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BFF Director Claudine Benoit’s Top Picks for Hot Docs

29 April 2016

Hot Docs, North America’s largest documentary festival, kicked off last night with an amazing selection of over 200 films from Canada and around the globe, screening at venues across Toronto.

We sure wish we could catch all of them! Between several of us from BFF we’re going to see as many as possible with a plan to bring our favourites back to Barrie.


BFF Director Claudine Benoit has a long list of must-see docs, these are her top picks for this year’s Hot Docs:


Sonita – about a young Afghan refugee in Iran that is a rapper in a culture where women are forbidden to sing. It has won seven awards to date, among them two at Sundance – Audience award and Grand Jury Prize.


Gun Runners – Canadian doc about two notorious Kenyan warriors turned professional Marathon runners.


De Palma – about famed filmmaker Brian De Palma. Creator of some of cinema’s most iconic movies such as Scarface, Mission: Impossible, Carrie, The Untouchables, Carlito’s Way.  Need I say more.


Mr. Gaga – about Ohad Naharin, Israeli choreographer and his language of dance. I am expecting some impassioned and innovative performances. Won the audience award at SXSW.


Diving into the Unknown – about a deep water cave dive that goes wrong forcing Finish divers to abandon their two friends and the covert operation to recover their bodies and bring their friends home. From Finland/Norway and sometimes these films don’t get Canadian distribution which is a shame as the storytelling is often so memorable.


Zimbelism – about photographer George Zimbel’s work. One of the original street photographers. He has documented the 20th century captured images of American icons including Marilyn Monroe and the Kennedy’s.


Unlocking the Cage – about seeking legal protection for chimpanzees to give them rights. I know this will break my heart.


Under the Sun – a doc within a doc about North Korea. Filmmakers hired to film one thing but also keeping the cameras going when they aren”t suppose to capturing another “reality”.


Aim for the Roses – Canadian, had good reviews about Ken Carter’s daredevil jump in a rocket-powered car… Mark Haney album… who knows what to expect!



The Hot Docs Film Festival runs April 28 – May 8, 2016