I just completed 10 days of Toronto’s 2016 Hot Docs Festival and have to say it was one of the best film experiences I have enjoyed in this city. I managed to see 20 films and while some were very good others were fantastic. I saw no bad films at all. Not sure if this was because I am a total documentary fan or because of the superb selection job done by the programmers. I am going with the latter reason. Not only were the films I saw of great quality but the Q and A sessions afterwards were excellent. I was particularly impressed with the hosts of each session, again a tribute to the programmers who were knowledgeable and drew useful and interesting comments from the guests. The questions from the audiences were also good and a tribute to the doc fans of the city. Finally, a word about the volunteers who were polite, helpful and are the face of the festival to most of us standing in line. They deserved the applause they got at every showing I attended. I spoke to a few of them and they all reported satisfaction with the way they are treated by the festival staff and rewarded for their service. Great job.
I confess I am not sure how many other documentary festivals there are in the world. Certainly TIFF, Sundance, the Berlinale and other festivals offer a documentary program but I am not aware of another festival that offers over 200 high quality documentary films over 10 days. This festival, like TIFF, make Toronto a film lovers paradise and I am thrilled to be living here and have easy access to these events. Congratulations to the staff of Hot Docs and I am looking forward to next year.