The Best of Hot Docs Celebrates Works by Two of Manitoba’s Unique Filmmaking Talents and Much More: Lauren MacDiarmid, National Screen Institute

Oct 21, 2011 | Corporate Member News

Hot Docs and partners the National Screen Institute, On Screen Manitoba and DOC Winnipeg are pleased to present The Best of Hot Docs, a weekend of documentary screenings on Friday, November 11 through to Sunday, November 13 at the Winnipeg Film Group’s Cinematheque, 100 Arthur Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba.

The Best of Hot Docs celebrates the Winnipeg premiere of four sold-out hits from this year’s Hot Docs lineup and works by two of Manitoba’s own unique documentary filmmaking talents.

The Best of Hot Docs passes (one ticket to each of the five screenings) are $25 and are now available for purchase in-person at the On Screen Manitoba office, 003-100 Arthur Street or by phone at 204-927-5898. Individual tickets are $9 and will go on sale October 24.

Screening times and descriptions for The Best of Hot Docs appear below. In some cases, filmmakers or subjects may be in attendance for post-screening discussions.

Hell & Back Again

D: Danfung Dennis | UK, USA | 88 min
Friday, November 11 at 7 p.m.

“Four stars… one of the best-looking docs I’ve seen in years” – NOW Magazine

Danfung Dennis was a photojournalist covering the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan when he had a revelation.

“I found that I was unable to capture the brutal realities on the ground,” he told indieWIRE. “The public was numb to these same images of war and the traditional media outlets were not committed to their coverage of the conflicts.”

Customizing gear built for still photography, he returned to Afghanistan with the intention of conveying what he witnessed as honestly and truthfully as possible.

The result is one of the great recent films about war, a visually arresting and intimately powerful story of soldiers in battle and at home, that does the impossible: it shakes our shell-shocked senses with the brutal realities of war and the profundity of human resilience, love and compassion.


D: John Paskievich | Canada (Manitoba) | 89 min
Saturday, November 12, at 2 p.m.

“Touching, articulate…a fascinating introduction and overview of stuttering’s bewildering nature” – Uptown

Stuttering is as old as human speech. Moses stuttered. Winston Churchill, Marilyn Monroe, King George VI, Tiger Woods and Julia Roberts were afflicted with the disorder – and so is the director of this film.

In a deeply personal quest to understand a medical enigma, award-winning documentarian John Paskievich leads us through the maze of treatments, theories, attempted cures and frustrations experienced by people who stutter.

Children tell heartbreaking tales about being stigmatized by teachers and picked on by peers; adults talk about how stuttering has shaped their identities.

Paskievich himself reveals the humiliation he experienced when doing radio and television interviews during a cross-Canada retrospective tour of his films.

With this powerful and moving film, Paskievich breaks the silence about this hidden disorder and makes a “call for liberation, not from stuttering, but the ignorance and stigma that surround it.”

Screening with:

Fahrenheit 7-Eleven

D: Walter Forsberg | Canada (Manitoba) | 14 min

On a fateful night in 1985, Burton Cummings of The Guess Who fame entered a 7/11 and left bloodied and battered, scorning his hometown as ‘Negativipeg.’

This urban legend is retold by an eclectic group of Winnipeg residents, participating in dramatic re-enactments that bring humour and hubris to a city that is its own worst enemy. Part one of the Burton Cycle is pure Winnipeg folklore.

You’ve Been Trumped

D: Anthony Baxter | UK | 95 min
Saturday, November 12, at 8 p.m.

“A political hot potato…(a) David vs. Goliath tale” – The Hollywood Reporter

Donald Trump is not a subtle man. So when the tycoon developer sets out to build the world’s most luxurious golf resort, he naturally picks the bonniest seaside village in Scotland – the birthplace of the sport – as his proposed site.

Nestled between ancient sand dunes and rolling greens, the picturesque town of Balmedie seems perfect, aside from a handful of residents who immediately worry over the impact the mammoth project will have on their beloved natural habitat.

When farmer Michael Forbes refuses to sell his land to make way for the shovels, Trump’s goodwill publicity appearances turn into all-out declarations of war.

As work literally threatens to bulldoze forward, locals dig in and document what they see as strong-arm tactics and a distinctly American bullying campaign.

Filmmaker Anthony Baxter personally braves the battle’s front lines, the police and the Donald himself in this down and dirty development exposé.

Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey

D: Constance Marks (Director), Philip Shane (Co-Director) | USA | 76 min
Sunday, November 13 at 2 p.m.

