Have you seen Don McKellar?

Hot Docs 2013 Preview Pt. 3


Here One Day
World Showcase

Kathy Leichter’s mother has been dead for 16 years. She lives now in the house her mother lived in, and has done nothing yet to change or remove the window from which her mother jumped out of when she decided to kill herself. Until now as well, Kathy has keep untouched the box of audio diaries her mother kept leading up to her death.

Leichter’s film, her directorial debut, investigates mental illness, interviews her family, and listens to her mother’s recordings for the first time. In open and honest discussions, she and her family cope with the loss of her mother and wonder what, if anything could have been done to help a woman that was internally suffering and could not carry on. There are tears and arguments and regrets, and one son ponders why he didn’t make more of an effort to see his mom before she passed.

Each and every time you hear a recording of Nina play, it’s haunting and affecting. She knows something is wrong, yet she is honest, loving, and still able to laugh and crack jokes.

Raw, emotional, and unprecedented, Leichter’s film is startling and sad, chronicling a family’s lengthy grieving process, and their powerful attempt at closure.

Wed, May 1
6:30 PM – Scotiabank 4
Fri, May 3 6:00 PM – TIFF Bell Lightbox 3

[star v=35]

The Defector: Escape from North Korea
World Showcase

What unites many of the great documentaries this year is the ability by the filmmaker to gain remarkable access and capture something special in that precise moment. The Defector takes this is an even more amazing level. Filmmaker Ann Shin catalogs Dragon, a Korean defector turned human smuggler, as he works another escape from the brutal totalitarian state. Dragon, as well as a pair of women who are among those smuggled, agree to be followed and interviewed, with their identities partially concealed, and they seek to move from their secret location in China across the border to Laos and eventually Thailand, were they can claim status as refugees.

Recreating some of the process through clever point-of-view perspective, Shin uncovers both the motives and means for what Dragon and his colleagues do. There is not only danger for those smuggling and smuggled, but their families as well, with capture risked every step of the way. In one of the many chilling moments, the group is driving in a van along the highway just as police pass by to pull over a van of the same type.

The film is smartly crafted, humanizing and intimate, and with life and death hanging in the balance, always unpredictable.

Sat, Apr 27
9:00 PM – Scotiabank 4
Mon, Apr 29 3:30 PM – Scotiabank 3
Sat, May 4 6:30 PM – The Regent

[star v=4]

William and the Windmill
Rule Breakers and Innovators

Thankfully not everything is alarming or depressing at the festival. William and the Windmill looks to balance out all those documentaries with something inspiring and uplifting. A story that is already in book form gets the documentary treatment, following an idealistic and ingenious 14-year-old William Kamkwamba, a young man who is full of charm and authenticity.

William sets out to harness energy and power his humble Malawian village, and so, using a random assortment of junk and scraps, he creates nothing short of a spectacular windmill. Beautifully shot, this stunning film not only showcases determination and imagination, but what happens when a young man becomes a figure on the world stage, and how fame affects and influences, and what it affords.

Fri, Apr 26
9:00 PM – Scotiabank 4
Sun, Apr 28 11:00 AM – Isabel Bader Theatre
Fri, May 3 7:00 PM – Fox Theatre

[star v=4]

Anthony Marcusa

A pop-culture consumer, Anthony seeks out what is important in entertainment and mocks what is not. Inspired by history, Anthony writes with the hope that someone, somewhere, might be affected.