Published Apr 25, 2017Hot Docs is descending on Toronto once again this spring, with over 230 documentaries from around the world playing at the downtown festival, which runs from April 27 to May 7.
With so many films and special programming, it can be hard to navigate. That's why we've scoured the festival's full schedule to find the films most important to Exclaim!'s hardcore music fans.
Check out our recommendations below, and keep caught up on our ongoing festival coverage here.
Seven Must-See Music Movies at Hot Docs 2017
Directed by Lana Wilson
A former Japanese punk rocker with little reason to live finds meaning when he converts to Buddhism and begins offering counselling sessions for the country's suicidal.
Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World
Directed by Catherine Bainbridge
Made up of archival audio files, concert footage and interviews with musicians like Robbie Robertson and Buffy St. Marie, this Sundance-award winning doc sheds light on the musical history of Link Wray and other like-minded indigenous artists.
Give Me Future
Directed by Austin Peters
Back in March 2016, Major Lazer made history by becoming one of the first American acts to play Cuba. They thought tens of thousands of music fans would come out; half a million showed up instead.
Directed by Jonathan Olshefski
"Quest is a tough one to embark on," Exclaim! film editor Josiah Hughes wrote in his 2017 Sundance review of this Hot Docs selection about an impoverished North Philadelphia family and their will to survive. "But the rewards are plentiful."
Whitney "Can I Be Me"
Directed by Nick Broomfield, Rudi Dolezal
Thanks to unprecedented access to archival footage, home movies and concert clips, Whitney "Can I Be Me" provides an intimate look at one of the world's most successful singers, and the tragic circumstances that lead to her downfall.
Long Strange Trip
Directed by Amir Bar-Lev
Deadhead's like to dig deep when it comes to the Grateful Dead, and director Amir Bar-Lev gives them a lot to dig into with this four-hour documentary about one of rock 'n 'roll's most revered bands.
A Story of Sahel Sounds
Directed by neopankollektiv
A must-see for crate diggers of fans or the Numero Group and their ilk, this documentary deals with Chris Kirkley, a man living in an apartment in Portland, Oregon who has helped bring modern West African music to the Western world, all while operating on fair trade principles.
Check out the rest of the Hot Docs 2017 lineup here.