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10 movies getting big advance buzz at the Hot Docs film festival in Toronto

The Hot Docs Festival is back for 2024 with a huge selection of films telling real stories that you won’t want to miss.

From April 25 to May 5, cinemas across Toronto will once again be home to North America’s largest documentary festival, screening a selection of films centred around the themes of power, corruption and tragedy through a critical lens.

With so many films being showcased over the course of the festival, it’s nearly impossible to choose just a handful of favourites, but here are my picks for the movies you can’t miss.

Luther: Never Too Much

After premiering to a slew of critical praise at Sundance, this documentary by Dawn Porter tells the story of legendary singer-songwriter Luther Vandross and will be the official opener to the entire festival.

Wild Gleaming Space

After having witnessed the death of his father, director Mauro Colombo explores the greatest question of all: where do we go when we die? Expansive and moving, Wild Gleaming Space invites us to explore the greatest mystery of existence.

Red Fever

One of this year’s special presentations, Red Fever sees Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond investigating the world’s fascination with Native Americans while travelling across Turtle Island and Europe.

Flying Hands

In a remote village in Pakistan, Aniqa Bano navigates life, stigma and accessibility as she raises her deaf daughter, Narjis. Nearly two decades later, Aniqa has opened a school and home for deaf people, while Narjis reads her mothers diaries.

Lost in the Shuffle

World premiering at the Hot Docs festival, Lost in the Shuffle follows world champion magician Shawn Farquhar as he perfects his latest trick while simulaneosly investigating a medieval murder cold case.

Born Hungry

The latest by acclaimed Canadian filmmaker Barry Averich tells the story of world-renowned chef Sash Simpson, a runaway child from India who was adopted into a Toronto family with 31 siblings before making his name in the culinary world.

Union

In Union, watch as a group of Staten Island Amazon workers, bolstered by charismatic leader Chris Smalls, take on the industry goliath company in the fight to unionize.

Breaking the Cycle

Set against the backdrop of Thailand’s 2019 election, Breaking the Cycle follows the rise and fall of young, charismatic politician Thanatorn, and the powerful awakening of youth activists that he helped inspire.

The Ride Ahead

An expansion of co-director Samuel Habib’s short film My Disability Roadmap — which won an honorable mention for Best International Short at the 2022 Festival — tells the coming-of-age story of a 21-year-old growing up while navigating life with a disability.

American Cats: The Good, the Bad, and the Cuddly

Hilarious Full Frontal with Samantha Bee correspondent, Amy Hoggart explores the practice of cat declawing — and with Ontario being the only province where the practice hasn’t yet been banned — the film is as entertaining and disarming as it is poignant.

Single tickets to the Hot Docs Festival go on sale online and in-person to the public on April 2, and range from $20 for a regular Festival screening to $23 for Special Presentations screenings.

Ticket packages are also available for the Festival, with a 12-ticket pack priced at $188 for members and $209 regular, and 20-packs priced at $269 for members and $299 regular.



10 movies getting big advance buzz at the Hot Docs film festival in Toronto

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