Canada's Hot Docs Fest opens with France's ‘'Babies'

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The 17th annual Hot Docs International Documentary Film Festival opens in Toronto, April 29, with Thomas Balmes' Babies, focused on infants from Mongolia, Namibia, San Francisco and Tokyo taking their first steps in life. The event runs through May 9.

Also kicking off the event is the Canadian premiere Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage, a portrait of Canadian rock band Rush, by Scot McFadyen and Sam Dunn.

North America's largest documentary festival will present more than 170 films from more than 40 countries, welcoming hundreds of international filmmakers and industry delegates to Toronto, during its 11-day run.

Highlights of other films in the program:

• Actor Adrian Grenier ( Entourage) screens his Teenage Paparazzo, about 13-year-old celebrity photographer, Austin Visschedyk.
• Steven Soderbergh's Spalding Gray biopic And Everything is Going Fine, bowed at Slamdance, the alternative film festival staged along with Sundance.
• Alex Gibney's Casino Jack and the United States of Money, a portrait of jailed Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Joan Rivers - A Piece of Work, a portrait of the American comedy legend by filmmakers Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg
Space Tourists, Sundance award-winner about rich space travelers by Swiss director Christian Frei
Gasland, a deep probe into the US natural gas drilling boom by Josh Fox.

A full roster of industry sessions includes conference sessions, panels and meetings. Official delegations from Abu Dhabi, France, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, Nordic Region, the UK and USA will attend this year's conference and market, taking part in International Co-Production Day to facilitate co-production opportunities.


Other April film festivals in North America include:

Sarasota Film Festival
April 9-18
Sarasota, Florida, USA
The 12th annual event with 45,000 attendees and more than 200 films. This year features Conversations with Vincent D'Onofrio, Patricia Clarkson, and Kevin Kline, a tribute to John Landis ( Animal House, The Blues Brothers, Thriller), a reading by Steve Buscemi.

FilmFest DC
April 15-25
Washington, DC, USA
The 24th annual Washington, DC Film Festival kicks off 11 days of the best and most exciting in new international cinema.

Tribeca Film Festival
April 21-May 2
New York, USA
Founded in 2001 by Robert DeNiro and colleagues, the respected New York City film festival premieres more than 250 films from around the world. This year opens with the premier of Shrek Forever After, and features eight films in a virtual festival that makes documentaries, comedies and dramas in the program available for computer viewing.

San Francisco International Film Festival
April 22-May 6, 2010
The 53rd annual event will feature an Evening with Robert Duvall, who will recieve the Peter J. Owens Award with a tribute reel of the actor's career highlights, an onstage interview and a screening of his recent film Get Low.