Source: Rezolution Pictures

‘Red Fever’

Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival has selected 168 films for its 2024 edition, including world premieres of Red Fever, American Cats: The Good, the Bad and the Cuddly and The Ride Ahead.

The festival is pushing ahead with its 2024 event from April 25 to May 5, despite the resignation of 10 programmers this past weekend; and the departure of artistic director Hussain Currimbhoy on March 20.

The 51 world premieres in the festival include Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond’s Red Fever, in which he travels North America and Europe investigating the world’s fascination with Native Americans; Amy Hoggart’s American Cats: The Good, the Bad and the Cuddly, exploring the controversial practice of declawing cats; and The Ride Ahead, co-director Samuel Habib’s expansion of his short My Disability Roadmap, which received an honourable mention at Hot Docs 2022. All three will play as Special Presentations.

The Big Ideas conversations series will host sessions with Barry Avich and Sash Simpson, director and subject of Born Hungry, about Simpson’s journey from runwaway child to becoming a top chef; Gary Hurtwit, director of music portrait film Eno; and co-directors Shaul Schwarz and Christina Clusiau, and subjects Julia Botelho Morgan and Amber Forte, of Fly, about BASE jumpers. 

The festival will open with the international premiere of Dawn Porter’s Luther: Never Too Much, a portrait film about music icon Luther Vandross, which debuted at Sundance in January.

In the International Competition, world premieres include Ismael Vasquez Bernabe’s The Weavers’ Songs, exploring life in a Mexican village where weaving is a vital economic backbone; Jalena Keane-Lee’s Standing Above The Clouds, chronicling the journey of three Native Hawaiian families defending their sacred mountain; and Nishtha Jain’s Farming The Revolution, following the protests of 500,000 Indian farmers.

Recent titles from Spain are the subject of the Made In programme, with the world premieres of digital advertising investigation The Click Trap. The Pop/Life strand will host the world premiere of Larry Weinstein’s Beethoven’s Nine, exploring the impact of the composer’s final completed symphony; while in the Persister strand, titles include Pamela Hogan’s The Day Iceland Stood Still, about the day in 1975 when 90% of the country’s women came together to work for gender equality.

Further Hot Docs strands include the Canadian Spectrum Competition; the Festival Favourites strand; the World Showcase section; Nightvision; The Art of Resistance; and the new Land|Sky|Sea and Emergence sections.

The festival is again partnering with European Film Promotion for the seventh edition of The Changing Face of Europe, a pan-European showcase of documentaries exploring the cultural, economic and political conditions affecting Europe today.

Hot Docs previously announced Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck as recipient of an outstanding achievement award, while Canadian cinematographer Iris Ng will be honoured through the Focus On programme.

“There is something so extraordinary about what this Festival represents: the opportunity to unite with fellow documentary lovers to share in the collective experience of being amongst the first audiences to witness unforgettable stories of human power,” said Marie Nelson, entering her first edition as Hot Docs president. “We strive to continue bringing this experience to Toronto audiences for years to come, and hope that doc lovers—both seasoned and new—will come out to support us in this and take in the remarkable lineup of films showcased at this year’s festival.”