ezra winton

20 Questions for Film Curators

Posted by in Art, Cinema, Culture and Politics, Festivals

This past winter I taught a graduate seminar course at Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema (Concordia University) entitled “Curatorial Practices and the Politics of Programming.” It was a fantastic and meaningful experience and I was fortunate enough to have 13 engaged students, all of whom suffered along with me as I attempted to make sense of my overly-ambitious and newly minted syllabus. After a few weeks of the course and after several discussions around programming ethics, responsibilities, practices, and outcomes, we decided to compile a list of questions that someone curating or programming film might…read more

Hot Docs 22: CanCon and BrandCon

Posted by in Cinema, Doc Side, Festivals

North America’s largest and most sweeping doc-deluge, the Canadian International Hot Docs Festival, is once again in full swing, and the moment wouldn’t be complete, for me at least, without some form of commentary that assesses this institutional giant as it marks another year. In that spirit and as with past “taking stock” previews (2014 is here, 2013 is here and 2012 is here) of Hot Docs, I humbly present my take on this year’s fest, divided into three Sergio Leone-inspired sections: what’s promising, what’s looking like a fixer-upper, and…read more

Hot Docs 2014 preview: politically punchy program, but diversity concerns persist

Posted by in Cinema, Doc Side, Festivals

It’s springtime in Toronto and that means Canada’s premiere documentary showcase is back for another jam-packed ten day event that will deliver the world of doc to eager local audiences and international festivalgoers. This is Hot Docs‘s first year with new Executive Director Brett Hendrie steering the ship (Chris McDonald is now overseeing the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema) and it looks like Hendrie has continued his predecessor’s legacy of putting on huge, popular and energized festivals. In particular, the Hot Docs talks this year look fantastic, with discussions around environmental…read more

Hot Docs turns twenty

Posted by in Art Threat, Festivals

IT WAS TWENTY YEARS AGO TODAY It was a year like any other – the ceremonial swap between less liberal and more liberal leader of the US took place when Clinton picked up where Bush left off (launching a cruise missile attack on Iraq just half a year into his term and fine-tuning the ongoing regime of domestic and international deregulation for the next eight), Czechoslovakia emitted more post-Soviet fragmentation moans and became two independent states, North Korea announced its imminent withdrawal from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and Canada saw…read more

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Hot Docs turns twenty

Posted by in Cinema, Doc Side, Festivals

Twenty years ago today, it was a year like any other. The ceremonial swap between less liberal and more liberal leader of the United States took place when Clinton picked up where Bush left off (launching a cruise missile attack on Iraq just half a year into his term and fine-tuning the ongoing regime of domestic and international deregulation for the next eight), Czechoslovakia emitted more post-Soviet fragmentation moans and became two independent states, North Korea announced its imminent withdrawal from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and Canada saw the four-month…read more

Russian LGBT Film Fest pushes ahead despite attacks

Posted by in Art Threat, Festivals, Interviews

It is an extreme act of bravery and commitment to put on a queer film festival in many parts of the world, where the cultural politics of film festivals play out in ugly and often violent manifestations of hatred and ignorance. Homophobia is rampant the world over, but in countries like Russia the fear and hatred leveled against queer compatriots is often given state-sanctioned space to flourish and impinge on the rights of others. Gay pride parades in Russia and many locations throughout the former Soviet block have become battlegrounds…read more

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Hot Docs 2012

Posted by in Art Threat, Doc Side, Festivals

This article was originally published on Art Threat. The 19th edition of North America’s largest documentary showcase and one of the world’s largest film festivals begins this week, running from April 26 to May 6 in Toronto. With Charlotte Cook replacing Sean Farnel as head programmer, new directions (fewer films, more focus is the official line), new initiatives (Hot Docs’s very own Kickstarter, Doc Ignite), new sponsors (Nescafé, Dundee Wealth and Sun Life Financial, to name a few of the more spurious corporate inductees) and a gorgeously renovated, and reinvigorated, venue…read more