CFC Alumni Screening New Projects at Hot Docs 2019

Posted: Apr 11, 2019

We are pleased to share that 22 CFC alumni are screening 25 distinctive projects in this year’s prestigious Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival. Alumni work ranges from short films to features to VR, and cover all aspects of documentary craft, from writing, directing and producing to editing, cinematography, music and sound.

Hot Docs is North America’s largest documentary festival, with more than 200 films from Canada and around the world screened to audiences of more than 200,000 over an action-packed 11 days. The festival starts on Thursday, April 25 and runs through Sunday, May 5, 2019 at various venues in Toronto.

Check out our alumni’s diverse projects below and see the full festival schedule and purchase tickets here.

A still shot of a rural location of construction of buildings

Anthropocene: CarraraDandora, and Ivory Burn

Nicholas de Pencier, Director, Producer, Cinematographer

Alumnus Nicholas de Pencier (with his producing partners Jennifer Baichwal and Edward Burtynksy) has taken the award-winning documentary feature, ANTHROPOCENE: The Human Epoch, and generated three short 360° video and cinematic VR pieces, all screening in the interdisciplinary DocX section of the festival (with free daytime drop-in admission). DocX celebrates documentary work that lives outside the traditional format, such as virtual reality and interactive projects, and is also screening alumna Karen Chapman’s They Should Be Flowers. See the full DocX program series and information on admission here.

Assholes: A Theory

John Walker, Director, Producer

Inspired by the New York Times bestseller, Assholes: A Theory, by Aaron James, acclaimed director John Walker takes us on an entertaining and thought-provoking tour of his titular subject, and explores how we may begin to push back against this ever-worsening behaviour.

Because We Are Girls

Shirley Vercruysse, Executive Producer

Executive producer Shirley Vercruysse worked on this moving story of three Punjabi-Canadian sisters confronting a legacy of abuse, a tale that for all its difficult struggles, also celebrates the women’s loving sisterhood and their demand for justice. 

An older man with long hair is smiling while resting his chin on his hand.

Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind

Alex Shupar, Editor

Alumnus Alex Shupar edited this likely crowd-pleaser about homegrown Canadian musical hero, Gordon Lightfoot. The film will be shown as one of Hot Docs’ “Big Ideas” series, and will open in Toronto for a theatrical release at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema later, on May 24.

The Corporate Coup D’État

Peter Raymont, Producer

Michelle Osis, Composer

Canadian philosopher John Ralston Saul coined the term “corporate coup d’état” in his 1995 CBC Massey Lecture, The Unconscious Civilization, which this film adopts to examine the contemporary United States having been coopted by corporate dollars. Alumnus Peter Raymont produced, with alumna Michelle Osis composing music for this urgent call to arms.

Drag Kids

Megan Wennburg, Director, Writer

Alumna Megan Wennburg wrote and directed this sympathetic look at four remarkable children unafraid to hold their own in the adult world of competitive voguing and lip synching.

A still shot of the ground covered in pictures of people, with people surrounding them and looking at them.

Illusions of Control

Pablo Alvarez-Mesa, Cinematographer

Apocalyptic scenarios used to be mostly fictional plotlines. Yet human activity has made them a tragic reality, affecting millions of people globally. Alumnus Pablo Alvarez-Mesa did the cinematography of this film, which looks at how five women navigate a series of environmental and social disasters. 

Inside Lehman Brothers

Ina Fichman, Producer

Alumna Ina Fichman produced this cautionary tale, which chronicles the fascinating story of the mostly female whistleblowers who paid a steep price in the 2008 American subprime mortgage crisis, while many of the top-positioned men remained untouched.

A still shot of an older man sitting on a farmers truck smiling, while another man is looking at him driving it

A Kandahar Away

Shelley Saywell, Executive Producer

In 1991, a refugee arrived in Canada with his wife and five children, having fled his home in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Decades later, upon discovering the dwindling hamlet of Kandahar, Saskatchewan, he felt an immediate connection. Alumna Shelley Saywell executive-produced this humorous, heartfelt journey exploring what transpired as a result.

Killing Patient Zero

Laurie Lynd, Director, Writer

Acclaimed writer-director alumnus Laurie Lynd reveals the person behind the epithet, Québécois flight attendant Gaétan Dugas known as “Patient Zero” in the AIDS crisis. Based on Richard McKay’s groundbreaking book Patient Zero and the Making of the AIDS Epidemic, the film generates a fascinating portrait not only of a man, but of a crisis that shocked a community into action.

