44 U.S. titles make cut at Hot Docs


CORRECTED 11:56 AM PST, March 19

TORONTO -- U.S. documentaries will dominate the awards competition at this year's Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, which unveiled its official lineup Tuesday.

Hot Docs will open April 17 with U.S. director Sacha Gervasi's "Anvil," a portrait the legendary Canadian heavy metal band that had its bow in January at Sundance. Gervasi and his camera follow the once-famous members of the band -- now in their 50s and playing in dodgy Toronto bars -- as they embark on a European tour.

Other U.S. titles bound for Toronto include world premieres for Susan Gray's "Killer Poet," a portrait of an escaped convicted killer who was on the run for two decades; Koji Masutani's "Virtual JFK: Vietnam If Kennedy Had Lived"; and Gabriel Rhodes' "Behind the Glass."

Hot Docs also will host international premieres for "At the Death House Door," by Steve James and Peter Gilbert; Eric Daniel Metzgar's "Life. Support. Music"; Erik Nelson's "Dreams With Sharp Teeth," a portrait of artist Harlan Ellison; and "Waiting for Hockney," in which filmmaker Julie Checkoway tells the story of an artist who took ten years to create a detailed portrait and his quest for an audience with famous artist David Hockney to validate his artistic effort.

In all, Hot Docs will feature 44 U.S. titles in a lineup of 173 films from 36 countries. The festival will unspool a record 30 world premieres and 34 North American bows.

The opening Canadian film at Hot Docs will be Sturla Gunnarsson's "Air India 182," an investigation into the 1985 airplane bombing by Sikh terrorists that killed 329 passengers.

The National Film Board, Canada's public filmmaker, has five world bows at Hot Docs, including Nettie Wild's "Bevel Up," Tracey Deer's "Club Native" and Nik Sheehan's "Flicker."

The 15th annual Hot Docs fest will run April 17-27 in Toronto.