Magazine article New Internationalist

Hot Docs 2012

Magazine article New Internationalist

Hot Docs 2012

Article excerpt



Toronto's 2012 HOT DOCS festival presented a richness of images - from a hijacking drama at Dhaka's airport in the 1970s to a ventriloquists' convention in rural Kentucky. RICHARD SWIFT picks a few of the highlights.

We are Legion: the story of the Hacktivists m mm)

Veteran US public TV director Brian Knappenberger pulls his audience into the strange world of internet activism in this fascinating presentation of the way in which hacktivist groups like Anonymous grew out of the murky hacker world. The film traces the way in which 'for the hell of it' online funsters and their websites, such as the infamous 4chan, moved from sabotage of the pompous to serious confrontation with the powerful. First it was the Church of Scientology, then some of the forces complicit in the attack on Wikileaks. Now things have become very serious indeed with FBI and other police raids and some heavy jail time. But Anonymous and its supporters worldwide are up for the challenge.


Call me Kuchu (90 mm)

This doc is set in the gay community of Kampala where filmmakers Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika ZouhaliWorrall show how Uganda's quasi-official campaign of homophobia looks to the city's besieged yet courageous lesbians and gay men. Community activists open their lives to the camera and show the cultural vitality that has allowed them to resist the onslaught and win many important victories.

The film has touching interviews with veteran activist David Kato who was murdered during the course of production. It shows the struggle of his legacy which followed him literally to his graveside. It also has interviews and footage of the coalition of Christian fundamentalists and self-serving journalists who are the sparkplugs of the anti-gay campaign. Kuchu won the 2012 top international prize at the festival. Well deserved.


The Reluctant Revolutionary (70mins)

In perhaps the best of an excellent crop of documentaries about the Arab Spring, filmmaker Sean McAllister follows 35-year-old tour guide Kais as he tries to make a living in the middle of Yemen's people's revolt. The story is completely gripping, providing footage that draws you right into the streets of Sana'a's Change Square and the confrontation between protesters and military or mercenary snipers. …

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