Among the 26 world premieres screening are Oscar-winner John Zaritsky's The Suicide Tourists, an exploration of a Swiss organization that legally assists suicide for anyone, regardless of nationality and UK filmmaker Oliver Hodge's The Garbage Warrior, a portrait of an architect who builds green-friendly homes from discarded material including beer cans and car tires.
At the opening press conference Hot Docs director of programming Sean Farnel said he and his colleagues winnowed their selection from 1,800 titles with an eye to 'show what the documentary form is doing.' Aside from 'agitate', 'educate' 'ripped from the front pages' and 'probing deep and dark places', the selection mission was also to show some of the mischievous potential of the form.
The festival opens April 19 with the Canadian premiere of David Sington's satellite-traveller documentary In The Shadow Of The Moon.
Other world premiere documentaries include:
The Bodybuilder And I, the debut of Canadian filmmaker Bryan Friendman, who tells the story of rebuilding his relationship with his estranged father, a geriatric competitive bodybuilder.
Girls Rock, from US filmmakers Arne Johnson, Shane King, a portrait of aspiring young musicians attending the Rock'n'Roll Camp for Girls.
Kike Like Me, Canadian filmmaker Jamie Kastner's personal travelogue through modern prejudice and acceptance.
Let's All Hate Toronto, from Albert Nerenberg and Rob Spence, a populist look at at a widespread Canadian hobby.
Orange Revolution, from US filmmaker Steve York, the story of Ukraine's nearly-stolen 2004 presidential election.
Wings Of Defeat, Japanese filmmaker Risa Morimoto's exploration of the WWII kamikaze ethos featuring pilots who miraculously lived to tell.
Yoga Inc., US filmmaker John Philp's investigation into the Westernization of the ancient practice of yoga.
This edition of Hot Docs introduces the competitive International Spectrum programme, featuring 20 feature-length titles vying for the Best International Documentary Feature Award. Titles in the programme include previously mentioned The Garbage Warrior and Wings Of Defeat as well as The Devil Came On Horseback, Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern's portrait of the US Marine captain who was one of the first to document the ongoing genocide in Sudan; and Sundance sensation Zoo, by Robinson Devor.
The eighth annual Toronto Documentary Forum, which invites selected projects to pitch their proposals to an international panel of commissioning editors and financiers, features 30 projects seeking cofinancing and includes submissions from US filmmaker Eugene Jarecki (Why We Fight, The Trials Of Henry Kissinger) and Canadian filmmaker Ron Mann (Grass).
Participating financiers include ARTE France, BBC 'Storyville,' CBC Newsworld, HBO, SBS Independent, TV2 Danmark, TVOntario, The Documentary Channel, The Sundance Channel and ZDF-Arte.
Other Hot Docs highlights include the international premiere of Your Mommy Kills Animals, a look at the animal rights movement; SXSW title Manufactured Dissent, Debbie Melnyk and Rick Caine's portrait of filmmaker Michael Moore; and, from Israel's Shimon Dotan, Hot House, a view behind the walls of an Israeli prison where Palestinian inmates are incubating a nationalist cause.
The festival is also presenting sidebars on recent production from Brazil and Central and Eastern Europe and career retrospectives of the work of Toronto-based filmmaker Kevin McMahon (The Falls, McLuhan's Wake) and Dutch filmmaker Heddy Honigmann. Veteran Canadian commission editor Rudy Buttignol will be honoured with the inaugural Outstanding Industry Achievement Award.
The festival runs April 19-29. The Toronto Documentary Forum runs from April 25-26. The previously announced International Coproduction Day takes place April 23, with delegations visiting from Brazil, Germany and Italy.