Hot Docs 2022 #1: 10 Films We’re Psyched to See!

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Hot Docs 2022 is just over a week away and, after poring through the entire list of 226 films screening at the fest, I’ve narrowed down my to-see list to a modest 76. (Gulp.)

Sure, it includes a whole bunch of the docs already earning pre-fest buzz (Still Working 9 to 5? Kids in the Hall: Comedy Punks? I’m looking at you…), but I’ve also earmarked a bunch of docs that may be flying under the radar.

Pigeons? Rockers? Genetics? Junk? I am IN. Here are the 10 films I’m most excited to check out:

Anyone who’s ever read ANY of my Hot Docs coverage before knows how much I love music-themed films, so it’s no surprise I’d be all over this Icelandic year-in-the-life offering about a trio of struggling musicians who decide to pursue fame (or, at least, diminished obscurity) one last time before packing it in.

Dio: Dreamers Never Die
Arguably one of the most iconic figures from the 1970s and ’80s metal scenes, Ronnie James Dio is a bonafide musical legend.  So, I’m totally into finding out more about the man behind the voice (and the hair and the dragons)!

Uh, have you SEEN the trailer? ‘Nuff said.

Handle With Care: The Legend of the Notic Streetball Crew
This doc about a young, super-talented, diverse and largely unknown (unless you were in-the-know) Vancouver streeetball team feels like it has all the elements needed to become a fest fan fave.

Make People Better
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love docs that make me feel like I get a teeny bit smarter just for having watched. And I’m hoping this thriller about genome-edited embryos proves to be a fascinating and informative successor to one of my brain-food faves from Hot Docs 2019: Human Nature.

Million Dollar Pigeons
I’m pretty sure I’ve seen just about every competition-themed documentary ever to screen at the festival (and anywhere else, for that matter). So, me gleefully checking out a film about competitive pigeon-racing is a total no-brainer.

Nelly & Nadine
This film — about the WWII concentration-camp love affair between an opera singer and a Chinese-ambassador’s daughter — would have been a must-see for me even if it hadn’t been programmed by Myrocia Watamaniuk. But it was, which is a sign that a fabulous doc likely awaits. (Hot tip: Myrocia’s picks are always solid.)

Eco-themed docs will always land on my to-see list, and this one — about people around the world  upcycling and/or restoring old machinery and equipment in new and inventive ways — has my name all over it.

The Thief Collector
Sometimes, amid all the serious, heavy, crying-headache-inducing docs, it’s nice to have a lighthearted palate cleanser. That’s why I’m looking forward to this heist film about a seemingly mild-mannered New Mexico couple who stole a $160-million painting (and who knows what else!) in the 1980s.

TikTok, Boom.
TikTok has, much to the simultaneous delight and dismay of millions of people around the world, become ubiquitous. It feels like it’s everywhere. So, as someone who isn’t a fan, I’m all-in on a doc about its (maybe?) sinister machinations.

What We Will Have Been
Last year, I fell hard for a beautifully poignant and unforgettable (it STILL haunts me, a year later!) little Danish doc called It is Not Over Yet. This German film about love and loss feels like it might be of the same ilk. I’ll have my Kleenex handy, just in case.

Check back for reviews of all of the above — and TONS more Hot Docs films — starting on April 27th!


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