A film about Saskatchewan students competing in the first province-wide First Nations Spelling Bee will help kick off this year’s Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival.
Organizers said “Bee Nation” will be the opening-night film for the Toronto fest, which runs April 27 to May 7.
Guests expected to attend the festival include famed scientist Bill Nye, who’s the subject of the doc “Bill Nye: Science Guy”.
A total of 230 titles from 58 countries will screen at the 24th edition of Hot Docs.
Other highlights include “Becoming Bond”, about the only man to play the role of James Bond just once, and “House of Z”, about fashion designer Zac Posen.
Canadian-focused docs include “My Enemy, My Brother”, about two former enemies from the Iran-Iraq War who meet in Vancouver 25 years later.
“The Road Forward” is a genre-bending musical documentary that looks at developments in the 1930s that led to First Nations activism today.
In “A Better Man”, co-director Attiya Khan meets with her ex-boyfriend who abused her on a daily basis 22 years ago to see if he’s willing to take responsibility for his actions.
Syria is featured in several titles, including “Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS”, “69 Minutes Of 86 Days” and “A Memory in Khaki”.
Oscar-nominated Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan will also host an onstage discussion with acclaimed director Joe Berlinger, who will present the international premiere of “Intent to Destroy”, about the Armenian genocide.
The fest will also feature a 25th anniversary screening of his doc “Brother’s Keeper”.
Earlier this month, organizers announced the festival has added a $50,000 Rogers Audience Award for best Canadian feature-length film.
The director of the winning doc will receive the prize on the final night of the festival before a special encore screening.