Hot Docs to screen some films through CBC after festival postponed


TORONTO — Some films from this year’s postponed Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in Toronto will make their debut for free through the CBC.

The public broadcaster and Hot Docs have partnered for a multiplatform, festival-at-home experience across Canada.

The initiative will see a sample of 2020 festival titles premiere on CBC, CBC Gem and documentary Channel on Thursdays starting April 16.

The first doc to screen is “Made You Look: A True Story About Fake Art” by Toronto-based filmmaker Barry Avrich, about the dark side of New York’s art scene.

The Hot Docs at Home on CBC event will also include interactive, live-streamed Q-and-A’s with filmmakers and other original digital content at CBC Docs.

Hot Docs will announce the complete list of 2020 festival selections on April 14, and organizers plan to deliver the entire slate of more than 200 titles to audiences at a later date.

The Hot Docs team says it is still working on the best way to do that.

Hot Docs announced on March 13 that this year’s festival, which was scheduled to begin April 30, had been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The annual event usually features hundreds of films every year with approximately 200,000 people attending, along with thousands of filmmakers and industry delegates from dozens of countries.

The CBC says it chose the films for the new at-home partnership with Hot Docs by reaching out to a number of Canadian filmmakers and distributors whose films were set to premiere at the festival.

The public broadcaster says it is continuing to reach out to additional filmmakers and distributors in order to obtain the rights to showcase their documentaries as part of Hot Docs at Home on CBC.

From April 16 to May 10, CBC’s Documentary Channel will also showcase feature-length documentaries from past Hot Docs festivals.

Other homegrown feature-length films announced so far for Hot Docs at Home on CBC include:

— “9/11 Kids” by Elizabeth St. Philip, about the 16 children who were in a classroom with former U.S. President George W. Bush when he learned of the 9/11 attacks. (April 23)

— “Finding Sally” by Tamara Mariam Dawit, about the director’s aunt — an Ethiopian aristocrat-turned-communist-rebel who disappeared during the Ethiopian Revolution. (April 30)

— “Meat the Future” by Liz Marshall, which looks at the science of growing meat from animal cells, without the need to slaughter animals. (May 7)

— “They Call Me Dr. Miami” by Jean-Simon Chartier, about famed Orthodox Jewish plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Salzhauer. (May 14)

— The Canada/South Africa co-production “Influence” by Richard Poplak and Diana Neille, profiling the rise and fall of a notorious public relations and reputation management firm. (May 21)

— “The Walrus and the Whistleblower” by Nathalie Bibeau, which looks at attempts to end marine mammal captivity and focuses on a whistleblower who was sued for $1.5 million for plotting to steal a walrus. (May 28)

Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press