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Bob Marley Definitive Doc as well as James Franco’s Soap Days Anchor This Year’s #HOTDOCS12

Fresh off the launch of the new Bloor HotDocs Cinema comes the announcement of this year’s lineup for the upcoming Hot Docs 2012 Festival. A must stop on the Documentary Festival circuit, HotDocs has long brought films that would have otherwise never been seen to the forefront. In fact, I would say that its presence is one of the reasons that we are in a bit of a documentary renaissance with this alternative style of filmmaking getting as much hype as the more traditional fare around the Oscars.

Personally I am a huge fan of the genre and am quite frankly a sucker for a good documentary, (I am looking at you Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey).

This year’s lineup of the 19th year of the festival, which takes place April 26th – May 6th, features some of the most highly anticipated documentaries to come in recent memory. I for one have been very eager to see Kevin Macdonald‘s ‘definitive’ bio on Bob Marley. James Franco also makes an appearance with his doc Francophrenia (Or: Don’t Kill Me, I Know Where the Baby Is)”; Theo Fleury‘s battle with booze, drugs and gambling as he confronts his ghosts in Matt Embry and Larry Day’s “Theo Fleury: Playing with Fire” is also a must-watch; and a chronicle of LCD Soundsystem’s final days and farewll concert in “Shut Up And Play the Hits” gives us a unique look at the end of a musical era.

The festival kicks off April 26 with director Alison Klayman’s debut feature documentary, “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry,” a portrait of the Chinese artist and activist with the Canadian side of things anchored by  several sports-themed films, including Ariel J. Nasr’s “The Boxing Girls of Kabul,” Carlo Guillermo Proto’s horse-riding tale “El Huaso” and Corey Lee’s martial arts father-son story “Legend of a Warrior.”

Oh Look! A press release:

HOT DOCS ANNOUNCES 2012 LINE UP – 189 DOCUMENTARIES FROM A RECORD 51 COUNTRIES

 Toronto, March 20 – Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festivalannounced its full film line-up for the upcoming 19th edition, April 26-May 6, at a press conference this morning at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema in Toronto. From 2,085 film submissions, this year’s slate will present 189 titles from a record 51 countries in 11 screening programs.“This is a big year for Hot Docs. With a new cinema we are committing more so than ever to documentary film as a force to be reckoned with,” says Hot Docs director of programming Charlotte Cook. “With the largest country representation the Festival has ever had, we will be hearing many new voices from all over the world. It’s wonderful to be able to bring such a great range of films to Toronto audiences, to champion documentary in a city that truly supports documentary as an art form.”In addition to the opening night Canadian premiere of Alison Klayman’s AI WEIWEI: NEVER SORRY, an up-close portrait at of the renowned Chinese activist and artist, other notable films in the Special Presentations program include: Bart Layton’s THE IMPOSTER, which depicts a lost and found boy who may not be who he claims; James Swirsky and Lisanne Pajot’s INDIE GAME: THE MOVIE, a look into the lives of video game developers; Lauren Greenfield’s THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES, a portrait of an eccentric billionaire family facing the economic crisis; Kevin Macdonald’s MARLEY, the definitive biography of reggae artist Bob Marley; Christian Bonke and Andreas Koefoed’s BALLROOM DANCER, a look at a Latin ballroom champion’s ambitious comeback plans; and Yung Chang’s CHINA HEAVYWEIGHT, an intimate portrayal of a boxing coach training poor teens in rural China.In the competitive Canadian Spectrum program, notable films include: Christy Garland’s THE BASTARD SINGS THE SWEETEST SONG, the story of a tumultuous mother-son relationship in Guyana; Omar Majeed and Ryan Mullins’ THE FROG PRINCES, the story of a developmentally challenged theatre group’s struggle to mount an ambitious production; Angad Singh Bhalla’s HERMAN’S HOUSE, a trip through the years with jailed Black Panther activist Herman Wallace; and Jonah Bekhor and Zach Math’s THE FINAL MEMBER, which looks at Iceland’s penis museum’s search for a critical artifact.In the competitive International Spectrum program, notable films include: Bill Ross and Turner Ross’ TCHOUPITOULAS, the adventures of three teenagers exploring the heart of New Orleans at night; Ra’anan Alexandrowicz’s THE LAW IN THESE PARTS, a candid glimpse into the legal minds behind the rules and regulations governing the Occupied Territories; Elizabeth Mims and Jason Tippet’s ONLY THE YOUNG, a look at a last stolen summer of first loves; and Sean McAllister’s THE RELUCTANT REVOLUTIONARY, a portrait of a tour guide caught in the 2011 uprising in Yemen’s capital.In the World Showcase program, notable films include: Tiffany Sudela-Junker’s MY NAME IS FAITH, the story of a 12-year-old girl’s struggle to overcome trauma and accept her adopted family; Beth Murphy’s THE LIST, which reveals an American’s crusade for refuge for his Iraqi colleagues; Alessandro Comodin’s SUMMER OF GIACOMO, a 19-year-old deaf boy spends a summer day with a childhood friend; and Peter Gerdehag’s WOMEN WITH COWS, the story of two sisters and their complicated relationship with a dozen cows.The Made In Southeastern Europe program includes: Lena Müller and Dragan von Petrovic’s DRAGAN WENDE – WEST BERLIN, about West Berlin in 1970s and now as seen through a working-class Serbian émigré; Ed Moschitz’s MAMA ILLEGAL, a glimpse into the lives of Moldovan women who struggle to support their families; and András Kollmann’s STRONG – A RECOVERY STORY, about a mountaineer whose desire to climb does not fade following a catastrophic injury.The Next program includes: Will Lovelace and Dylan Southern’s SHUT UP AND PLAY THE HITS, where LCD Soundsystem front-man James Murphy’s bids farewell to his fans; Poull Brien’s CHARLES BRADLEY: SOUL OF AMERICA, a heart-warming story of a 62-year-old illiterate James Brown impersonator from Brooklyn; Maya Gallus’ THE MYSTERY OF MAZO DE LA ROCHE, a look at the mysterious life of the Canadian author; and Sylvia Caminer’s AN AFFAIR OF THE HEART, a peek into the world of devoted Rick Springfield fans.

