'Moon' shot will launch Hot Docs '07


British filmmaker David Sington's "In the Shadow of the Moon," a film about the astronauts in the Apollo space program, will open this year's Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival on April 19, organizers said Tuesday.

The British documentary, which looks at nine men who walked on the moon, premiered at Sundance and is among a host of films exploring contemporary America booked for Toronto.

Other titles fitting the theme include the international premiere of Norwegian filmmaker Line Halvorsen's "USA vs Al-Arian," about the jailed activist and pro-Palestinian professor Sami Al-Arian; U.S. filmmaker Jennifer Venditti's "Billy the Kid," a portrait of a troubled 15-year-old boy in small-town Maine; and fellow U.S. filmmaker Irene Taylor Brodsky's "Hear and Now," which follows her deaf parents, Paul and Sally Taylor, going through risky implant surgery as elderly patients.

Also Toronto-bound is a world premiere for British filmmaker Oliver Hodge's "Garbage Warrior," a film about a visionary American architect who creates eco-friendly homes from refuse.

"Documentaries that agitate and educate are a big part of the mix, but we also have a range of other films from love stories to the playful," Hot Docs director of programming Sean Farnel said before outlining his lineup at a Toronto press conference.

In all, 129 films from 25 countries will unspool April 19-29 alongside an industry market and co-production conference with official delegations this year from Brazil, Italy and Germany.

The Canadian section at Hot Docs will feature world premieres of Albert Nerenberg's "Let's All Hate Toronto" and Jamie Kastner's "Kike Like Me," an idiosyncratic inquiry into how Jewish people are perceived worldwide, and the North American premiere of Debbie Melnyk's "Manufacturing Dissent," a controversial exposé about documentary filmmaker Michael Moore.

War and conflict remain perennial themes at Hot Docs, with the North American premiere of Israeli filmmaker Ido Haar's "9 Star Hotel," a portrait of Palestinian construction workers in Israel, and Canadian premieres for two U.S. films: Dan Struman's "Nanking," a look at the Japanese invasion of Nanking, China, and Sean Fine's "War/Dance," a film about former African child soldiers challenging each other in a dance competition.

Hot Docs also has booked U.S. filmmaker Risa Morimoto's "Wings of Defeat," a film about Japanese kamikaze pilots who lived to tell their tales firsthand after surviving wartime missions.

Hot Doc organizers said that the Toronto Documentary Forum will return April 25-26 for its eighth edition, with 30 documentary producers from 15 countries pitching a panel of international commissioning editors to finalize financing for their projects.