10 Hot Docs We’re Curious About

The buzz has begun for this year’s Hot Docs International Film Festival. From April 28 to May 8, 2016, we’ll have a chance to see over 232 documentaries from all around the world. Some films will be making their international, North American or Canadian Premieres right here. We love the films screened in this documentary festival as each one sparks our curiosity and feeds our souls. Many of the films are inspiring and there are a few that are down right disturbing. We definitely have a list of titles that we are most curious about. Here are few that we’re looking forward to seeing.

ANTS ON A SHRIMP by filmmaker Maurice Dekkers (Netherlands), follows world renowned chef Rene Redzepi as he temporarily closes his award winning restaurant Noma in Copenhagen and relocates his entire staff to Tokyo for a five week pop-up.  Neither Redzepi nor his staff know anything of the local food resources and his reputation will be placed under a magnifying glass. This film gives the audience a peek inside the intense pressure and ambition in his kitchen. Note a special immersive dining experience with Chef Justin Cournoyer (Actinolite) following the screening on May 1st. Highly coveted tickets to this event can be secured in advance at eatablefilms.com


SOUR GRAPES directed by Jerry Rothwell (USA, France, UK). Controversy erupts when an unassuming young man floods the American wine market with fake vintages valued in the millions, bamboozling the wine world elite in this humours and suspenseful tale of on ingenious con on the eve of the 2008 financial crisis.

THE APOLOGY directed by Tiffany Hsiung (Canada), in this profoundly moving and transformative call for peace and justice, three former “comfort women” break the silence about their sexual slavery during WWII demanding a formal apology from the Japanese government. This documentary is part of the Scotiabank Big Ideas Series.


MIGRANT DREAMS directed by Min Sook Lee (Canada), deceptive brokers and systemic exploitation are starkly exposed in this stirring story of two courageous Indonesian women caught in Canada’s migrant worker program fighting for basic rights in the face of debt bondage and low paying work.

MY LAND directed by Jian Fan (China), on Beijing’s outskirts, a migrant family seeking a better life find themselves on the front lines of the city’s unrelenting expansion. When their home is threatened by redevelopment, they courageously choose the unthinkable as neighbours leave, they defiantly remain.


SPACESHIP EARTH directed by Kevin McMahon (Canada). Illuminating Marshall McLuhan’s sentiment that we are all crew on spaceship earth, magnificent images of our planet taken from space inspire prominent thinkers, from astronauts to activists, to make an urgent call to solve the problems we’ve created before it’s too late.

CONTEMPORARY COLOR directed by Bill Ross IV, Turner Ross (USA). An extraordinary lineup of top music stars including vent master David Byrne of The Talking Heads, Nelly Furtado, St. Vincent and more perform live with 10 “colour guard” teams – perfectly synchronized students in pep-rally choreography in this one of a kind, kaleidoscopic event.

THE LEGACY OF FRIDA KAHLO directed by Tadasuke Kotani (Japan). A renowned Japanese photographer inventories iconic Mexican artist Frida Kahlo’s wardrobe and personal belongings, recently discovered 58 years after her death, lending deserved importnace to fashion and “women’s work,” while resurrecting the dead through clothing and talismans.

LOOK LOVE directed by Yun Ye (China), is about two Chinese children who are raised in  different economic circumstances but both confront the same situation: family separation. Linsheng’s impoverished farmer father raises his sons in Hunan, while mom works far from home. To secure a better future for Linsheng dad sends him away to a public school through a charity project. Meanwhile, Xinyuan lives in Beijing and attends an expensive boarding school while her parents have jobs abroad. Both families want the best for their children but the children feel abandoned and powerless. They act out to get the attention they crave.


HOOLIGAN SPARROW directed by Nanfu Wang (USA, UK, China), is about a woman, Ye Haiyan who risks arrests and imprisonment for her activism to protect girls and women who are abused. When she launched a campaign on behalf of the victims, she’s quickly labelled as enemy of the state and starts running. This documentary follows her journey as she is chased across China.

For more information or to buy your tickets  online in advance, visit www.hotdocs.ca


We’re thrilled to offer up tickets to a couple of our lucky readers thanks to Hot Docs!

We have a pair of tickets to give away for Look Love (May 1 at 9:15 pm, Scotiabank Theatre) and Hooligan Sparrow (April 28 at 9:30 pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox).

To Enter on Facebook: Simply visit our AZNmodern Facebook page, follow us and then look for this post to comment on which of the two movies you would like to attend.


To Enter on Twitter: Follow @aznmodern and/or  @theculturepearl and tweet out which of the two movies you’d like to see using hashtags #HotDocs16 #AZNxhotdocs


To Enter on Instagram: Follow @aznmodern and/or @theculturepearl look for the Ants on a Shrimp image and follow the instructions

No purchases necessary and tickets must be accepted as awarded.

Winners will be selected on April 22 and will be contacted via email.

Good luck!

~ Sonya

Sonya is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of AZNmodern.com. She is also a well-established contributing lifestyle writer to other sites and magazines sharing her passion for arts & culture, fashion, beauty, travel and food. Sonya is based in Toronto, Canada. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @theculturepearl

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