Hot Docs Picks 2016

Toronto is famous for TIFF where, every September, some of Hollywood's best and brightest make their way northeast for the Toronto International Film Festival. But what many people don't know is that we have an equally fabulous (but less celebrity-filled) film festival every spring. Hot Docs celebrates the best international documentary films of the year or, as they like to call them: "films for curious people."


I wasn't really a documentary person until about three years ago when a friend who worked for Hot Docs generously gave me a few tickets to the festival. I was instantly hooked. Documentaries are awesome! Throughout the year I find excellent ones on Netflix, but I look forward to Hot Docs and the variety of fascinating and beautiful films it brings us. 

With dozens and dozens of films to choose from it's hard to narrow it down, but I've put a list of my top picks together for anyone who wants a shortcut through the thick catalogue. Even if you're not in Toronto this month, keep an eye out for these films when they make their way to iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, etc...

Disclaimer: I did NOT write the film descriptions below. They are taken directly from the Hot Docs catalogue. This post is not sponsored by Hot Docs or any of its films, I just really like documentaries!

League of Exotic Dancers

A dazzling cast of vintage burlesque dancers share candid and sometimes outrageous stories about their lives on stage and off in the heyday of the art, as they prepare for a rare performance for the Legends of Burlesque Hall of Fame weekend. 

Sour Grapes

Controversy erupts when and unassuming young man floods the American wine market with fake vintages valued in the millions, bamboozling the wine world elite in this humours and suspenseful tale of an ingenious con on the eve of the 2008 financial crisis. 

Future Baby

Will natural reproduction grow passé? This compelling film brings together visionaries and experts on both sides of the in vitro fertilization debate, exploring the controversial hand of science in the art of baby making.


From the strict dress codes to rigid gender roles, the rules governing a Mexican Mennonite community haven't changed in 200 years. Be captivated by superbly composed scenes of family life in all its staunch rigour and sweet stolen moments. 

How To Build A Time Machine

Inspired by H.G. Well's science-fiction classic, two men -- an amateur and a physicist -- pursue radically different approaches to time travel, passionately seeking the elusive tools and knowledge to alter the events that shaped their lives.