Carmen Meets Borat

Hot Docs Unveils 2009 Lineup

Selections for the 16th annual Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival were announced at a press conference this morning. Deciding what to see at Hot Docs is always a daunting task and this year is no exception - programmers chose over 170 documentaries from around the globe, from a record number of submissions, to be screened at next month's fest.

"These are wild times," noted Sean Farnel, Hot Docs' director of programming, in the official press release "but as a reflection of the present, documentary continues to be a vibrant storytelling form, helping us to make sense of the world, even as it enlightens, entertains and empowers our audiences."

I'm looking forward to the festival kick-off film, Act of God, the latest by acclaimed Manufactured Landscapes director Jennifer Baichwal, having its world premiere here. The doc follows seven stories from around the world and explores "the metaphysical effects of being struck by lightning." Also on my 'must see' list is Carmen Meets Borat, described as "a dark comedy about the Romanian villagers who were stunned to learn of their misrepresentation as Kazakhstani idiots in the 'Borat' film."

In addition to these Special Presentations, the Canadian Spectrum program will include 10 feature-length world premieres with works by local filmmakers Srinivas Krishna (Ganesh: Boy Wonder), Alan Zweig (A Hard Name), and Hubert Davis (Invisible City), to name just a few. Also on the slate of programs, the NFB's 70th will be celebrated with a dozen films from its collection on the big screen. Plus, there's a World Showcase, a 'Made in South Korea' program, docs on music, arts and the creative process, the timely 'Let's Make Money' set (docs about cash and greed), and retrospectives on Ron Mann and Alanis Obomsawin.

Hot Docs runs from April 30th to May 10th and I will be there for more extensive festival coverage on blogTO. Check out the festival website for a full list of what's on.

Tickets and passes are on sale now and can be purchased in person at the Hot Docs Box Office (55 Avenue Road, 2 blocks north of Bloor St. West, lower level of Hazelton Lanes), online at, or by phone at 416-637-5150. Still from Carmen Meets Borat courtesy of Hot Docs.

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