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Hot Docs to feature evocative new works by Toronto directors, two world premieres and a tribute to Charles Officer. Seven powerful and personal NFB documentaries showcased at Hot Docs 2024.


March 26, 2024 – Toronto – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

The Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival is presenting a stellar selection of seven National Film Board of Canada (NFB) produced and co-produced documentaries, including two world premieres, from April 25 to May 5 in Toronto.

World premieres

A Mother Apart (Oya Media Group/NFB)
Toronto filmmaker Laurie Townshend’s feature documentary accompanies powerhouse Jamaican-American poet and LGBTQ+ activist Staceyann Chin as she re-imagines the essential art of mothering.

Am I the skinniest person you’ve ever seen? (Compass Productions/9466-7565 Québec/NFB)

In this deeply personal short doc by Montreal director Eisha Marjara, dieting together seems like fun for two sisters—until their project takes a dark turn.

Canadian premieres

7 Beats Per Minute (Intuitive Pictures/NFB)
Mongol Chinese Canadian filmmaker Yuqi Kang follows freediving champion Jessea Lu’s return to the site of her near-death experience, to face the traumas of her past.

Any Other Way: The Jackie Shane Story (Banger Films/NFB)
Toronto directors Michael Mabbott and Lucah Rosenberg-Lee explore the extraordinary story of a trailblazing Black trans soul singer who emerged as a chart-topping ingénue in Toronto, before vanishing on the eve of stardom.

Once named “Cuba’s youngest soldier” in a publicity stunt, Newfoundland-based filmmaker Tamara Segura explores her father’s troubled past and its connection to the Cuban Revolution.

Wilfred Buck (Door Number 3 Productions/NFB)
In Toronto-based Anishinaabe filmmaker Lisa Jackson’s hybrid feature doc, charismatic and irreverent Cree Elder Wilfred Buck survives life on the streets to reclaim and share ancient star knowledge and spiritual ceremony.

Charles Officer Memorial Screening
When filmmaker Charles Officer died on December 1, 2023, the community of Toronto and Canadian cinema lost a visionary talent. As part of a special tribute, Hot Docs will screen his 2010 NFB feature documentary, Mighty Jerome.

More about the films

  • A Mother Apart by Laurie Townshend (89 min) | Persister program
    Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/a-mother-apart
    Producers: Alison Duke and Ngardy Conteh George (Oya Media Group); Justine Pimlott (NFB)

Staceyann Chin embodies multiple complex identities—poet, activist, lesbian, Jamaican American, mother. But the most complicated of all is “daughter.” Abandoned by her mother as a child, Staceyann has been seeking her out for decades, travelling the globe in a one-sided attempt to forge a meaningful bond with the woman who brought her into the world. And now, as the sole parent of nine-year-old Zuri, she wrestles with an all-consuming dilemma: how to mother a daughter when your own mother was missing in action.

Laurie Townshend is a Toronto-based filmmaker, writer and educator. Her films centre on the human capacity to transform small acts of courage into quiet revolutions, as seen in the dramatic short The Railpath Hero (2013, TIFF Black Star Series), the unscripted series Human Frequency Streetdocs (2014) and the award-winning short doc Charley (2016).

“Hey, let’s go on a diet together.” As kids in a small Quebec town, Eisha and Seema were more than sisters, they were soul mates, and a joint diet offered a shared sense of purpose. But their carefree project would take a dark turn, pushing Eisha to the very brink of death. Consumed by anorexia, she found herself battling her own fragile body—stranded between childhood and adulthood. Decades later, Eisha revisits her past in an exquisitely crafted work of auto-ethnography, evoking her unusual youth with aching lyricism.

Eisha Marjara has made several award-winning films, including Locarno’s Prix de la Semaine de Critique winner Desperately Seeking Helen. Venus (2017), a dramatic comedy, won the EDA Award for Best Feature at the Whistler Film Festival and Best Feature Film at Cinequest, among other accolades. Eisha also authored the acclaimed young adult novel Faerie and is in post-production on her next feature, Calorie.

7 Beats Per Minute follows freediving champion Jessea Lu’s physical and mental journey back from the depths, with intimate cinéma vérité camerawork, astonishing underwater imagery and raw personal interviews. The film places the audience and the filmmaker herself in the immediacy of the experience: when barometric pressure compresses the body, the heart slows and the pulse drops, it is the power of the mind that proves critical.

Yuqi Kang is a Mongol Chinese Canadian filmmaker driven by a passion for crafting psychological profiles set in extreme circumstances. Her directorial feature debut, A Little Wisdom, premiered at Busan, SXSW, Karlovy Vary and Hot Docs, where it won Best Canadian Feature. Yuqi was nominated for the Asia Pacific Screen Awards and the Directors Guild of Canada’s Discovery Award and was awarded 40 Under 40 by DOC NYC.

