Hot Docs Preview: Phenomenal Organs, Fearless Teen Activists Propel Fab Festival

Pipe Dreams

Five young organists from around the world compete for a $100,000 prize at Montreal’s Notre Dame Basilica at Canada’s International Organ Competition. Director Stacey Tenenbaum (Shiners) focuses on the personalities, including an African-American youth with a winner’s swagger, a Chinese woman who studies Tai Chi with her coach, a father and a young German teen prodigy. Some more history of this grandly complex instrument or explanation of the judging would have been welcome, but this works well enough as an entertainingly edited competition film. Screening: Tue, Apr 30, 9 pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox 3; Fri, May 3, 10 am, Isabel Bader Theatre. – Liam Lacey


The Infiltrators

A heroic story to shame xenophobes, The Infiltrators portrays how, in 2012, a group of undocumented teenaged immigrants hatched a plan to get their members deliberately imprisoned in Florida’s for-profit Broward Transitional Centre. They used their people on the inside to help other detainees, some of whom had spent years without any legal help or charges against them. Mixing extensive re-enactments, news footage, phone recordings and live interviews with the participants, The Infiltrators tells a great story that should be better known. How this hasn’t been snapped up as a Hollywood script is a mystery. Screening Sun, May 5, 10:15 am, TIFF Bell Lightbox 2. – LL

Wait! We’ve got heaps more Hot Docs capsule reviews (and this stand-alone) plus director interviews!

More on Hot Docs including ticketing info.

Hot Docs Preview: Mystify Michael Hutchence a Powerful Glimpse at the Price of Fame


Mystify: Michael Hutchence

There is something profoundly melancholic about Mystify: Michael Hutchence and not just because the INXS frontman died at age 37. He seemed like such a nice guy, the antithesis of the peripatetic rock star. Filmmaker Richard Lowenstein — who knew Hutchence through directing INXS videos — never takes his subject off the screen, swapping typical sit-downs with friends and family for voice-overs while archival, home movie, and concert footage rolls. Viewers are pulled straight into Hutchence’s charismatic orbit, and his eventual decline feels raw. The recollections of ex-girlfriends Michele Bennett, Kylie Minogue and Helena Christensen drive the film’s key sections, notably Christensen’s revelation that Hutchence suffered a traumatic (and at the time, unreported) brain injury during an altercation with a cab driver in Copenhagen in summer 92. Though initially taken to hospital, the singer was released without proper treatment, suffering a complete loss of olfactory senses while morphing into an uncharacteristically hostile version of himself. His doomed romance with Paula Yates, who died of a heroin overdose three years after Hutchence’s death, comes off more sad than scandalous. Screening: Mon, Apr 29, 9:15 pm, Hart House Theatre; Wed, May 1 10:00 am, TIFF Bell Lightbox 1; Sun, May 5, 1:15 pm TIFF Bell Lightbox 1. – Kim Hughes

Wait! We’ve got heaps more Hot Docs capsule reviews and director interviews!

Hot Docs: What We've Seen (and What You Should See) At the Biggest Event in Documentaries

By Jim Slotek, Liam Lacey, Kim Hughes, Thom Ernst, Karen Gordon and Bonnie Laufer

Read More