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Kinosmith Kicks Off Hot Docs Sales

Canuck distrib takes rights to fest opener 'The Manor'

TORONTO — On the eve of the 20th edition of Hot Docs, Kinosmith has sparked sales action nabbing Canuck rights to world-preeming opener “The Manor” and to Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s Sundance hit “Blackfish,” which is distribbed by Magnolia in the U.S.

North America’s largest doc fest, mart and confab kicks off in Toronto Thursday with Shawney Cohen’s voyeuristic soul-searching debut feature “The Manor,” which confronts the odd dynamic behind his family’s Ontario strip club.

Kinosmith opens “Manor” at Hot Docs’ year-round docu cinema hub The Bloor on May 10, with other Canuck cities to follow, while “Blackfish” opens at the TIFF Lightbox July 19.

Over 11 days Hot Docs will unspool 205 docs (44 world preems) from 43 countries, including 75 U.S. pics, with Toronto’s doc-savvy auds eager to take in non-fiction features that go deeper than daily news feeds, and buyers searching for potential evergreen fare.

With an expected 2,000-plus international delegate roster, Hot Docs is set to continue international sales activity for docs with Sundance, SXSW and Tribeca momentum, like Steve Hoover’s “Blood Brother,” Ben Nabors’ “William and the Windmill” and Tom Berninger’s “Mistaken for Strangers.”

Buyer buzz should ignite for world-preeming U.S. doc features like Gus Holwerda’s “The Unbelievers” (featuring Twitter-star and the world’s most famous atheist, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins), Matthew Pond and Kirk Marcolina’s “The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne” (about the international jewel thief with a six-decade track record), and “Caucus,” a behind-the-scenes look at Republican leadership hopefuls at the 2012 Iowa caucus, directed by A.J. Schnack, who does double Hot Docs duty as co-director with David Wilson of internationally preeming “We Always Lie to Strangers.”

Considering the awareness jolt Malik Bendjelloul’s Oscar-winning “Searching for Sugar Man” has given to Nordic filmmakers pursuing American themes, all eyes will be on world preems of Danish helmers Jon Bang Carlsen’s Utah reform-school head-turner “Just the Right Amount of Violence” and Peter Anthony’s “The Man Who Saved the World,” about the Russian colonel who disobeyed orders to respond to an apparent American missile attack in 1983, as well as Finnish helmer Mika Mattila’s “Chimeras,” a portrait of prominent Chinese artists wrestling against Western influence.

Hot Docs runs April 25 to May 5.

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