baichwal-cp-1861111

Jennifer Baichwal accepts the Toronto City Award for Best Canadian Feature Film at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2006. Her documentary, Act of God, will open the Hot Docs festival in Toronto April 30. ((Aaron Harris/Canadian Press))

Toronto film director Jennifer Baichwal's new documentary about being hit by lightning will open this year's Hot Docs film festival April 30.

Act of God will premiere at North America's largest documentary festival, which runs through May 10 in Toronto. It will also mark the first time a Canadian film has opened North America's largest showcase of documentary films.

Scheduled for release in cinemas on May 1, Act of God examines the metaphysical effects of being struck by lightning. It is Baichwal's followup to Manufactured Landscapes, which portrayed the downside of rising industrialization in China and was named Best Canadian Feature Film at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2006. Manufactured Landscapes also won a Genie award for best documentary.

Other documentaries that will make their Canadian premieres at the Hot Docs festival are:

  • The Yes Men Fix the World, from U.S. filmmakers Andy Bichlbaum, Mike Bonanno and Kurt Engfehr's, which follows a couple of gonzo political activists as they infiltrate the world of big business.
  • El Olivido (Oblivion), from Dutch filmmaker Heddy Honigmann, which tells the stories of common people living in Lima, Peru.
  • British filmmaker Kim Longinotto's Sundance World Cinema Jury Prize winner Rough Aunties, which focuses on a group of women dedicated to protecting neglected and abused children in Durban, South Africa.
  • British director Havana Marking's Afghan Star, a look at Afghanistan's version of American Idol.
  • Danish filmmaker Anders Hogsbro Ostergaard's Burma VJ, a profile of underground video journalists in Burma.
  • U.S. filmmaker Ondi Timoner's Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner We Live in Public, which examines the work of internet pioneer Josh Harris.
  • Czech filmmaker's Helena Trestikova's René, a portrait of a man on the edge of society.

The full slate of films for the Hot Docs festival will be announced March 24.