Showcase program.
The festival is also hosting five Ontario premieres. Screening in the Canadian Spectrum program are Sophie Deraspe’s esperamos/NFB co-produced feature documentary The Amina Profile, which had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, and Serge Giguère’s Productions du Rapide-Blanc/NFB co-production Finding Macpherson, a captivating 10-year look at an artist at work, which was named Best Feature-Length Documentary at Quebec’s Jutra Awards on March 15. Justin Simms and William D. MacGillivray’s Danny, a portrait of legendary Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams, is one of just five titles chosen for Hot Docs’ Big Ideas program, while Mike Maryniuk’s eclectic multi-media film Home Cooked Music and Martin Bureau’s impressionistic Hell Runs on Gasoline! are featured in the Short Documentary program.
Winner of the Grand Prize for Best Animated Feature-length Film at the Ottawa International Animation Film Festival, Luc Chamberland’s animated documentary Seth’s Dominion, about Canadian cartoonist Seth, is featured in the Next program, which explores creativity, pop culture and the arts.
As Hot Docs inaugurates its DocX program for innovative interactive documentaries, the festival will host a sneak preview of HIGHRISE: Universe Within with the one-night-only participatory live performance Universe Within, Live. Launching online later this year, HIGHRISE: Universe Within delves into the hidden digital lives of high-rise residents around the world and is the final iteration in the NFB’s many media, multi-year digital documentary project HIGHRISE, directed by Katerina Cizek, which has to date garnered a number of prestigious international honours: two Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award, a World Press Photo Prize, two Canadian Screen Awards, and the first-ever IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling.
Hadwin’s Judgement (86 min.)
· Inspired by the award-winning book The Golden Spruce, Hadwinʼs Judgement chronicles BC logging engineer and survivalist Grant Hadwin’s resolute struggle to reconcile what he regarded as an egregious affront—not just to the land, but to humanity as well. Witnessing the devastation wrought by clear-cutting on the last great temperate rainforest drove him to commit a desperate and illegal act. His crusade ends in a tragic mystery and prophetic warning.
· Hadwin’s Judgement is written and directed by Sasha Snow, and produced by Elizabeth Yake (True West Films), David Allen (Passion Planet), and David Christensen and Yves J. Ma (NFB).
The Amina Profile (Le profil Amina) (85 min.)
· Amina Arraf, a Syrian-American revolutionary who’s having an online affair with Montrealer Sandra Bagaria, launches the provocatively named blog A Gay Girl in Damascus. As the Syrian uprising gains momentum, the blog attracts a huge following―which increases when Amina’s reported abduction sparks an international outcry. But who is the real Amina? The Amina Profile is part love story, part international thriller, and a gripping chronicle of an unprecedented media and sociological hoax.
· The Amina Profile is written and directed by Sophie Deraspe, and produced by Isabelle Couture (esperamos) and Nathalie Cloutier (NFB). The film is distributed in Canada by Les Films du 3 mars.
Finding Macpherson (Le mystère Macpherson) (77 min.)
· Born of a friendship between Quebec singer-songwriter Félix Leclerc and Jamaican immigrant Frank Randolph Macpherson, the song “MacPherson” launched Martine Chartrand on a 10-year period of research to create her award-winning 2012 NFB paint-on-glass animated short MacPherson. Director Serge Giguère was with her from the start and chronicled her exceptional creative journey in Finding Macpherson.
· Finding Macpherson is written and directed by Serge Giguère, and produced by Nicole Hubert and Sylvie Van Brabant (Les Productions du Rapide-Blanc), and Colette Loumède (NFB).
Danny (84 min.)
· Through revealing back-room anecdotes and in-depth interviews, Danny tells the story of how former Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams battled Ottawa and Big Oil alike to ensure that the province received a fair share of its abundant natural resources, becoming the most popular—and controversial—Canadian politician of his era.
· Directed by Justin Simms and William D. MacGillivray, written by William D. MacGillivray, and produced for the NFB by Annette Clarke.
Home Cooked Music (10 min.)
· Is there anything more Canadian than a moose-antler electric guitar? Mike Maryniuk’s own eclectic creativity finds a fellow tinkerer in retired machinist Lorne Collie. The filmmaker stitches together weathered doc footage and hand-crafted animation, and the result is a folksy, one-of-a-kind portrait.
· Written and directed by Mike Maryniuk, and produced for the NFB by Brendon Sawatzky.
Hell Runs on Gasoline! (L’enfer marche au gaz!) (7 min.)
· A race at the Saint-Félicien racetrack goes from bone-jarring, ear-splitting infernal vision to an eerily silent cemetery of abandoned carcasses, in this short created through the first edition of the 5 Shorts Project (Projet 5 courts), an NFB short documentary initiative in partnership with regional artist-run centres and production centres in Quebec.
· Hell Runs on Gasoline! is written and directed by Martin Bureau, and produced by Nathalie Cloutier and Colette Loumède (NFB), and Catherine Benoit (Spirafilm).
Seth’s Dominion (42 min)
· Canadian cartoonist Seth, best known for comic books such as Palookaville, is one of the world’s great storytellers in the form. Luc Chamberland sheds light on his wry, articulate subject, mixing insightful biography with vivid animation in an artful fusion of filmmaking techniques that perfectly captures Seth’s manifold creative universe.
· Written and directed by Luc Chamberland, and produced for the NFB by Marcy Page and Gerry Flahive.
HIGHRISE: Universe Within, Live
· Launching the final iteration of the acclaimed HIGHRISE digital documentary project, Universe Within, Live takes audiences on a fascinating journey from Brooklyn to Mumbai to Guangzhou through the original portraits of highrise residents and their digital lives from around the globe. Mixing live and recorded images, documentaries and music, this performance is navigated by a live host in conversation with the audience.
· Directed by Katerina Cizek, performed by Misha Glouberman, and produced for the NFB by Gerry Flahive and David Oppenheim.
About the NFB
The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) creates groundbreaking interactive works, social-issue documentaries and auteur animation. The NFB has produced over 13,000 productions and won over 5,000 awards, including 14 Canadian Screen Awards, 8 Webbys, 12 Oscars and more than 90 Genies. To access acclaimed NFB content, visit NFB.ca or download its apps for smartphones, tablets and connected TV.