Our picks for Hot Docs 2015

Contrary to popular belief, the Acting Up Stage team is not totally obsessed with musical theatre. Well, maybe we are. But we’re not ONLY obsessed with musicals. We’re also big documentary fans, and lucky for us, the world’s biggest documentary film festival is starting next week!

Hot Docs is taking place in Toronto from April 23 to May 3, and to get ready we’ve picked what we think are some of the most exciting movies coming to this year’s festival. And yes, some of them have to do with musical theatre.


This movie dives deep into the history of the “first family of song” - The Staple Singers - and their fearless leader Mavis Staples. Interviews with people like Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, and Jeff Tweedy reveal the influence that Mavis Staples had on soul music over 60 years, and on the civil rights movement. There will also be a special outdoor screening of Mavis! on April 30, featuring a live performance by annual UnCovered performer Jackie Richardson!

Seth’s Dominion

We learned a lot about graphic novels and cartoon artists during our production of The Wild Party, since Art Spiegelman did some famous and beautiful illustrations for the original poem. Seth is one of the biggest cartoonists in Canada, and his life and work is celebrated in this short doc.

Monty Python: The Meaning of Live

The reunion performance of the iconic Monty Python group of comedians in 2013 had 150,000 tickets sell out in under 45 seconds. This documentary goes behind the scenes to show off these incomparable funnymen as they create their first live show in 34 years, and look back on one funny walk of a career. (Fingers crossed there are some old Spamalot clips!)

Gayby Baby

For the first time, a documentary explores the issue of same-sex parenting from the kids’ point of view. Following four kids in Australia with same-sex parents, we get a glimpse into their personal views on the conflicts and pleasures involved. This could be a sequel to Falsettos!

Giovanni and the Water Ballet

This short documentary about a 10-year-old boy, his “girlfriend,” and his unwavering determination to be the first boy to compete in the Dutch Synchronized Swimming Championships. Can you say “Next Billy Elliot“?

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