Hot Docs: The Fest

What a great festival, what a great city. My eyes have been opened to a new level of urban coolness and engagement with documentary. I mean, this place has the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema – a gigantic year-round all-doc theater. On the last day of the festival, there was a line around the block to pack the place on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema - a year-round docs-only theater (photo from

AND there is the TIFF Lightbox. This is like an art house and a Cineplex had a kid, then fed it steroids, and then sent it to boarding school at MoMA. When they are not hosting film festivals, they are doing stuff like this.

The University Toronto is like a city unto itself and the interplay of old and new architecture here is endlessly entertaining. In general, I found the mixtures and juxtapositions of this city extremely endearing. On the last Saturday of the film festival, there was a giant pot festival in Queen’s Park. Hundreds upon hundreds of tokers, puffing away with alacrity. On Sunday, in the exact same place, dozens of bagpipe players were honoring a fallen police officer in an intricate memorial ceremony.

I got to really spend some time in all parts of the festival, pitching at the forum, and hanging around to catch a bunch of films and parties, talking with a lot of filmmakers and delegates. It was a great show. Bravo to Programmer Charlotte Cook, who programmed her first festival and wrote a great piece about it, Forum Director Elizabeth Radshaw, who made the impossible look effortless, and everyone who helped put on this extraordinary festival.

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