Author and women’s studies professor Anita Hill, Lt.-General Roméo Dallaire and comedian David Steinberg are among the personalities expected in Toronto for the Hot Docs film festival, which begins Thursday.

Hill is the U.S. attorney who leveled accusations of sexual harassment against Clarence Thomas in 1991, when Thomas was undergoing hearings about his appointment to the Supreme Court.

Her move to go public about harassment meant enduring nine hours of grilling by an all-male committee, but it shook up the North American workplace, a story told in the documentary Anita. In the doc by Oscar-winning filmmaker Freida Mock, Hill looks back on how the case changed her life and changed America.

Hot Docs, North America’s largest festival of documentary films, opens Thursday with The Manor, Canadian filmmaker Shawney Cohen’s story about his family’s Guelph, Ont., strip club.

Cohen will attend the opening night screening – one of 160 filmmakers who will be at the festival to answer questions and witness reaction to their films.

Dallaire is the Canadian soldier who witnessed the genocide in Rwanda. He will attend the screening of Fight Like Soldiers, Die Like Children, about his newest mission – to end the use of child soldiers.

Patrick Reed, who produced Shake Hands With The Devil: The Journey of Roméo Dallaire, directs the new doc about the work of a compassionate and driven Canadian.

Winnipeg-born Steinberg is profiled in Quality Balls – The David Steinberg Story, which looks at his influence on a generation of comedians, ranging from John Belushi to Larry David. Steinberg directed episodes of sitcoms such as Seinfeld, Friends and Curb Your Enthusiasm and now hosts Inside Comedy. 

Other high-profile guests include:

  • Scientists Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss, who are shown speaking around the world in The Unbelievers.
  • Rappers Alkatraz, Trench, Knia Singh, Keon Love, and Alias DonMillion from the doc Alias about five Toronto rappers.
  • New York artists Noriko and Ushio Shinohara profiled in the doc Cutie and the Boxer.
  • Robin Reineke, an investigator of Cold Cases shown at work in the doc Who is Dayani Cristal? 
  • Canadian boxers Mary Spencer and Ariane Fortin shown battling for an Olympic spot in Last Woman Standing.

The Hot Docs festival runs April 25 to May 5 in Toronto.