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The Hot Docs Line Up Is Here; Strip Club Stories, Oil Sands Karaoke, Richard Nixon, And Lots More
March 20, 2013
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Image: Hot Docs

It starts with a strip club, and expands to include Richard Nixon, Richard Dawkins, a snowboarder fighting for his life, Arctic cowboys, karaoke in the oil sands, girls training to be Shaolin warriors, an 81-year-old jewel thief, and much, much more.

The 20th annual Hot Docs festival begins April 25, and that's just a small sampling of the lineup.

The fest kicks off with 'The Manor' from first-time filmmaker Shawney Cohen. It tells the story of his family business: a strip club in Guelph, Ontario that his parents bought 30 years ago, when he was six.

After decades of trying to keep the business going, Cohen's family is in rough shape.

His father has gained a lot of weight, and now weighs 400 pounds, while Cohen's anorexic mother struggles to survive at 85 pounds.

The doc was shot over three years. You can read more about it at CBC Arts.

In all, there are 205 films from 43 countries screening at Hot Docs, which runs from April 25 to May 5 in Toronto.

There are a lot of Canadian films, including Cohen's and 'Alias' from Michelle Latimer, which tells the story of five rappers in Toronto's street hip hop scene.

Image: Hot Docs

Also from Canada is John Kastner's 'NCR: Not Criminally Responsible', a doc about the mentally ill and balancing their needs with the rights of others.

Image: Hot Docs

And 'Oil Sands Karaoke' is from Charles Wilkinson. The film tells the story of Alberta oil sands workers drowning their sorrows in song at their local karaoke joint.

Image: Hot Docs

Some cool international films are also screening. 'Aatsinki: The Story of Arctic Cowboys' tells the story of reindeer herders in Finland - it was directed by Jessica Oreck.

Image: Hot Docs

'Dragon Girls' is set at an ancient Shaolin kung fu school near Beijing, and focuses on three young girls who are foregoing a normal childhood to master kung fu.

Image: Hot Docs

For fans of U.S. political history, Penny Lane's 'Our Nixon' should be a treat: it's built from 500 reels of footage that was confiscated by the FBI as part of the Watergate investigation, but lay in archives somewhere, forgotten, until recently.

Image: Hot Docs

Also of interest is 'The Unbelievers', a doc that follows Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss as they provoke audiences with their take on traditional religious and political ideology. The film also talks to fans of both thinkers including Ricky Gervais, Werner Herzog, and Woody Allen.

George sat down with Dawkins a few seasons ago. Check out that episode right here.

Image: Hot Docs

And this one sounds cool: 'The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne' is the story of an 81-year-old woman who's a jewel thief as she looks back (unrepentantly) on her life of stealing.

Image: Hot Docs

You can check out the full lineup on the Hot Docs site, and if you're interested in going to the fest, here's a link to the Box Office.


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