Saturday 6 May 2023

Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, Toronto, ON

I spent the last week volunteering with Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival. It was my first time doing it and it was a fun experience ... I'll do it again next year.

You can choose your locations and shifts via an online calendar ... I scheduled mine to be at the TIFF Bell Lightbox as it was the easiest one for me to get to by walking or transiting.

I was an usher in the afternoons/evenings on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and today in cinemas 1, 2 and 4.

Cinema 4
Cinema 4
Cinema 2
Cinema 2
Cinema 2

I was able to stay and see the movies that were playing in the theatres where I ushering ... I saw:
  • Non-Aligned: Scenes from the Labudovic Reels - Explores the never-before-seen footage of Tito's cameraman documenting his trips to Africa and Asia to promote a third way amidst the Cold War.
  • We No Longer Prefer Mountains - An examination of the Druze religious minority in occupied Palestine, which takes the environment as a metaphor for the group's fraught and complicated social position.
  • Upstream - Filmmaker Xin Liu returns to Harbin, his native city in China's northernmost province, to visit his childhood friends, only to find that their lives and dreams have changed.
  • Black Barbie - Love her or hate her, almost everyone has a Barbie story. Even if they don't have a story, there's a story as to why they don't have a story. In this film, we tell the story behind the first Black Barbie, because yes, she has a story too. It started with the filmmaker's 83-year old aunt, Beulah Mae Mitchell, and a seemingly simple question, "Why not make a Barbie that looks like me?"
  • Praying for Armageddon - An influential movement of Christian fundamentalists in the U.S., who with millions of dollars in backing and threads into the government, are fighting for the end of the world.
  • Who Killed Vincent Chin - The film recounts the murder of a Chinese-American automotive engineer in a racially motivated hate crime and how the murderer escaped justice in the court system.

I sat in on a Q&A with Pinball Clemons in cinema 1 this afternoon.

Depending on how long your shift was determined how many volunteer vouchers you received. If your shift was less than 5 hours, you get one voucher for a movie OR popcorn and a pop (April 2024 expiry). If your shift was more than 5 hours, you get two vouchers (I ended up with 10 vouchers since I did 5 shifts of more than 5 hours each).

I'm using one tomorrow to see Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie and I'll probably use another for popcorn and pop.

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