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Hot Docs 2012: Award Winners and Personal Favourites

May 7, 2012

By John C.

The 19th annual Hot Docs Film Festival came to a close over the weekend, with the visually stunning Chasing Ice being chosen as the People’s Choice and The Imposter taking home the Filmmakers Award.  Between the newly renovated Bloor Hot Docs Cinema and audiences of over 165,000 people, the festival broke all previous records, making this the most successful year yet for North America’s largest documentary film festival.

I didn’t get the chance to see every thing that I would have liked, but I was lucky enough to watch fifteen of the films that played during the festival.  Although there were a couple of disappointments, I genuinely liked all but a few of the films that I saw.  Some of my personal favourites were the ones that perfectly illustrated the rift between the disgustingly rich and those living in poverty.  Expertly questioning what constitutes actual wealth, I already look forward to revisiting The Queen of Versailles and Radioman once they inevitably get released in theatres.

I also had the good fortune of publishing three sets of five capsule reviews during the festival, sharing my strong recommendations for festival opener Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry as well as Finding North, The Queen of Versailles, Indie Game: The Movie and Detropia.  Partway through the eleven day festival, I published capsule reviews of Big Easy Express, Ping Pong, Ballroom Dancer, The Frog Princes and Only the Young.  I followed it up on May 3rd with my thoughts on Her Master’s Voice, Radioman, Chasing Ice, Scarlet Road and China Heavyweight.

In many ways it’s hard to believe that Hot Docs is already over, but I enjoyed my time spent attending the festival and genuinely look forward to revisiting many of the films that I saw.  It’s encouraging that numerous audiences also packed the theatres for the 189 films that were screened, showing there is a clear interest in documentary filmmaking, especially in a city like Toronto.

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