Tasha Hubbard’s ‘We Will Stand Up’ to open Hot Docs 2019

nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up
Hubbard leads a contingent of women directors that make up 54% of the work featured in the 26th edition of the festival.

Director Tasha Hubbard’s nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up will open the 2019 Hot Docs International Film Festival, leading a large roster of Canadian titles debuting there this year.

The high-profile festival today revealed the 234 films and 18 interdisciplinary projects from 56 countries participating in the 2019 edition. Hot Docs runs from April 25 to May 5 in Toronto.

Of the films selected, female directors make up 54% of the work featured, a slight increase from last year’s 50%.

A Hot Docs spokesperson noted that it believes Hubbard’s film is the first Indigenous-led project to open the festival. Nîpawistamâsowin (pictured) follows the case of Colten Boushie, a young Cree man who died in 2016 from a gunshot wound in an altercation. The doc questions the role of bias in the Canadian legal system, specifically in relation to Indigenous Canadians.

The doc was produced by Hubbard and George Hupka from Downstream Documentary  alongside the NFB’s Jon Montes and Bonnie Thompson. Exec producers on the project include the NFB’s David Christensen, Janice Dawe and Kathy Avrich-Johnson from Bizable Media.

Other docs selected to make their bow as part of the Canadian Spectrum lineup include: Rama Rau’s The Daughter Tree; Ingrid Veninger’s The World or Nothing; Matt Gallagher’s Prey; Phillip Pike’s Our Dance of Revolution; Megan Wennberg’s Drag Kids; Emily Gan’s Cavebirds; Chris Flanagan’s Shella Record — A Reggae Mystery; Shannon Walsh’s Illusions of Control; A Place of Tide and Time from directors Sebastien Rist and Aude Leroux-Levesque; Conviction from co-directors Ariella Pahlke, Nance Ackerman and Teresa MacInnes and River Silence from Rogerio Soares. Both Conviction and River Silence were produced with the NFB.

Presented in partnership with the NFB, the Redux section will celebrate the NFB’s 80th anniversary with two shorts programs: Oscar-Winning-Shorts and Five Feminist Minutes.

Five Feminist Minutes is a reboot of the NFB’s 1990 short film series of the same name. During the special edition of Five Feminist Minutes, Hot Docs will screen new NFB shorts inspired by the series, including: Radical from director Deanne Foley and writer Mary Walsh; Camera Test from Joyce Wong;  Alexandra Lazarowich’s Lake; and Ann Marie Fleming’s Question Period.

The section will also show New Shoes (1990) from Fleming, which screened as part of the original Five Feminist Minutes.

As previously announced, the Hot Docs Special Presentations program will world-premiere director Phyllis Ellis’ Toxic Beauty, Laurie Lynd’s Killing Patient Zero, John Walker’s Assholes: A Theory, Joan Tosoni and Martha Kehoe’s Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind and Laurence Mathieu-Leger’s Willie (U.S./Canada), a doc about Willie O’Ree, the first Black hockey player in the National Hockey League. Both O’Ree and Lightfoot will attend the festival as part of its Big Ideas speaker series, which offers thought-provoking documentaries with various notable guest speakers in attendance.

Building off of the festival’s 2018 Silence Breakers program, Hot Docs has introduced Persister, a program focused on supporting female filmmakers. For Hot Docs 2019, only one Canadian project, Baljit Dangra’s Because We Are Girls, will make its world premiere in the section. Produced by Selwyn Jacob and exec producer Shirley Vercrysse from the NFB, Because We Are Girls follows the story of a conservative Indo-Canadian family that tries to come to terms with a devastating secret.

Meanwhile, in the DocX program, Hot Docs will put on a live performance of Katerina Cizek’s project Supreme Law. Starring Canadian comedian Jus Reign (a.k.a. Jasmeet Raina) and other content creators, the NFB and Centre for Constitutional Studies production offers a satirical look at how the Canadian constitution came to be. Both the NFB’s David Christensen and Bonnie Thompson serve as producers on Cizek’s project. Additionally, writer/director Karen Chapman’s short doc, They Should Be Flowers, will make its world premiere in the section.

Other Canadian projects in world-premiering in the festival’s program include: director Aisha Jamal’s A Kandahar Way (Canada) and Jason DaSliva’s When We Walk (Canada/U.S.) in the World Showcase section; Jamie Kastner’s There Are No Fakes (Canada) in the festival’s Artscapes; Propaganda: The Art of Selling Lies (Canada/Germany) from director Larry Weinstein in Making Believe.

Finally, the Focus On program will honour the work of Canadian filmmaker Julia Ivanova with a  world premiere screening of the director’s new film, My Dads, My Moms and Me. Created with the assistance of the Telus Storyhive’s 100K edition, the doc revisits a non-traditional family comprised of three gay fathers, two lesbian mothers and five children, who took part in Ivanova’s 2007 film Fatherhood Dreams. Other docs from Ivanova set for the festival include Limit Is The Sky (2016), Love Translated (2010) and Family Portrait in Black and White (2011).