Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Films about Rehtaeh Parsons, Danny Williams Head to Hot Docs Film Festival

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Films about Rehtaeh Parsons, Danny Williams Head to Hot Docs Film Festival

Article excerpt

Toronto's Hot Docs festival announces lineup


TORONTO - Documentaries about bullied teen Rehtaeh Parsons and former Newfoundland and Labrador premier Danny Williams are among the high-profile titles heading to a Hot Docs festival bolstered by a record number of female directors.

Hot Docs president Chris McDonald says 40 per cent of the directors this year are women. That includes Rama Rau's "No Place to Hide," about Parsons' heartbreaking case, and Kristina Goolsby and Ashley York's opening night film "Tig," about comic Tig Notaro's defiant spirit and humour in the face of a cancer diagnosis.

Female filmmakers have always been prominent at the festival, but McDonald says this year they seem particularly strong.

"Technology has allowed documentary to be much cheaper, faster and easier-to-make films and I think maybe because there are fewer gatekeepers green-lighting films -- gatekeepers who may be male in some cases, probably in most cases -- it's a much more democratic process," McDonald mused.

"Talent rises to the surface and there's nobody there to determine, based on gender or other issues, who gets past the goal posts."

Organizers announced a slate of 210 films from 45 countries Tuesday, many of them centred on comedy or music. That includes "Stay Awhile," a portrait of the Canadian '70s pop group the Bells, who organizers said will reunite for a special performance 30 years after topping the charts.

Other highlights include "Danny," which showcases the charismatic Williams; "Deep Web," from former "Bill & Ted" star-turned-director Alex Winter; Michael Madsen's alien-themed "The Visit"; an account of Haiti's 2010 presidential election in "Sweet Micky for President" featuring ex-Fugee Pras Michel; and the sports film "Out to Win," featuring Olympic gold medal-winning hockey player Charline Labonte, former major league baseball player Billy Bean and U.S. college football player Conner Mertens.

Rau's film traces Parsons' case from the alleged sexual assault to her suicide and the media storm that followed. …

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