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‘Pom Wonderful’ to open Hot Docs

Festival, mart, confab runs Apr. 28 to May 8

Morgan Spurlock’s docu-comedy “POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold” will open the 18th Hot Docs festival, which unveiled its slate of 199 pics, including 33 world preems, in Toronto on Tuesday.

“POM Wonderful,” scheduled for an April 22 limited North American release, was financed entirely by product placement, marketing and ads. Hot Docs director of programming Sean Farnel noted the irony of pic’s high-profile slot. “All of our sponsors will be there,” he said. “It’s like an intervention.”

Jet Homoet and Sharog Heshmat Manesh’s portrait of Iranian family life, “Daughters of Malakeh”; Tanaz Eshaghian’s inside story of an Afghani women’s prison, “Love Crimes of Kabul”; and Matt Boyd’s tale of a struggling Brooklyn musician, “A Rubberband Is an Unlikely Instrument,” world preem in the fest’s International Spectrum, which includes 20 features (all eligible for the category’s jury prize) and 14 short-to-mid-length docus.

International preems in the program include Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s “Abendland” (Austria), James Newton’s “Boy Cheerleaders” (U.K.), Tristan Patterson’s recent SXSW festival jury winner “Dragonslayer” (U.S.), Bulmaro Osornio’s “Fly” (Mexico), Lotte Stoops’ “Grande Hotel” (Belgium), Danfung Dennis’ “Hell and Back Again” (U.K./U.S.), Peter D. Richardson’s “How to Die in Oregon” (U.S.), Thomas Ostbye’s “Imagining Emanuel” (Norway), Steve James’ “The Interrupters” (U.S.) and Limor Pinhasov’s “Melissa-Mom and Me” (Israel).

Canadian Spectrum includes 26 features (eligible for two juried prizes) and 12 short-to-mid-length docus. World preems in the program includes: Rohan Fernando’s “The Chocolate Farmer,” Trish Dolman’s “Eco Pirate: The Story of Paul Watson,” Thomas Selim Wallner’s “The Guantanamo Trap,” Matt Gallagher’s “Grinders,” Jaret Belliveau’s “Highway Gospel,” Mia Donovan’s “Inside Lara Roxx” Joel Heath’s “People of a Feather,” Shannon Walsh’s “St-Henri, the 26th of August” and Matvei Zhivov, Roger Singh, Andrew Moniz and Rock Baijnauth’s “The Pirate Tapes.”

World preems among the 35 features in World Showcase include U.S. titles “Battle for Brooklyn” (helmers Michael Galinsky, Suki Hawley), “Open Secret” (Steve Lickteig), “Mothers of Bedford” (Jenifer McShane), “Somewhere Between” (Linda Goldstein Knowlton), “Unraveled” (Marc H. Simon) and U.K. helmer Anthony Baxter’s “You’ve Been Trumped.”

The Next program of docus exploring creativity and pop culture presents 15 features, including international preems of Keirda Bahruth’s “Bob and the Monster” (U.S.), Agnes Sos’ “Invisible Strings: the Talented Pusker Sisters” (Hungary), Whitney Dow’s “When the Drum Is Beating” (U.S.) and Kerthy Fix’s “Who Took the Bomp? Le Tigre on Tour” (U.S.).

Workers of the World, this year’s one-off themed program, includes the international premieres of Jeff Myers’ recent SXSW Spotlight aud winner “Becoming Santa” and Dieter Schumann’s “Wadan’s World” (Germany) among its nine features.

Last week Hot Docs announced 26 special presentation features, including world preeming “The Hollywood Complex” and “Dolphin Boy,” and the international preems of hot U.S. titles “Fightville” and “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey.”

Earlier this year Hot Docs revealed eight features in its Made in Italy spotlight.

IDFA director Ally Derks will receive the 2011 Doc Mogul Award.

Selected works by Outstanding Achievement Award-winner Terence Macartney-Filgate and veteran Toronto docu-maker Alan Zweig will be screened in retro programs.

Official delegations from Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, the Nordic region, South Africa, the U.K. and U.S. will participate in International Co-Production Day (May 2). The Hot Docs Forum, the fest’s two-day international co-financing event (May 4,5), will see more than 500 leading industry pros witness 27 docu project pitches.

Hot Docs runs April 28-May 8.

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