Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Hot Docs: Day 6

posted under , , by Bloody Bonnie |
Today was the 2nd and final screening of BLAST! at Hot Docs. We were in the Royal theater - a very nice space - and had a great turn out. For those of you not in the know, BLAST! is an adventurous film about a team of scientists who build a revolutionary telescope and fly it from a NASA high-altitude balloon. The largely grad student team is lead by Mark Devlin, PhD (brother of director Paul Devlin) and Barth Netterfield, PhD, a professor at the University of Toronto. Doing away with traditional documentary formulas like talking heads, BLAST! focuses on the daily lives and challenges facing the scientists. It is a great look at just what it takes to get science done. And I must say, that after a week of watching documentaries about poverty, tragedy and war, BLAST! was by far the most uplifting film I saw all week. The audience response was resounding once again, and the Q&A was really wonderful. Many of the scientists and grad students featured in the film showed up for the screening and fielded much of the Q&A.

After the screening, a few of us ventured out to the 'unofficial Hot Docs after party' - which turned out to be a house party on an island. We took a 10 minute ferry ride to a small island community full of beautiful little beach houses. The house the party was at had a huge backyard right on the water with a bonfire raging and a beautiful view of the downtown Toronto skyline. With the festival over, it seemed like everyone was much more relaxed - more focused on having a good time than schmoozing and handing out business cards. I met several locals (many of whom were longtime Burning Man attendees, oddly enough) and was told that there is so much demand to live on the islands that there's actually a lottery to determine who gets to live there. If I ever decide to flea the US, that island is at the top of my list for awesome places to live. This was by far the highlight of the whole trip, and I'm really glad I got to go!

Hot Docs has been one amazing ride. I learned a lot, worked a lot and had a ton of fun. I certainly hope to make it back again!

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