An image of a female with red hair, in front of a ATV smiling and posing for the camera.

Limit is the Sky

David Christensen, Executive Producer

Shot over three years, this profoundly human portrait that was executive-produced by alumnus David Christensen captures the dreams and disappointments of six charismatic, ambitious young Canadian men and women who come from as far away as Sudan, Lebanon and the Philippines to make a better life in Fort McMurray.

A black and white photo of a black older female in her glasses.

Older, Stronger, Wiser

Claire Prieto, Director

Director-alumna Claire Prieto crafts a short oral history of five Black women who reflect on the lives they’ve led and describe the challenges of growing up in the rural townships and urban centres of mid-century Canada.

A still image of a man standing in front of a gallery talking to the camera

Propaganda: The Art of Selling Lies

Aeschylus Poulos, Producer

David McCallum, Sound

Propaganda’s effective use by religious figures, politicians and marketers – and how we can ever determine what we know is truth from propaganda – guides this persuasive study. Produced by alumnus Aeschylus Polous, with sound by David McCallum.

A close of a girls face, focusing on her eyes while she wears a religious head cover

Redux Shorts: Five Feminist Minutes

Three of the four shorts in this timely program have projects produced by CFC alumni:

Camera Test

Anita Lee, Executive Producer

Alumna Anita Lee executive-produced this short film, a subversive look at patriarchy and racism in the film industry that features intimate interviews with absurdist re-enactments.


David Christensen, Executive Producer

This short, executive-produced by David Christensen, riffs off classic cinema verité in its contemporary portrait of Métis women net fishing in northern Alberta. 


Justin Simms, Editor

Alumnus Justin Simms edited this joyous call-to-action short, a profile of the winsome Newfoundlander and queen of comedy, Mary Walsh. 

Question Period

Ann Marie Fleming, Director, Writer

Shirley Vercruysse, Producer

Directed by alumnae Ann Marie Fleming (one of the original Five Feminist Minutes filmmakers) and produced by Shirley Vercruysse, this film listens to the questions of a group of Syrian women, refugees recently resettled in Canada, negotiating their new home and lives.

Supreme Law

David Christensen, Producer

This live event, screening and talk challenges us to make Canadian history and law relevant to young audiences. Emceed by Canada’s original YouTube star and comedian Jus Reign, the evening includes a screening of the new web documentary Supreme Law, starring Reign and produced by alumnus David Christensen. 

Take Me to Prom

Ben Fox, Composer

Alumnus Ben Fox scored this treasure of a short, in which a group of people dressed in their dream outfits take us back to the night of their prom and in so doing, narrate a journey of unapologetic queer identity and expression.

An image of artwork that was drawn by a young child which features a drawn boy holding a flower.

They Should Be Flowers

Karen Chapman, Director, Producer, Writer

Also screening at DocX with ANTHROPOCENE’s shorts is alumna Karen Chapman’s short film. She wrote, directed and produced this powerful short, which explores, through audio interviews and artistic renderings, the story of a six-year-old Black girl who was handcuffed – revealing the precarious place of Black children in Canada.

A still image of females running a protest outside of a building against toxic chemicals that are in beauty products.

Toxic Beauty

Peter Raymont, Producer

Toxic Beauty tracks the landmark class action lawsuit brought by female cancer survivors against Johnson & Johnson, in the face of the company’s insistence that their baby talc products were safe. Alumnus Peter Raymont produced this deep dive into how, despite public attention, companies beyond Johnson & Johnson continue to get away with harmful practices that threaten the average consumer.

A image of two males that are twins, standing by each other wearing the same blue sweater, with the clear sky in the background.

The World or Nothing

Ingrid Veninger, Director, Producer

Alumna and mentor Ingrid Veninger directed and produced this fresh, understated look at inseparable identical twins originally from Cuba, Rubert and Rubildo. They share a laptop and a dream of making it via internet fame, as YouTube sensations with their self-made music videos, which they upload from their cousin’s couch in Barcelona.

Alumni, do you have a film screening at Hot Docs that we missed on this list? Let us know by emailing us at and we will add your film!

All images courtesy of Hot Docs

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