Money on the minds of Hot Docs organizers

Canadian fest starts timely sidebar about economic woes

TORONTO -- Canada's Hot Docs documentary festival is introducing a timely sidebar dubbed Let's Make Money. The section will focus on films about people who strike it rich or go bust during bad economic times.

The inaugural program includes Austrian filmmaker Erwin Wagenhofer's "Let's Make Money," about greed among international bankers; U.S. director Liz Canner's "Orgasm Inc.," about Big Pharma seeking government approval for a Viagra-like drug for women; and "Shadow Billionaire," Alexis Spraic's portrait of reclusive DHL founder Larry Hillblom.

Organizers also have booked the Canadian documentary "H2Oil," Shannon Walsh's probe of the environmental fallout from large-scale oil extraction from Alberta's tar sands to feed North America's energy thirst.

Hot Docs has unveiled 171 titles from 39 nations in 10 sidebars for its April 30-May 10 run in Toronto.

In its Made in Korea sidebar, North America's largest documentary festival will include the international premiere of Jung-Min Choi's "Black Badge," about underpaid contract workers in South Korea; Byung-Gil Jung's "Action Boys," about a Seoul school for stunt performers; and Seung-Jun Yi's "Children of God," a portrait of impoverished children who work at a Nepalese crematory.

Also in the Korean focus is Dochyun Yoon's "Farmer's Song," about Korean farmers battling American imports, and "Grandmother's Flower," Jeong-Hyun Mun's film about his family's troubled past that screened in Dubai and Berlin.

Other Asian titles set to screen in Toronto include "Hair India," from Italian filmmakers Raffaele Brunetti and Marco Leopardi, which looks at donors of hair extensions sold from Bollywood to Hollywood.

In its Special Presentations sidebar, Hot Docs has booked Kirby Dick's "Outrage," about closeted American politicians who campaign against gays and lesbians; Louie Psihoyos' "The Cove," about Japan's dolphin slaughter; and Mercedes Stalenhoef's "Carmen Meets Borat," a portrait of Romanian villagers who feel they were misrepresented as Kazakhstani fools in Sacha Baron Cohen's comedy feature "Borat."

Hot Docs previously announced that the world premiere of Jennifer Baichwal's "Act of God" will open the fest April 30.
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