The 21st annual Hot Docs film festival kicks off this week in Toronto, where filmgoers will have the opportunity to view an enormous selection of documentary films curated from all over the world, from April 24 through May 4.
This year’s festival is overflowing with a whopping 197 official selections, but the fun doesn’t stop there as numerous special guests – including a record 186 directors – will also be in attendance to promote their films and provide audience Q&As following their screenings. Some of this year’s special guests include rock legend Alice Cooper, pop culture icon and activist George Takei, American psychic Ms. Cleo, wrestling legend The Iron Sheik, and many, many others. The level of diversity in this year’s lineup is simply enormous, and multiple screening times ensure that you will have many opportunities to catch whichever films peak your interest.
Some highlights include The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz by director Brian Knappenberger, which tells the tragic story of the young political activist and Internet visionary who became a leading voice of our current online generation; Dave LaMattina and Chad N. Walker‘s I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story, which examines the incredible life of the man behind Sesame Street‘s Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch characters; Jennifer M. Kroot and Bill Weber‘s To Be Takei, which follows the former Star Trek star and current activist/Facebook sensation as he brings a very personal project to the stage; Pavel Loparev and Askold Kurov‘s Children 404, which explores Vladimir Putin’s controversial “gay propaganda” law through firsthand stories of courageous LGBT Russian youth; Alexandre Philippe‘s Doc of the Dead, which dissects the history of the seemingly un-killable zombie genre through interviews with its creator George Romero and other notable icons; Igal Hecht‘s The Sheik which explores the difficult and unique life of iconic American wrestler Khosrow Vaziri (aka The Iron Sheik); and Reginald Harkema, Scot McFadyen and Sam Dunn‘s Super Duper Alice Cooper, a “doc opera” which follows the evolution of the famed rock legend himself.