“An inspiring and joyous celebration of art, skill, determination and making kids happy” – New York Post

This Sundance Special Jury Prize winner is heart-warming and fun for the whole family.

Being Elmo is the inspiring story of how a shy nine-year-old Kevin Clash pursued his dream of becoming a puppeteer on Sesame Street.

Raised in a low-income community, Clash’s talents were evident in his homemade prototypes and the puppet shows he staged for his mother’s daycare kids. But it was after his first gig on a local children’s TV show that he was truly on the path.

Featuring exclusive behind-the-scenes access at Sesame Street, Being Elmo captures the magic created by Jim Henson, and is a tribute to Henson’s legacy and the community of puppeteers who’ve enchanted generations of children around the world.

The Guantanamo Trap

D: Thomas Selim Wallner | Germany, Canada, Switzerland | 90 min
Winner! Special Jury Prize (Canadian Feature), Hot Docs 2011
Sunday, November 13 at 8 p.m.

“Forces us to see the U.S. military prison in Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay from a fresh angle” – Maclean’s

The Guantanamo Trap is a vital addition to a growing catalogue of documentaries emerging from the War on Terror, highlighting four interconnected biographies that reveal the impact of gross injustice.

Murat Kurnaz, a German of Turkish heritage, spent five years at the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

He was released in 2006 without trial, after suffering years of torture. In the same year, Matthew Diaz, Judge Advocate for the US Navy, was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment after releasing the names of detainees.

His colleague, Diane Beaver, gained notoriety as the author of a legal document better known as ‘the torture memo.’ Tying these characters together is Gonzalo Boye, a Spanish lawyer driven to hold power to account.

This provocative study of humanity and democracy, and how easily they’re corrupted under pressure, is a testament to the times.

The Best of Hot Docs is generously supported by presenting partner Citytv, media sponsor Winnipeg Free Press, and sponsors Rogers Group of Funds and Ford.

Hot Docs, North America’s largest documentary festival, conference and market, will present its 19th annual edition from April 26 – May 6, 2012. An outstanding selection of 150+ documentaries from Canada and around the world will be presented 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 and The Doc Shop.

In partnership with Blue Ice Film, Hot Docs operates the recently acquired Bloor Cinema, a century-old landmark located in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood. Hot Docs is proud to include Scotiabank Group, Rogers Group of Funds, Telefilm Canada and documentary as its Presenting Partners.

The National Screen Institute is widely known for its prestigious training programs for Canadian writers, directors and producers working in film, television and digital media. Most programs are part-time so students keep their day jobs while they train. Participants do not have to relocate – intensive training happens in one place and participants return home to work with a mentor for the rest of their program. All training is delivered by senior industry experts.

On Screen Manitoba is a dynamic non-profit, membership-driven association that has been leading, building and representing Manitoba’s screen-based media industry since 1987 through advocacy, industry development programming and communications.

DOC Winnipeg is the Manitoba chapter of the Documentary Organization of Canada which is the leading organization representing documentary film and video makers in Canada.

Media contacts

Lauren MacDiarmid, National Screen Institute
Email: [email protected] 
Phone: 204-957-2999

Bill Alexander, Hot Docs
Email: [email protected] 
Phone: 416-203-2155 x251

About the National Screen Institute – Canada:

The National Screen Institute – Canada (NSI) is a non-profit organization with headquarters in Winnipeg. We are Canada’s national film, television and digital media training school for writers, directors and producers. Training is anchored in the philosophy that the best way to learn is by doing.

Contact us or see a map of where we’re located 

Our market-driven training programs have led to employment and successful careers for graduates by giving them a competitive edge. According to the 2008 NSI alumni survey, 96% of respondents are working in the film and TV industry.

  • Training programs are led by experts in film, television and digital media – they deliver workshops and seminars and mentor participants. 
  • Participants do not pay tuition fees or relocate.
  • Training is intensive. Participants train in one centre for a short period and then return home to work with local mentors on their projects under the leadership of the program manager.

Find out about all the training programs provided by the National Screen Institute.

After more than 24 years of training and with over 620 alumni, NSI continues to develop and deliver training to meet the industry’s needs. We produce works that:

  • appeal to Canadians
  • help advance careers that will grow the Canadian industry and contribute to the regional and national economies stimulating employment for the long term.

NSI leads in the design and delivery of programs that provide training to Canada’s visible minority and Aboriginal screen professionals.

NSI also commits to showcasing Canadian short films and providing professional development resources online.

Visit the NSI site here.

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