Indian Documentaries To Be The Highlight At HotDocs Canada

By Yash Thakur. Posted on March 18, 2015

Yesterday, Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival announced its full line-up for the upcoming 22nd edition at a press conference in Toronto. From over 2500 film submissions, this year’s slate will present 210 titles from 45 countries in 12 screening programs.

Hot Docs, which in 2014 featured a 'Made in' Denmark program – is shifting its focus this year to South Asian docs with 'Made in India' Program, featuring Spandan Banerjee’s English India; Parvez Sharma’s A Sinner In Mecca, Anuj Adlakha & Farha Alam’s The Superstars Of Koti, Samarth Dixit & Jessica Sadana's 'Journey With Prabhat' and Saumyananda Sahi's 'Small Things, Big Things'.

Furthermore, continuing it's festival run, Abhay Kumar's spine chilling documentary Placebo too will feature at the renowned festival. The festival will also showcase three short documentaries along with these. These include Hana Kitasei & Shriya Pilgaonkar's 'Panchgavya',  Pritha Chakraborty's 'Silent Voices' and Udita Bhargava's 'Imraan, C/O Carrom Club'

“This year’s festival takes us around the world, showcasing stories from 45 different countries and the best in Canadian filmmaking,” says Hot Docs director of programming Charlotte Cook. “Through even more live and interactive experiences we have more ways than ever for the audience to be a part of the Festival. Bringing this exceptional work to Toronto is a huge honour and we can’t wait to join the filmmakers in sharing their work with our incredible audience” Cook added.

English India, which comes from Spandan Bannerjee (who is closely associated with rock band Indian Ocean), tells the tale of a country coming to terms with its own identity as it shakes off the weight of its colonial past with the main focus on language. Spandan’s last outing To Let won the best long documentary award at the International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala.

A Sinner In Mecca, directed by Parvez Sharma, is a powerful personal essay on a gay Muslim’s inner-most struggles. The New York-based  Indian writer and documentary filmmaker is best known for the 2007 film A Jihad for Love which documented the lives of gay and lesbian Muslims, and for which he received the 2009 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Documentary.

Superstars Of Koti ( A debut feature by 20 somethings Farha Alam and Anuj Adlakha) is an intriguing story surrounding deitydom and three children in the mountainous village of Koti. The three adolescents are a witness to identity crisis, crashing and reinstating age-old hierarchies.


According to Kathleen Mullen of Hot Docs, Small Things, Big Things is;

"A diaristic love letter to the benefits of a school that listens to what childhood can be. Director Saumyananda Sahi, who himself went to Sita School until he was 11 years old, gently observes the activities of the students and teachers for one year. As they express their experiences and memories, whether through puppet theatre or a time capsule buried for the future, the children’s personalities shine through as they interact daily with their peers and teachers."

Similarly Amira Abdellahi, while profiling Journey With Prabhat states;

"Mixing archival photos, film clips and personal testimonies from industry veterans, Journey with Prabhat is a tender ode to the art of cinema, proving India’s roots run deeper than Bollywood."

Slient Voices is the story of three sisters with major musical aspirations give up their dreams, bowing instead to the traditional demands of starting a family. Directed by Pritha Chakraborty it is 26 minutes long.

Panchgavya is an eye-opening look at the dichotomy that exists between human behaviour and belief. It lays bare the hypocrisy that exists in the Hindu society with regards to the worship of cows on the one hand and their treatment on the other.

Imraan, C/o Carrom Club screened at multiple festivals last year. Directed by Udita Bhargava it is the story of Imraan who works at a carrom club in the slums of Mumbai. Other notable screenings also include Indian-Canadian filmmaker Rama Rau’s high profile documentary No Place To Hide: The Rehtaeh Parsons Story- an alarming account of the effects of cyber-bullying and Florian Heinzen-Ziob and Georg Heinzen’s Original Copy- a delightful ode to Mumbai’s last one-of-a-kind film poster painter.

Hot Docs will run from April 23-May 3, 2015. To see the full line up, click here.


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