The Rise Against program includes: Brian Knappenberger’s WE ARE LEGION: THE STORY OF THE HACKTIVISTS, a radical collective’s fight that redefined civil disobedience; Guy Davidi and Emad Burnat’s 5 BROKEN CAMERAS, a portrait of a West Bank village threatened by an encroaching Israeli settlement; and Petr Lom’s BACK TO THE SQUARE, a look at citizens in post-revolution Egypt.

The Nightvision program includes: Chris James Thompson’s JEFF, a biography of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer; Mary Kerr’s RADIOMAN, the story of Radioman, a fixture in the NYC film scene; and James Franco and Ian Olds’ FRANCOPHRENIA (OR: DON’T KILL ME, I KNOW WHERE THE BABY IS, a wild behind-the-scenes doc with James Franco on General Hospital.

The Documentary Plays Itself program includes: Phie Ambo’s GAMBLER, which follows director Nicholas Winding Refn as he shoots sequels of his cult classic; Louis Pepe and Keith Fulton’s LOST IN LA MANCHA, which captures Terry Gilliam’s ill-fated attempt to film the Don Quixote story; and Thom Andersen’s LOS ANGELES PLAYS ITSELF, a look at how Los Angeles is depicted on film.

Additionally, Hot Docs is pleased to present two retrospective programs: Focus On John Kastner, a mid-career retrospective of the Emmy Award-winning director’s work; and the Outstanding Achievement Award Retrospective, honouring the influential work of masterful Québécois filmmaker Michel Brault.

Also a premier documentary conference and market, Hot Docs will be welcoming over 2000 industry delegates who will partake in a wide array of industry events and services, including conferences sessions, receptions and parties, Rendezvous meetings, The Doc Shop and the Hot Docs Forum, May 2 and 3.

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Hot Docs (www.hotdocs.ca) is North America’s largest documentary festival, conference and market. From April 26 to May 6, Hot Docs’ 19th edition will present an outstanding selection of 189 documentaries from Canada and around the world to Toronto audiences and international delegates. Hot Docs will also mount a full roster of conference sessions and market events and services for documentary practitioners, including the renowned Hot Docs Forum, May 2 and 3, and The Doc Shop. In partnership with Blue Ice Group, Hot Docs operates the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, a century-old landmark located in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood.

The Hot Docs documentary Box Office, newly located at 783 Bathurst Street, is open for advance ticket and pass sales. Tickets can be purchased in person, online at www.hotdocs.ca, or by phone at 416-637-5150. Single tickets to screenings are $14.50 each. Late night screenings (after 11 p.m.) are $5 each or $10 for an All-You-Can-Eat Late Night Pass (one ticket to each of the nine screenings). A Festival 10-Pack is $115, a Festival 20-Pack is $205, and a Bloor Cinema All Access Pass is $115. Courtesy of Scotiabank, Hot Docs offers free tickets for all screenings before 6 p.m. to seniors (60+) and students with valid photo I.D. at the venue box offices on the day of the screening (subject to availability).