'League of Exotique Dancers' to Open Hot Docs Festival

League of Exotique Dancers still 1 - H 2016
Courtesy of Storyline Entertainment

North America's largest documentary festival also has booked the latest projects from U.S. directors Joe Berlinger, Ezra Edelman and Beth Murphy for buzzy premieres.

A film about American burlesque's Golden Age, League of Exotique Dancers, will open the 2016 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, organizers said Tuesday.

Canadian writer-director Rama Rau's doc about ageing striptease artists like Gina Bon Bon and Kitten Natividad who were once Las Vegas legends will receive a world premiere in Toronto. Giving a homegrown doc about the masters of tease the plum opening-night slot strays from recent years where Hot Docs debuted with Sundance titles like Tig and The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz. 

Toronto also booked buzzy premieres for O.J. Simpson: Made in America, with director Ezra Edelman and former ESPN ombudsman Robert Lipsyte attending, and Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru, with director Joe Berlinger and motivational speaker Robbins in town to introduce the film and answer audience questions.

Also headed to Toronto for an international premiere is Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four, Deborah Esquenazi's true crime story about four women who were wrongly tried and convicted in 1994 of a heinous assault on two young girls that will have its world bow at Tribeca.

The San Antonio Four -— Elizabeth Ramirez, Anna Vasquez, Cassandra Rivera and Kristie Mayhugh -— will be at Hot Docs along with the film's producer and director. Toronto also will give a world bow to under-the-radar films like Beth Murphy's What Tomorrow Brings, about an all-girls' school in a small Afghanistan village, and The Apology, director Tiffany Hsiung's film about three elderly women who were 'comfort women' in Asia during the Second World War.

In all, Hot Docs will screen 232 documentaries from 51 countries during its April 28 to May 8 run. The festival will also show its diversity badge by booking around 40 percent of its films by female directors, organizers said. There's also bookings for Jessie Deeter’s The Revolution Won’t Be Televised; Mehrdad Oskouei’s Starless Dreams, about seven women jailed in Iran; Maria Arlamovsky’s Future Baby; Toby Oppenheimer and Dana Flor’s Check It, about a gang of black LGBT youth; and Lou Pepe and Keith Fulton’s The Bad Kids, a portrait of vulnerable youth in the U.S.