Hot Docs // Staff Picks: Kyle

Kyle Miller is The Watchlist’s Technical Director. When he isn’t making the show, he’s wailing on his drums or cheering on the Jays. Here are his picks for Hot Docs 2015.

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SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS: Award-winning documentary veteran Heddy Honigmann follows Netherlands’ prestigious Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra on an astounding musical journey as they perform 50 concerts on six continents to celebrate their 125th anniversary. With stunning passion and intellect, the masters perform and discuss their music. Directed by Heddy Honigmann.

I’m a big fan of orchestral music, and I also love to travel. So when I saw that Hot Docs had a film combining both of those interests I was immediately intrigued. The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra celebrated their anniversary in grand style with this international road trip, and it sounds like a feast for the eyes – and ears!

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WORLD SHOWCASE: Four young men embark upon an adventure of a lifetime. Traversing desert to mountain, they ride over 3000 miles from Mexico to Canada on adopted wild mustangs – a journey once a reality for western frontiersmen. Directed by Philip Baribeau.

Sticking with the travel theme, director Phillip Baribeau’s film follows four modern day explorers as they ride their wild mustangs from Mexico to Canada. Films like One Week, Tracks, and Wild all try to capture the feeling of setting out on a cross country adventure, but they can’t compare to a real life chronicling of one. Plus the added challenge of doing it on horseback would make for some interesting experiences.

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SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS: The potential and perils of online vigilantism and crowdsourcing are starkly realized for a family searching for their missing son, when the theory that he is a terrorist behind the Boston marathon bombings goes viral. Directed by Neal Broffman.

I was one of the countless people captivated by the televised manhunt following the Boston Marathon bombings back in 2013. But being a bit of a news junkie, I was also enthralled with the amateur investigative journalism happening on the social news website Reddit. A series of coincidences led to Sunil Tripathi’s name being incorrectly thrown around on there as a suspect. (An event the users of the site seem to wholly regret.) This film looks at the aftermath of that vigilantism.

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SCREEN TO SCREEN: In 1982, two young friends started a shot-for-shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark. After seven years, the finished all but one scene – until now. Twenty-five years and one jaw-dropping twist of fate reunite them for this unmissable final take. Directed by Jeremy Coon and Tim Skousen.

This was an easy pick. Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of my top ten, maybe top five favourite films. I also really enjoy fan made parodies or homages to pop culture, so this tale of two friends swedeing their own version of the Harrison Ford classic sound entertaining as hell. I’m really curious as to why the duo behind the remake ceased production of it with only one scene remaining.

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NIGHTVISION: What happens if intelligent alien life lands on Earth? You will be glad to know the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs has a team ready for extra-terrestrial contact. See a rare simulation of their response scenario in this cinematic gem. Directed by Michael Madsen.

We have a UN Office for Outer Space Affairs?! That was the first thing that ran through my head when I saw the trailer for The Visit at the Hot Docs lineup announcement. If I’ve learned anything from playing video games like X-Com, it’s that dealing with unexpected visitors from above would be no easy task, so in one way I’m relieved we’re semi-prepared for it. Seeing the office’s demonstrated response play out on screen will be a surreal treat for believers like me.

These are just five films presented at Hot Docs this year, to check out the full catalogue check out