bill murray stories

Bill Murray documentary getting its premiere in Toronto

Have you ever heard a story about how Bill Murray randomly showed up somewhere and did something absolutely unbelievable for or with someone normal? Someone just like us?

It would be surprising if you hadn't. The award-winning 67-year-old actor, and his humorous, everyday antics are the stuff of legend, both on set and off.

"Bill Murray stories" have, in fact, emerged over the past few decades as a widepsread internet meme, with hundreds of different wacky tales to be found on Reddit, Facebook, Tumblr, dedicated websites and anywhere else where people talk about celebrity encounters.

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He's rumoured to have crashed bachelor parties and engagement photo shoots. Sometimes he's seen riding bikes through Walmart. One person claims that he stole french fries right out of their hand and whispered "no one will ever believe you." 

They're all great stories, but are they true?

Director Tommy Avallone decided to sleuth it out for his forthcoming documentaryBill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned From a Mythical Man, which will premiere for the first time outside the U.S. this spring at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival.

Avallone's is one of the 15 films announced this morning by Hot Docs as part of its Special Presentations program – an elite tier of the festival that features high-profile premieres, award winners, works by masters or docs with star subjects.

Specific dates for the screenings of these films have yet to be released, but the festival itself runs from April 26 until May 6. 

Here's what you can expect to see on the Special Presentations program this year so far:

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

Mr. Rogers created a neighbourhood in which he connected with children through honesty, directness and love, while delicately introducing complex social issues. His work continues to resonate today, but have we failed to become the neighbours he hoped for?


Filmed over six turbulent years following the Tahrir Square uprising in Egypt, a feisty 14-year-old activist grows before our eyes into a commanding young woman, searching for her identity in a tinderbox of political turmoil and patriarchal systems.

Anote's Ark

As rising sea levels threaten to swallow the Pacific Island nation of Kiribati, its president races against the clock to secure the future of a population doomed to be among the world’s first climate change refugees.

Constructing Albert

In the high-stakes world of haute cuisine, legendary Catalonian restaurant elBulli casts a long shadow—but when it closes, the head chef’s younger brother draws on his long-unrecognized creative genius to fight for his own culinary vision.

Playing Hard

A powerhouse Montreal game studio finally greenlights its next potential blockbuster, but egos and artistry collide with the bottom line as everything rides on the epic battle game-featuring samurais, knights and Vikings—hitting the jackpot.


Imagine Dragons frontman and devout Mormon Dan Reynolds struggles to reconcile his faith with his church’s hardening stance on homosexuality, and finds himself on a mission to combat growing suicide rates among Utah’s LGBTQ youth. Produced by Live Nation Productions.

Bill Murray Stories:  Life Lessons Learned From a Mythical Man

"Bill Murray crashed my karaoke party." "Bill Murray photobombed our engagement pictures." Everyone knows someone with a "Bill Murray" story, but this inspirational and drop-dead-funny detective doc hunts down the myths and the man.

Three Identical Strangers

In 1980 in New York, three teenagers discover by chance that they’re triplets who were separated at birth. Despite disparate upbringings, they enjoy their newfound fraternity and fame until relationships unravel under the dark mystery surrounding their adoptions.

The Devil We Know

Citizen activists unravel one of the largest environmental scandals of our time when West Virginian residents discover DuPont has been dumping a toxic chemical into the water supply—one that’s now found in the blood of over 99% of the world’s population.

Inventing Tomorrow

Roused by the issues faced by their own communities, brilliant young minds from around the globe gather in Los Angeles for the world’s largest high school science fair, tackling environmental crises with ingenuity, inspiration and hope.

The Cleaners

Dive into the shadowy world of internet content moderators, where fingers hovering over the delete key judge within seconds the lines between art and pornography, journalism and propaganda, censorship and free speech—with far-reaching consequences both online and off.

Chef Flynn

When a 10-year-old prodigy launches a restaurant in his parents’ house, his culinary creations lead to collaborations with some of the world’s best chefs and a New York Times Magazine cover. But with his career set to take off, can he handle the heat?

Love, Gilda

The vulnerable and effusive spirit of beloved comedian Gilda Radner is brought to life through newly discovered audio recordings, home movies, interviews with friends and diary entries read by performers she’s inspired, including Melissa McCarthy, Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph.

On Her Shoulders

After surviving enslavement and genocide, a resilient young Yazidi woman is thrust onto the international stage as a spokesperson for those who’ve suffered at the hands of ISIS, where she must learn to navigate bureaucracy, fame and good intentions.

The Oslo Diaries

Once upon a time, Israel and Palestine almost made peace. Personal diaries and never-before-seen archival footage bring raw emotion and new insights to the secret, complex negotiations—and eventual failure—of the Oslo Accords peace process.
The complete Special Presentations program and the full selection of films to screen at Hot Docs 2018 will be announced on March 20.

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