Pussy Riot

Pussy Riot film highlights 2013 Hot Docs lineup

Hot Docs, North America's largest documentary festival will present its 20th annual edition this Spring from April 25th to May 5th. Today, the festival announced a number of the films that have already been selected to screen this year. Here are five films I'd suggest adding to your personal must-see list.

PUSSY RIOT - A PUNK PRAYER
D: Maxim Pozdorovkin, Mike Lerner | United Kingdom | 2012 | 86 min | Canadian Premiere
When the Russian punk band Pussy Riot dawned balaclavas and staged a guerrilla performance in Moscow at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior and then released a video that agitated Putin and his government, they started a war for the hearts of minds of their people, and got the world's attention doing it. The film, which was a hit at Sundance, traces the history of the feminist punk-rock collective and their battle in the Russian courts. Here's hoping it will be as candid as promised.

BLOOD BROTHER
D: Steve Hoover | United States | 2012 | 93 min | Canadian Premiere
This Sundance award-winning doc follows a man's sudden move to India to care for HIV-positive orphans, and the opposition and suspicion he faced when he confronted his friends and family about his decision. Does he have an ulterior motive, or is he simply looking for meaning in his own life?

PREPARE FOR THE WORST
D: Barry Avrich | Canada | 2013 | 80 min | World Premiere
You might not recognize the name David Steinberg, but you would probably recognize the face. Steinberg supposedly made more appearances on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson than anyone - with the exception of Bob Hope, who practically lived there. Through his dedication to comedy, Steinberg reportedly influenced a generation of comedians from John Belushi to Larry David, which he says is "not bad for a Jewish kid from Winnipeg".

THE UNBELIEVERS
D: Gus Holwerda | United States | 2013 | 76 min | World Premiere
Guaranteed to spark a debate, or at least a shouting match, renowned scientists Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss go on a crusade to "enlighten" the world. Their goal? Replace religion and politics with "a far more powerful idea" - reason. Their motto, though, "believe in science, not God", seems more confrontational than anything else.

MUSCLE SHOALS
D: Greg 'Freddy' Camalier | USA | 2013 | 111 min | International Premiere
A star-studded documentary where musical legends like Aretha Franklin, Mick Jagger, Wilson Pickett, Gregg Altman, Bono and more share how the little forgettable village of Muscle Shoals, on the border of Alabama, made them stars. This doc sheds light on what might be one of the greatest untold, until now, stories in American music history.

Also, not to be missed! This year's Hot Docs program includes the world premiere of Caucus, the international premieres of After Tiller, Anita, Gideon's Army and the North American premieres of Fatal Assistance, Let The Fire Burn, and Rent a Family Inc.

The full selection of films to screen at Hot Docs 2013 will be announced on March 19th, including the opening night film.


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