Hot Docs to open with A.rtificial I.mmortality | Entertainment | Lifestyles

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The annual Hot Docs Festival has announced its 2021 lineup of documentary features and shorts, with 219 offerings from 66 countries. The opening-night film is

A.rtificial I.mmortality

, Canadian director Ann Shin’s exploration of transhumanism and the prospect of preserving our memories in digital clones.

As we round the bend into our second year of pandemic-modified activities, Hot Docs has settled into something of a new normal. Last year, the festival delayed its opening by a month and moved to an online-only event, geo-blocked to Ontario. This year it returns to its traditional late-April opening (running April 29 to May 9) but widens its online scope to include all of Canada.

The 2021 festival includes 58 Canadian productions and co-productions, 25 of them feature-length and 29 having their world premieres at Hot Docs. They include

Kimmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy

, a documentary about the opioid crisis from First Nations filmmaker Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers; and

Subjects of Desire

, Jennifer Holness’ deconstruction of race and beauty among Black women.

A new project this year is Citizen Minutes, specially commissioned (and free-to-stream) short films that celebrate stories of civic participation across the country. Another program, Systems Down, will explore people calling for systemic change around the world. Films in the series include

Faceless

, about the Hong Kong pro-democracy demonstrations;

It’s Not Over Yet

, about a new treatment for dementia being practiced in Denmark; and

Dead Man’s Switch

, described as “a riveting crypto-currency thriller.”

Although the festival remains online, it will continue to include introductions and Q&A sessions with the filmmakers. More information and tickets can be found at hotdocs.ca.

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2021

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