  • Any Other Way: The Jackie Shane Story by Michael Mabbott and Lucah Rosenberg-Lee (99 min) | Canadian Spectrum
    Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/any-other-way-jackie-shane
    Producers: Amanda Burt, Sam Dunn, Scot McFadyen and Michael Mabbott (Banger Films); Justine Pimlott (NFB)

Nashville-born soul singer Jackie Shane boldly carved a new path as one of music’s pioneering Black trans performers. On the edge of stardom, why did she suddenly leave the spotlight? Any Other Way: The Jackie Shane Story hands the mic over to one of the most beguiling artists of the 20th century to finally reveal her truth, in her own unmistakable voice. From leaving the Jim Crow South to performing with Etta James to becoming a chart-topping ingénue in Toronto, discover Jackie’s extraordinary story in a film whose executive producers include Elliot Page.

Michael Mabbott’s first feature, The Life and Hard Times of Guy Terrifico, premiered at TIFF to popular and critical acclaim, receiving the Best Canadian First Feature Award. His second directorial effort, Citizen Duane, also premiered at TIFF. His first documentary film, Music Lessons, premiered at Hot Docs.

Lucah Rosenberg-Lee was adopted from the Dominican Republic into a Toronto family, where he developed his love of activism through film and his passion to tell stories of marginalized voices. Lucah has produced and directed a variety of film projects, including Passing and For Nonna Anna, which have been screened at TIFF, Inside Out and Sundance.

When Tamara Segura accepts a scholarship to study film in Canada, the move offers crucial distance from her father—and a political system that turned her birth on December 2, Day of the Cuban Armed Forces, into a publicity stunt, figuratively enlisting her in the reserves. She returns to Cuba after four years away, camera in hand, hoping to make amends. But her father’s sudden death just days after her arrival forces Segura to explore his troubled past and the role Cuba’s highly militarized system played in his downfall.

Tamara Segura graduated from the prestigious International Film School of San Antonio de los Baños (EICTV). Her films have received awards in Spain, Cuba, Canada and Mexico. Based in Newfoundland since 2012, she has worked with the NFB on a number of films, including Song for Cuba (2014), Becoming Labrador (2018) and now, Seguridad.

  • Wilfred Buck by Lisa Jackson (92 min) | Canadian Spectrum
    Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/wilfred-buck
    Producers: Lisa Jackson and Lauren Grant (Door Number 3 Productions); Alicia Smith (NFB)

Moving between Earth and stars, past and present, this hybrid feature documentary follows the extraordinary life of Wilfred Buck, who overcame a harrowing history of displacement, racism and addiction by reclaiming ancestral star knowledge and ceremony. The film is adapted from Wilfred Buck’s memoir I Have Lived Four Lives, and is executive produced by Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier and David Christensen (NFB).

Lisa Jackson is an Anishinaabe (Aamjiwnaang) filmmaker whose work has garnered two Canadian Screen Awards, been nominated for a Webby and screened at top festivals including Sundance, Tribeca, SXSW, London BFI and Hot Docs. Her 2018 NFB VR experience Biidaaban: First Light was viewed by more than 25,000 people, while her film Indictment won Best Doc at imagineNATIVE. Jackson has been honoured with the 2022 Chicken & Egg Award as well as the 2021 DOC Vanguard Award.

  • Mighty Jerome by Charles Officer (1 h 23 min) | Charles Officer Memorial Screening
    Producer: Selwyn Jacob

From acclaimed filmmaker Charles Officer comes the story of the rise, fall and redemption of Harry Jerome, Canada’s most record-setting track and field star. Gorgeous monochrome imagery, impassioned interviews and astonishing archival footage are used to tell the triumphant and compelling story of what Harry Jerome’s own coach called “the greatest comeback in track and field history.”

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French version here | Version française ici.

Media Relations

  • About the NFB

    Founded in 1939, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is a one-of-a-kind producer, co-producer and distributor of distinctive, engaging, relevant and innovative documentary and animated films. As a talent incubator, it is one of the world’s leading creative centres. The NFB has enabled Canadians to tell and hear each other’s stories for over eight decades, and its films are a reliable and accessible educational resource. The NFB is also recognized around the world for its expertise in preservation and conservation, and for its rich and vibrant collection of works, which form a pillar of Canada’s cultural heritage. To date, the NFB has produced more than 14,000 works, 6,500 of which can be streamed free of charge at nfb.ca. The NFB and its productions and co-productions have earned over 7,000 awards, including 11 Oscars and an Honorary Academy Award for overall excellence in cinema.