North America’s largest documentary festival, Hot Docs, is going on right now in Toronto until Sunday, May 9th. Celebrating its 17th edition, the 10-day festival is showcasing 170 documentary films from 40 countries. AfroToronto.com can recommend a few great picks this year, even as the festival winds down. The best was perhaps saved for last starting with last night’s world premiere presentation of “Grace, Milly, Lucy ... Cild Soldiers”, presented by the National Film Board. Under the direction of Canadian filmmaker Raymonde Provencher, the film explores the devastating reality of child soldiers in Uganda. Another screening is scheduled for Saturday, May 8th.
Through the bone-chilling recollections of former child soldiers Grace, Milly and Lucy, the documentary reveals the naked atrocities perpetrated by the Lord’s Resistance Army. With little regard for the dignity of human kind, the rebel soldiers go into villages to abduct unsuspecting children for the purpose of training them as soldiers and to force them to become wives for the rebel commanders.Grace, Milly, Lucy…Child Soldiers, sheds a revealing light on the considerable number of young girls who are forced into becoming child soldiers.The honesty with which all three women bring us into their tortured past is at times very troubling. They describe how they were forced to raid villages and commit mass murder while carrying babies on their back. Grace, Milly and Lucy managed to escape the horror and made the conscious decision to tell the world about these abuses and to no longer suffer in silence as so many other ex-child soldiers do. They hope to be able to save other girls from a similar fate.See trailer at: http://www.nfb.ca/film/grace_milly_lucy_child_soldiers_trailer/ Screening info:Grace, Milly, Lucy…Child Soldiers
Canada, Run Time: 71
Director(s) : Raymonde Provencher
Sat, May 08 4:00 pm -- The Royal Cinema
Johnson was the patriarch of the all-black high school band that changed the rules of the game by introducing Top 40 funk hits to nationwide band competitions. Before long, they were touring the throughout the U.S. and internationally, won several national championships and released eight studio albums --- including the top selling “Texas Thunder Soul”. Conrad O. Johnson’s vision was revolutionary at the time since most high school bands stuck to the traditional big-band style. Johnson also created his own original music pieces.
After the group disbanded in 1978, several members went on to become professional musicians. The film captures the magical reunion of KSB’s illustrious alumni in 2008 who return to the school for the first time in three decades. Although the big afros were gone and given way to a few bald spots, the returning musicians, now in their fifties, sought to play again to honour their beloved mentor, Conrad "Prof" Johnson.
Screening info:Thunder SoulUSA, Run Time: 83Director(s) : Mark Landsman
Fri, May 07 9:00 pm -- Cumberland 3
Sat, May 08 6:00 pm -- Bloor Cinema
Sun, May 09 1:45 pm -- The ROM Theatre
Conrad faced strong adversity for trying to forge her way in the opera world. She was the target of racial discrimination and regular insults on the University of Texas campus. Tensions hit an all-time high when she was cast to co-star with a white classmate for a performance. The controversy made national news when she was subsequently expelled from the cast.Screening info:When I Rise
USA, Run Time: 74, Canadian Premiere
Director: Mat Hames
Fri, May 07 6:30 pm -- Bloor Cinema
Sun, May 09 4:00 pm -- Cumberland 3