The 2022 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival runs from Thursday, April 28 to Sunday, May 8 in downtown Toronto. (Though if ya can’t get to Toronto you can as a Canadian stream many of the documentaries: so that’s #CouchWorthy nice!)
So with this incredible festival hosting in-cinemas screenings across Toronto let’s take a look at what’s worth pants: here are 6 #PantsWorthy documentaries playing at Hot Docs 2022.
Director: Sierra Pettengill
Screenings: Sat April 30 12:00pm & Thu May 5 8:30pm
“Constructed out of broadcast footage and US military film archives, Riotsville, USA takes its name from a fictional town built in the 1960s to train troops against future civil disobedience, their impact traceable to our over-policed present.”
Why Pants? “Take me, take me to the riot.” In the wake of mid-1960s popular uprisings in Newark, Watts and Detroit, the United States Armed Forces constructed two fake towns on the sites of former plantations for use as training grounds to equip troops against future civil disobedience. Woah…they’ve been training for decades to deal with civil disobedience. And you think you can just make magic randomly happen in 2022 because you got a popular TikTok account and the latest iPhone?? Ain’t nothing civil about what’s happening in the streets or online.
Joyce Carol Oates: A Body in the Service of Mind
Director: Stig Björkman
Screenings: Sun May 1 12:00pm & Sat May 7 2:15pm
“Prolific and intensely private author Joyce Carol Oates, often called America’s foremost woman of letters, steps out from behind her books to reflect on her near 60-year career, offering a candid look at her incredible life and creative process.”
Why Pants? Oates’ first novel With Shuddering Fall was published in 1964 when she was 26 years old. She’s been writing on ever since. At times her business card has variously read: novelist, short story writer, playwright, poet, literary critic, professor and editor. With such a rich literary career to mine this Hot Docs documentary should be A Garden of Earthly Delights.
We Feed People
Director: Ron Howard
Screenings: Sun May 1 1:30pm & Sat May 7 2:45pm & Sun May 8 4:00pm
“Director Ron Howard spotlights chef José Andrés and his nonprofit World Central Kitchen’s evolution from a scrappy group of grassroots volunteers to a highly regarded humanitarian aid organization, snapping into action to combat hunger by serving over 60 million meals to date.”
Why Pants? “The first casualty when war comes is good food.” For humanitarian crises first responders have figured out how to erect shelter (even if it’s temporary) and how to deliver medical supplies or even triage many of the wounded. Our science and our technology coupled with a gung-ho can do spirit confirms we’re experienced and trained like firemen in dealing with environmental disasters and war and other grim frontlines. And yet…we haven’t figured out how to provide healthy, nourishing meals for the afflicted. And so here is a profile of chef José Andrés and his non-profit World Central Kitchen who are attempting to solve that difficulty. This documentary should have you hungry for ways we can alleviate the suffering of so many.
Hunting In Packs
Director: Chloe Sosa-Sims
Screenings: Mon May 2 9:00pm & Thu May 5 12:30pm
“Three bold and non-conforming female politicians from Canada, the UK and America advocate for vastly different ideologies and agendas, but they share in a common fight on their way to success: upending the political establishment.”
Why Pants? A traditional political documentary has a narrow focus: say a couple of Democrats. Hunting in Packs covers Jess Phillips of the UK, Pramila Jayapal of the US and Canada’s Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner. 3 perspectives and 3 experiences from 3 different countries; which of course means 3 different political expectations. Or does it? Do women have a monopoly on empathy? Have we confused tokenism with power? And the biggest question of them all: can entrenched political institutions be reformed from the inside? Follow 3 political mavericks who are prepared to pay the high cost of change.
Director: Stacey Tenenbaum
Screenings: Wed May 1 2:00pm & Wed May 4 11:00am
“Explore the vast, haunting spaces where discarded machinery—from airplanes to farm equipment to e-waste—is left to rust, and meet those who collect, restore and recycle civilization’s scrap, revealing beauty, purpose and sadness in the ugliness we leave behind.”
Why Pants? One man’s junk is another man’s treasure. What if delayed planned obsolescence? What if we learned to see past junk but instead sought to identify beauty? What if we stopped treating glory like milk with a narrow expiration date? Then you’d have Scrap.
Rewind & Play
Director: Alain Gomis
Screenings: Thu April 28 5:30pm & Tue May 3 11:45am
“Paris 1969: jazz visionary Thelonious Monk endures an agonizing interview for French television that crackles with ferocity in the face of patronization. Between Monk’s soaring musical talent and the interviewer’s autocratic style, this raw archival footage demands that one listen between the lines.”
Why Pants? “Eccentric jazz visionary Thelonious Monk is in Paris in 1969.” That’s the hook. Here’s Raptors head coach Nick Nurse discussing how Monk and his jazz influenced his coaching approach at a recent Hot Docs related event. See? Monk in Paris in 1969…that’s the hook.
Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.