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3 Hot Docs filmmakers on their favourite film (and why you should see theirs)

Toronto’s Hot Docs Festival wrapped up this past Sunday. I hear it was a screaming success.

In the spirit of “better late than never”, here are mini-interviews with 3 NFB filmmakers whose films were presented at the festival this year. I asked the 3 filmmakers the same 3 questions:

1. What is your favourite film of all times and why?
2. With everything going on at Hot Docs, why we should watch your film?
3. What is your favourite thing about Hot Docs?

Here is what Shannon Walsh (St-Henri, the 26th of August), Stéphanie Lanthier (Les Fros) and Fernando Rohan (Chocolate Farmer) had to answer. The interviews were led via email.


1. An impossible question to answer! But I would say a cross between Close-Up by Abbas Kiarostami, Happy Together by Wong Kar-Wai, Century of the Self by Adam Curtis, and Pour la suite du monde by Michel Brault and Pierre Perrault.

2. St-Henri, the 26th of August brings the global issues around us back home, right into the neighbourhoods in which we live. It reminds us of all the hidden stories and worlds that are right beside us, if we take the time to look…..It is a film unlike any other you will see at the festival, taking a totally unique approach to storytelling and the art of documentary making.

3. I love Hot Docs for the emphasis on the creative people behind the films. The films I see and the discussions at Hot Docs inspire and provoke me, and I leave here with new ideas and new energy. And the audiences are just incredible!!


1. Les ordres (Orderers, in English) by Michel Brault. There are many reasons to justify my choice. First of all, very few other film makers have committed themselves to documenting the questions that touch the conflictual relations between Québec’s history and its national identity, social memory and nationhood. The question of the arrests during the October Crisis of 1970 is, in my opinion, among the traumatic memories that we must still cope with today. In addition, the cinematography and his filming technique for occasionally making fiction appear as reality are rather remarkable. There are many poignant moments throughout this wonderful film offering a glance at these self-defining relationships in a state of crisis.

2. To have fun in the forest where Alexander the Great is reincarnated into the body and spirit of a young African. This film allows one to reflect on québécois identity because the deals with transculturality. Furthermore, through the tales of the three main characters (Antonie,Gérard, et Mamadou), we are connected to an unknown world, that of the modern day lumberjacks (the brush cutters of the North).

3. The buffets! They were incredible! But seriously, the socializing among filmmakers, the exposure to foreign films, and the kindness of your staff and volunteers were the most beautiful and memorable moments of the festival… oh, and finally, the numerous discussions concerning the federal elections! On a personal note, I would like to thank Hot Docs for allowing me to bring a translator, which allowed me a better and more profound Hot Docs experience!!


1. I don’t have a single favourite film. I have a few at the top of the list for various reasons– but if I have to name one I would say Blue from the “Three Colours Trilogy” by Kiezlowski. He was a Polish documentarian that made dramatic films later in his life. The film is beautiful and profound and stays with you like a piece of music that you have to re-listen to every once in a while.

2. I’ve seen some pretty amazing films this year at Hot Docs– but none of them have Eladio Pop (the Chocolate Farmer). He’s an extraordinary man and worth the price of admission.

3. My favourite thing about Hot Docs are the world class films you get to see in a theatrical venue.

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