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


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


, 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

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2021


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