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Hot Docs 2024 #1: 12 Docs We Can’t Wait to Check Out!

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Hot Docs Film Festival

After spending several days poring over the full slate of 168 films unspooling at this year’s fest, we’ve whittled our to-see list down to a (somewhat) more manageable 80-ish titles. Of those, we’ve already got a dozen feature-length docs asterisked as “OMG, can’t wait to check these ones out!”:

7 Beats Per Minute
We can’t resist docs about free divers (see also: surfers! skateboarders! climbers! BASE jumpers!), and have checked out every one that’s out there. So, this profile of free diver Jessea Lu is essentially documentary catnip.

American Cats: The Good, the Bad, and the Cuddly
Speaking of catnip… this doc investigating the practice of declawing — with Amy Hoggart as its guide — was an immediate “yep!” for us cat lovers (and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee fans) at the ‘Pie.

Billy & Molly: An Otter Love Story
Based on what we’ve heard from other fests, we’re pretty sure this tale of the tender friendship forged between an ailing otter and the Scottish family who nurse her back to health will make our hearts swell at least five sizes. (And will almost certainly make us cry.)

Curl Power
Be they rockers or activists or athletes, stories of young women kicking ass and blazing trails always make it on our to-see lists, and this film about a group of British Columbia teens shooting for a curling championship is no exception.

Eternal You
We lurrrve science-and-technology docs and, in recent years, the fest has featured a number of terrific (and sometimes terrifying) films about the latest game-changing advancements. This exploration of one company’s use of AI to digitally “resurrect” people who have died sounds right up our alley.

Every Little Thing
We really enjoyed director Sally Aitken’s profile of shark expert Valerie Taylor (which we saw at Hot Docs 2021), so knowing she’s behind this profile of hummingbird expert Terry Masear instantly earned it a spot on our list.

Family Tree
We love docs about the environment. We love docs about families. We love David vs. Goliath stories. We love verité. Unsurprisingly, earmarking this film — which includes all four of those things as it tells the story of a pair of Black families fighting for sustainable forestry in North Carolina — was a no-brainer.

Fly
Did we mention how much we love documentaries about thrill-seekers? As such, this film chronicling three BASE-jumping couples as they risk their lives around the globe immediately landed on our to-see list.

Look Into My Eyes
Believer or not, the world of psychic mediums is fascinating subject matter, so this fly-on-the-wall look at several NYC mediums offering to connect clients with their dearly departed friends and family piqued our interest right away.

My Dad’s Tapes
Over the years at Hot Docs, we’ve seen a bunch of brilliant family-centric docs — including Sam Now (in 2018) and The Mountains (in 2023) — that were assembled from old photos and home movies, and it feels like this one may be yet another gem in that vein.

So This is Christmas
This one had us at “humbug.” Director Ken Wardrop’s examination of the challenges faced by various Irish households amid the not-always-happy holiday season sounds like exactly the kind of wry, heart-tugging and heartwarming fare we love in a doc.

Whatever It Takes
Add “unbelievable cyber-crimes and capers” to the list of documentary subjects we definitely dig, which is why we’re super-psyched to take in this exposé about the 2019 “eBay stalking scandal.”

For tickets, passes, info and more, visit the official Hot Docs website!

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