Hot Docs: Full Film Slate Revealed

The Heat: A Kitchen (R)evolution - Still 1 -Publicity-H 2018
Courtesy of Hot Docs Festival

Top billing goes to female directors, including fest opener 'The Heat: A Kitchen (R)evolution' by Maya Gallus.

The Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival on Tuesday unveiled its full 2018 lineup, with half of this year's film directors being women.

That includes world premieres for Maya Gallus' The Heat: A Kitchen (R)evolution, a look at the kitchens of the world’s top female chefs, which will open the fest; Paula Eiselt's 93Queen, about an all-women ambulance service for New York City's Borough Park Hasidic Jewish community; and Sarah Menzies' Afghan Cycles, which focuses on women in Afghanistan striving for independence, and mobility, as part of a bike racing team.

Hot Docs' 25th edition, which is set to run April 26-May 6, will present in all 246 films from 56 countries and 154 female directors and 154 male directors, as some titles have co-helmers.

"It is time to listen to women, and this year, when half of the festival's films are directed by women, and two-thirds of the programmers are women, channeling my best Frances McDormand, 'We got some things to say,'" Myrocia Watamaniuk, senior international programmer at Hot Docs, told a Toronto press conference about the 50-50 gender split in this year's lineup.

Also debuting at Hot Docs next month is Kelly Showker's Slut or Nut: The Diary of a Rape Trial, a campus date-rape film where a young women turns to film to tell the full story of her attack after the police and courts let her down; Christina King and Elizabeth Castle's Warrior Women, about native American women struggling for human rights; and Audrey Gordon's Siblings, a film about an 11-year-old girl reuniting with biological brothers and sisters dispersed into the foster care system.

Toronto also booked world bows for Alba Sotorra's Commander Arian — A Story of Women, War and Freedom, about an all-women battalion fighting in Syria, and Jessica Leski's I Used to Be Normal: A Boyband Fangirl Story, about female boy-band fans.

Fandom is also on display in United We Fan, Michael Sparaga's film about super-fans of famous TV shows like Star Trek, Veronica Mars and Designing Women who fight to keep them on the air, and which is getting a world premiere in Toronto.

There also are international premieres for the Tribeca festival opener, Lisa D'Apolito's Love, Gilda, about Saturday Night Live pioneer Gilda Radner, and Heather Walsh and David Sington's Mercury 13, which recounts female fighter pilots who in 1961 tested for spaceflight before making way for NASA's "man-in-space" program.

Hot Docs earlier announced that two-time Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Barbara Kopple will be honored at this year's edition with a lifetime achievement award.