Hot Docs will offer films about competitive pigeon racing and political protest

TORONTO — This year, the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival will include in-person screenings for its high-profile special presentations program, after pivoting online the previous two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Organizers are touting online and in-person opportunities for screenings, talks and networking events when the festival runs April 28-May 8 in Toronto. Audiences across Canada will also be able to watch titles online through the Hot Docs at Home streaming platform.

The festival will feature three world premieres, including “The Talented Mr. Rosenberg” by Toronto filmmaker Barry Avrich about Toronto con artist Albert Rosenberg; “Million Dollar Pigeons” by Irish filmmaker Gavin Fitzgerald, which follows the competitive world of pigeon racing; and “The Quiet Epidemic” by American filmmaker Lindsay Keys, an investigation into the history and global spread of Lyme disease.

Notable Canadian premieres highlight themes of adversity throughout history, and include American director Julia Bacha’s ‘Boycott’, which examines the mode of protest over the years, and ‘TikTok, Boom’ by American director Shalini Kantayya, on how social media and freedom of expression have impacted the modern world.

Other Canadian premieres include American director Rachel Lears’ “To The End,” which follows young politicians Varshini Prakash, Alexandra Rojas, Rhiana Gunn-Wright and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as they fight for what they believe during the climate crisis, and Danish director Simon “A House Made of Splinters” by Lereng Wilmont, who heads to the Ukrainian front line, where social workers offer refuge to abandoned children.

Meanwhile, other notable screenings include American director Paula Eiselt’s “Aftershock,” about two grieving black fathers who become activists after their partner dies from preventable childbirth complications, and “Fire of Love” by American director Sara Dosa, which follows the love story of two scientists as they investigate the mysteries of volcanoes.

The full festival lineup will be announced on March 30.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on March 15, 2022.

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