Published Apr 01, 2006In contrast to that other famous Toronto film fest, which traffics in the dreams of the world, the Hot Docs Documentary Festival offers something different: the people behind the myths. You'll find such necessary heroes as The Refugee All-Stars, a band that tour the refugee camps of Sierra Leone playing to keep spirits up, and unlikely heroes such as The Railroad All-Stars, a group of Guatemalan railroad prostitutes who play soccer to raise awareness and fight for their rights. You'll see the people lost in America's dirty war in Iraq in Fragments, in which religion and ethnicity are hardly the simple matters George W. would have you believe, and Sri Lankan survivors of the tsunami in From Dust, who find themselves trapped between red tape and zoning laws in an attempt to rebuild their lives. You'll see the ugly face of domestic abuse in Let's Talk About It, where children grill their parents about past violence, and the legacy of Nazism in Fatherland, where a German man confronts his father when faced with his son's blasé attitude towards the Holocaust. You'll find international spotlights on Japan and France, sidebars on Quebecois director Serge Giguere and German genius Werner Herzog, a selection of films for teens and a teeming throng of an international showcase with the best documentaries the world has to offer. As with any other festival, the luck of the draw is the rule, but the collection of so many revelatory takes on so many hot and not-so-hot topics is a necessary corrective to the movies and news reports with "official" versions of world events. The festival takes place from April 28 to May 7 in various Toronto locations; see www.hotdocs.ca for more info.