#hotdocs17: Reviews (Day 2) – ‘Bee Nation’ and ‘Blurred Lines’

Bee Nation


Kahkewistahaw First Nation Reserve is a world away from Toronto in so many ways, but for Grade 3 student William Kaysaywaysemat III it’s a journey he’s keen to make to represent his school and community. Through the first province-wide First Nations Spelling Bee, William and many others have an opportunity to compete against the nation’s best. There’s one way to spell success, but many ways to define it. The tensions of the competitions are highly compelling cinema, but the heart of the film lies with the families and teachers. They’ve built an empowering support system, challenging policies of inequity and refusing to limit their children’s options. As Chief Kahkewistahaw Community School principal Evan Taypotat says, “Never judge a person ’til you’ve walked a mile in their moccasins.” Bee Nation highlights kids who have dedicated themselves to their education in an inspiring story that encourages us all to be our best selves. Alexander Rogalski




‘Bee Nation’ earned a well deserved opening night contender slot.  Brimming with emotion, truth and multiple narratives reminding Canadians that we need to elevate our First Nations peoples. Government of Canada, take notice.


Blurred Lines: Inside the Art World


Just days after the 2008 financial meltdown, British artist Damien Hirst’s record-breaking Sotheby’s auction made headlines worldwide. As banks and stocks collapsed, Hirst cashed out 223 pieces of work with a smirk. Asking the reasonable market price of contemporary art is akin to asking what makes good art. It’s worth what someone’s willing to pay, and for the general public, that amount may appear completely ridiculous. But if you’re fortunate enough to be among the 1 per cent and you treat your latest Jeff Koons acquisition as an investment, you’re going to make sure it retains its value. From artists to galleries, auction houses to collectors, each player has their motives in this game of spectacle and speculation. Director Barry Avrich paints a vivid picture of an economy that runs contrary to any rules and regulations while laying bare a system that has converted canvases into commodities. Alexander Rogalski




Just when you thought the art world was free from mass consumption and overindulgence – nope, it’s just as tainted with greed and debauchery along with the rest of the world.  Beautifully shot and providing tremendous insight into museums and galleries you may have visited on holiday.  The behind the scenes pot shots of art procurement, commerce and auction popularity contests abound.


www.hotdocs.ca  #hotdocs17, hot docs



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