InfraNet does HotDocs

[Chelyabinsk, Russia, a nuclear dumping site for decades, is the subject of the film Tankograd.]

Festival season is starting. In particular, we are excited about a slew of films that are part of the Canadian International Documentary Festival, nicknamed HotDocs, that runs April 29 - May 9, 2010 here in Toronto. With so many fascinating accounts represented in this edition, we thought it best to profile them here, for safe keeping. The tales we have selected chronicle landfills, clean energy wars, and land use ambiguities.

Waste Land, directed Lucy Walker (UK / Brazil)

[Waste Land, directed by Lucy Walker, shows May 1 and May 5.]

Lucy tracks artist Vik Muniz and his work with pickers of recyclable materials in Brazil’s Jardim Gramacho, arguably the world’s largest landfill site.

Land, directed by Julian Pinder (Canada)

[Land, directed by Julian Pinder, shows May 2 and 9.]

Burnt-out baby-boomers, Sandinistas, and ex-lefty capitalist developers clash in a wild-west showdown over land in a bucolic Nicaraguan seaside town.

Gasland, directed by Josh Fox (USA)

[Gasland, directed by Josh Fox, shows April 30 and May 2.]

Flammable tap water, mysterious ailments, poisoned land and livestock, Sundance prize-winner Gasland exposes the environmental calamities and cover-ups caused by natural gas drilling.

Into Eternity, directed by Michael Madsen (Denmark, Sweden, Finland)

[Into Eternity, directed by Michael Madsen, shows May 5 and 7.]

The scientific minds behind Finland’s massive underground nuclear waste storage facility, Onkalo, where radioactive waste must sit untouched for at least 100,000 years to neutralize its potential danger, are probed in Into Eternity.

Wistful Wilderness, directed by Digna Sinke (Netherlands)

[Wistful Wilderness, directed by Digna Sinke, shows May and 8.]

The island of Tiengemeten is getting a makeover. Originally tamed to serve as agricultural land, its now being left to the elements to revert back to wilderness. Filmmaker Digna Sinke documents 15 years of transformation.

Tankograd, directed by Boris Bertram (Denmark)

[Tankograd, directed by Boris Bertram, shows May 4 and 7.]

Chelyabinsk, Russia, once the site of a top secret Cold War atomic bomb factory, is now the most radioactively polluted city in the world. Its residents live with the consequences of catastrophic leaks and dumped toxic waste as cancers, auto-immune diseases, and undrinkable water flow freely. But the city most foul sprouts a most unlikely growth—the vibrant, inspiring Chelyabinsk Contemporary Dance Theatre.

Dreamland, directed by Þorfinnur Guðnason (Iceland)

[Dreamland, directed by Þorfinnur Guðnason, shows May 2 and 4.]

With its hydroelectric and geothermal power surplus, Iceland’s clean energy initiatives have attracted heavy industries whose pollution decimates natural vegetation. A tale of sabotage from the frontlines of the green revolution.

I Bought a Rainforest, directed by Helena Nygren and Jacob Andren (Sweden)

[I Bought a Rainforest, directed by Helena Nygren and Jacob Andren, shows May 2 and 4.]

Jacob Andren, like over 400,000 other Swedish children, remembers raising money to help save a rainforest. Twenty years later, wondering if his efforts made any real impact, he visits Costa Rica to see whether this piece of land remains preserved.

They Come for the Gold, They Come for it All, directed by Pablo D’Alo Abba and Christian Harbarak (Argentina, Chile)

[They Come for the Gold, They come for it All, directed by Pablo Abba and Cristian Harbaruk, shows May 6 and 8.]

In a small town on the border of Argentina and Chile, the residents of Esquel are conflicted over a lucrative bid from Canadian mining company Meridian Gold. On the one hand, the mine will provide much needed work for residents, half of whom live below the poverty line. On the other hand, the gold and silver extraction requires large amounts of water and cyanide. You can access the complete listings--time, locations, details--here. Enjoy.

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