All the Latin American accents at Hot Docs 2019

Yet another year, Latin America is present at Hot Docs, one of the most important documentary film festivals in the world, and the largest one in Canada and the US. Here is a list of all the movies and short films from and about the region.

The Guardian of Memory
‘The Guardian of Memory’ (Mexico, 2019). Directed by by Marcela Arteaga.

Hot Docs, North America’s largest documentary festival, offers an outstanding selection of over 200 films from Canada and around the world to Toronto audiences of more than 200,000. In this year’s edition, the Latin American presence in the program is not as big as it was in 2018, when the special section “Made In” was dedicated to Mexico, but there are still a good handful of movies and short films from and about the region that are really worth watching. Check them all out in the following list.

‘The Guardian of Memory’

Mexico. Directed by Marcela Arteaga
More info and screening times

The desperate stories of Mexicans fleeing state-sponsored violence toward the unwelcoming US border are revealed with striking visual poetry, alongside that of a famed immigration attorney who aids their quest for political asylum.


‘The Edge of Democracy’

Brazil. Directed by Petra Costa
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Featuring unprecedented access to former Brazilian presidents Dilma Rousseff and Lula da Silva, the personal and political brilliantly combine in this unflinching exploration of one of the most dramatic and polarizing periods in Brazilian history.


‘Midnight Family’

Mexico, USA. Directed by Luke Lorentzen
More info and screening times

In this suspenseful vérité study of a broken system, take a bumpy ride along the streets of Mexico City with a working-class family as they race to save lives and carve out a place in the cutthroat for-profit ambulance industry.


‘The Search’

Peru, Spain. Dorected by Daniel Lagares and Mariano Agudo
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Decades after a bloody internal armed conflict in Peru that claimed nearly 70,000 lives, a former child soldier, a survivor and a young writer explore their experiences of loss and trauma—both firsthand and inherited—in this deeply empathetic journey.


‘When I Shut My Eyes’

Mexico. Directed by Sergio Blanco and Michelle Ibaven
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Framed by a corrupt Mexican police force and denied an interpreter, two Indigenous inmates finally reveal in their own language the tragic story they couldn’t tell a judge as they cling to vivid memories of their loved ones.


‘Haydee And The Flying Fish’

Chile, Brazil. Directed by Pachi Bustos
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Forty years later, a Chilean woman who was obscenely tortured under Pinochet’s regime awaits a potentially historic court verdict and a chance to begin healing unimaginable wounds.


‘Nothing Fancy: Diana Kennedy’

USA. Directed by Elizabeth Carroll
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Dubbed “the Mick Jagger of Mexican cooking,” a 96-year-old firebrand chef who’s spent her career celebrating the country’s regional cuisines rushes to solidify her hard-earned legacy in the face of her own mortality.


‘Havana, From On High’

Canada. Directed by Pedro Ruiz
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Gorgeous cinematography and inspired soundscapes infuse this study of a decaying district in Havana, where chronic housing shortages force residents ever higher into rooftop homes—and into a bird’s-eye view of a society in transformation.


‘River Silence’

Canada. Directed by Rogério Soares
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As construction of one of the world’s largest dams destroys the Amazon’s ancient ecosystems and displaces tens of thousands, the filmmaker offers a potent and lyrical plea for those brutalized by rampant development.


‘The World or Nothing’

Canada. Directed by Ingrid Veninger
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Armed with a cellphone, a laptop and elaborate dance moves, determined twin brothers migrate from Cuba to Spain in pursuit of internet stardom in this tender look at millennial celebrity, brotherly love and the cost of realizing dreams.


‘Massacre River’

USA. Directed by Suzan Beraza
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When over 200,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent are left stateless after the country rules their citizenship invalid, violence and unchecked xenophobia erupts, and one woman rushes to gain legal status to stay with her daughter before the clock runs out.


‘Bojayá: Caught in the Crossfired’

UK, Ireland. Directed by Oisín Kearney
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Through the eyes of a survivor of one of the worst massacres in the 50-year conflict between the Colombian military and FARC guerillas, discover the darker reality that lingers beneath the veneer of recent peace talks.



USA. Directed by Claudia Sparrow
More info and screening times

A multi-billion-dollar mining corporation would never suspect that one Peruvian subsistence farmer could bring them to their knees, but they meet their match in a fearless Indigenous woman who remains uncowed after years of violent intimidation.


Short films

  • The Woman, The Man And A Dog (Ecuador, directed by Andrés Navarrete)
    Filmmaker Andrés Navarrete’s mother describes her feelings towards her estranged spouse, a beekeeper who left years before, as a positive presence that lingers in her dreams and memories.
  • A 3 Minute Hug (Mexico, directed by Everardo González)
    As daylight breaks between the border cities of El Paso, Texas, and Juarez, Mexico, undocumented migrants and their relatives, divided by a wall, prepare to participate in an activist event. For three minutes, they’ll embrace in no man’s land for the briefest and sweetest of reunions.
  • Call Confession (Spain, Mexico, directed by Arturo Aguilar)
    Near the village of Aspa in Catalonia, a hunter succumbs to his killer instinct and inexplicably shoots two wildlife rangers he happens upon in an olive grove. When he puts through a call to emergency services, he finds it nearly impossible to articulate why he pulled the trigger.
  • Bliss (Colombia, Belgium, directed by Frederik Jan Depickere)
    One of only 15 Syrian refugees living in Colombia, Rifat Algafari adjusts to his present surroundings by forgetting his past and indulging in every pleasure possible.
  • Brick Maker (Argentina, directed by Gastón Calivari)
    Toiling under the hot sun, Francisco and Gonzalo gather the raw materials to make sun-dried bricks. When the demand for their handmade product dries up, their business will cease to exist.
  • And That Is How The Rivers Came To Bed (Canada, USA, Peru. Directed by Miguel Araoz Cartagena)
    The enchanting Peruvian legend of a Kukama god comes alive in this animated film about the creation of the vast, winding rivers of the Amazon, reminding us of our sacred, unbreakable connection to water.
  • La Bonita (Cuba, Puerto Rico, directed by María del Mar Rosario)
    The beauty treatments women endure to fit normative feminine standards are violent in ways rarely recorded. La Bonita is an essential allegory about aesthetics that asks the audience to sit through a series of procedures, from fake nail removal to permanent makeup application to bikini waxing, and to sit with the accompanying pain that goes far beyond the physical.
  • Exiled (USA, Nicaragua, directed by Leonor Zúñiga)
    In 1998, Zoilamérica Ortega Murillo publicly accused her adoptive stepfather, Daniel Ortega, of rape. While Ortega, a leader of the Sandinista revolution and president of Nicaragua, remains in power, she lives in exile—isolated from family, estranged from her mother, and considered a traitor by her country.

» More info about Hot Docs 2019, full screening schedule, venues and tickets