Hot Docs Festival 2019 Highlights Female Directors

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Women will comprise 54 per cent of directors at the Canadian festival, including Tasha Hubbard helming the opening night film, ‘We Will Stand Up.’

Female filmmakers will represent the majority at the Hot Docs Canadian Documentary Festival, which finalized and unveiled its 2019 lineup on Tuesday. 

Women are to represent 54 percent of the directors invited to screen their work at the 26th edition, including Tasha Hubbard with her opening night film, a world premiere for Nipawistamasowin: We Will Stand Up. The documentary captures a family’s grief and questioning of the Canadian legal system after the 2017 acquittal of Saskatchewan farmer Gerald Stanley for the fatal shooting death of a young Cree man, Colten Boushie.

And among the 234 films and another 18 DocX virtual reality or interactive installations from 56 countries to screen at Hot Docs this year, 161 titles, or 64 percent, will be directed by at least one female director. This year’s dominance by female directors follows an ambitious drive by the Canadian film industry and its public funding agencies to achieve gender parity by 2020.

Hot Docs is also launching the Persister sidebar of female-directed films, to include world premieres for Claudia Sparrow’s Maxima and Baljit Sangra’s Because We Are Girls, and an international premiere for Yu Gu’s A Woman’s Work: The NFL’s Cheerleader Problem, which pits former cheerleaders alleging sexism and labour violations against the NFL.

Hot Docs, set to run April 25 to May 5 in Toronto, has also set world premieres for Matt Gallagher’s Prey, about sex abuse in the Catholic Church, Phillip Pike’s Our Dance of Revolution, and Nicole Schafer’s Buddha in Africa.

The Canadian festival earlier unveiled a number of high profile titles for its 2019 edition, including Rachel Lears’ Knock Down the House, the Sundance audience award winner about four progressive women running for the U.S. Congress in 2018, and Jacqueline Olive’s lynching doc Always in Season, which nabbed a special jury award for moral urgency at Sundance.

Other titles already announced for Toronto: Petra Costa’s The Edge of Democracy; Garry Keane and Andrew McConnell’s Gaza; Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaiche’s Advocate; Heddy Honigmann’s Buddy; Adam Bolt’s Human Nature; Laurie Lynd’s Killing Patient Zero; Phyllis Ellis’ Toxic Beauty; and Henry Singer and Rob Miller’s The Trial of Ratko Mladic.





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