By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

HOT DOCS BOARD OF DIRECTORS NEW APPOINTMENTS

At Hot Docs’ recent AGM, the organization said farewell to long-serving Board directors and former co-chairs Louise Lore and Norm Bolen, as well as filmmakers Yanick Létourneau (Peripheria Productions, Montreal) and Danijel Margetic (Balkan Films, Toronto). Hot Docs would like to thank these Board members for their passionate guidance, tremendous support and invaluable contributions to the organization’s dynamic growth and stability.

Since stepping in as Hot Docs’ executive director and its first full-time employee 15 (!) years ago this month, I’ve had the great pleasure of working with five outstanding Board co-chairs. At our AGM last week, Louise Lore and Norm Bolen stepped down from our board after more than 25 years of combined volunteer service. Having them mentor, champion and challenge me and our team has been one of the highlights of my career, and one of the reasons our festival continues to succeed. Louise and Norm set the tone and instilled a sense of professionalism in those early years, and they consistently made the staff feel that they were working for us rather than the reverse. They made us look good and work smarter, and helped us attract other high-performing board and staff who’ve worked together to make this Festival great. On behalf of our Board of Directors, staff and, of course me personally, I offer many, many thanks to you both.

– Chris McDonald, Executive Director

Hot Docs is pleased to welcome Barry Avrich (Melbar Entertainment Group, Toronto), Charlotte Engel (Rock Yenta Productions, Toronto), and Katarina Soukup (Catbird Productions, Montreal) to the organization’s Board of Directors. We look forward to working with them on our upcoming 20th anniversary edition, and for many festivals more.

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Dear Irene Cho, I will miss your energy and passion; your optimism and joy; your kindness towards friends, colleagues, strangers, struggling filmmakers, or anyone who randomly crossed your path and needed a hand. My brothers and I have long considered you another sibling in our family. Our holiday photos – both western and eastern – have you among all the cousins, in-laws, and kids… in the snow, sun, opening presents, at large dinner gatherings, playing Monopoly, breaking out pomegranate seeds and teaching us all how to dance Gangnam style. Your friendship and loyalty meant a great deal to me: you were the loudest cheerleader when I experienced victories and you were always ready with sushi when I had disappointments. You had endless crazy ideas which always seemed impossible but you would will them into existence. (Like that time you called me and suggested that we host a brunch for newly elected mayor of LA, Eric Garcetti because “he is going to president one day.” We didn’t have enough time or funding, of course, only your desire to do it. So you did, and I followed.) You created The Daily Buzz from nothing and it survived on your steam in spite of many setbacks because you believed in a platform for emerging filmmakers from all nations. Most of all, you were a wonderful mother to your son, Ethan, a devoted wife to your husband, and a wonderful sibling and daughter to your family. We will all miss how your wonderful smile and energy lit up the room and our lives. Rest in peace, Irene.
~ Rose Kuo Remembers Irene Cho on Facebook

“You know, I was never a critic. I never considered myself as a film critic. I started doing short films, writing screenplays and then for awhile, for a few years I wrote some film theory, including some film criticism because I had to, but I was never… I never had the desire to be a film critic. I never envisioned myself as a film critic, but I did that at a period of my life when I thought I kind of needed to understand things about cinema, understand things about film theory, understand the world map of cinema, and writing about movies gave me that, and also the opportunity to meet filmmakers I admired.

“To me, it was the best possible film school. The way it changed my perspective I suppose is that I believe in this connection between theory and practice. I think that you also make movies with ideas and you need to have ideas about filmmaking to achieve whatever you’re trying to achieve through your movies, but then I started making features in 1986 — a while ago — and I left all that behind.

“For the last three decades I’ve been making movies, I’ve been living, I’ve been observing the world. You become a different person, so basically my perspective on the world in general is very different and I hope that with every movie I make a step forward. I kind of hope I’m a better person, and hopefully a better filmmaker and hopefully try to… It’s very hard for me to go back to a different time when I would have different values in my relationship to filmmaking. I had a stiffer notion of cinema.”
~ Olivier Assayas