(Montreal) The North American premiere of the Lac-Mégantic series — this is not an accident will take place at the Hot Docs documentary film festival in Toronto on April 29.
The trailer for the documentary series was also made public on Tuesday, at the same time as the festival presented its programming.
The four-part documentary by Quebec filmmaker Philippe Falardeau deals with one of Canada’s worst rail disasters, which killed 47 people in 2013 in Lac-Mégantic, Estrie.
The director of Monsieur Lazhar and Le temps des raspberries returns to the disaster by demonstrating that the thesis of the accident does not hold. It raises questions about a system that continues to put corporate profit before the public good.
On July 6, 2013, a train filled with crude oil rolled down a slope upstream from Lac-Mégantic before derailing in the middle of town, triggering explosions and a huge fire.
Lac-Mégantic — Ceci n’est pas une accident will be presented as part of the Toronto festival’s “Deep Dive” program, after premiering in France at the Cannes International Series Festival in April, where Falardeau’s series is in competition official.
The Hot Docs International Documentary Festival unveiled its lineup at a Tuesday press conference that featured 214 films from 72 countries and special events to celebrate its 30th edition.
Among the films presented, 12 Quebec productions are put forward by the Society for the Development of Cultural Enterprises (SODEC).
Denys Desjardins’ documentary I Placed My Mother recounts the filmmaker’s personal experience as his mother ends her days in a CHSLD. The film Má Sài Gòn (Mother Saigon) by Khoa Lê adopts the view of LGBTQ communities in Vietnam. The Longest Goodbye by Ido Mizrahy and Caiti Blues by Justine Harbonnier are also part of the Quebec film program.
Also included in the program are the short films Notes on Memory and Forgetting by Amélie Hardy, Last Respects by Megan Durnford, Loud
This year’s Hot Docs Festival will open with an intimate look at Inuk activist and lawyer Aaju Peter and her work to defend the rights of Arctic Indigenous peoples.
The Denmark-Canada-Greenland co-production Twice Colonized is directed by Danish director Lin Alluna and produced by Iqaluit filmmaker Alethea Arnaquq-Baril and Dane Emile Hertling Péronard.
Arnaquq-Baril has known Peter since she was a little girl, noting that Peter was born in Greenland and moved to Canada as a young adult.
“In Canada, we started to take into account the colonization of indigenous peoples. I just found it really interesting that a young woman from Denmark wanted to confront her own country with the issues we’re talking about here,” said Arnaquq-Baril, who has been making documentaries for about 20 years.
Hot Docs’ “Canadian Spectrum” program includes I’m Just Here for The Riot, about the rallies after the Vancouver Canucks lost in the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011, considered the first riots of the era smart phones; July Talk: Love Lives Here, in which the band books a drive-in amid the pandemic-driven live music shutdown; and Someone Lives Here, about a Toronto carpenter who builds shelters for homeless people.
Canadian films featured in other programs include Coven, directed by Rama Rau, about three millennial women who identify as witches.
Other selections include Satan Wants You, about how a young woman and her Catholic psychiatrist sparked global satanic panic in the 1980s; and The Lebanese Burger Mafia, which searches rural Alberta for clues to uncover the origins of a shady fast-food chain.
The 30th edition of Hot Docs — billed as the largest documentary festival in North America — runs from April 27 to May 7 in Toronto.