By Ray Pride


Toronto, March 7, 2013 – The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema is thrilled to celebrate two key milestones during 2013, its successful first year of operation as a theatre, and the venue’s hundredth year as a cinema. The building officially opened as the Madison Theatre on December 23, 1913 and had various names over the years. It had its grand reopening as the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema on March 16, 2012, becoming one of the world’s only documentary cinemas.

“We have been on a very steep and enormously satisfying learning curve over the past year,” says Chris McDonald, Executive Director of Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival. “The great news is that we have more than doubled our attendance projections and been astounded by the depth and breadth of high-impact and beautifully crafted documentaries. It has been a thrill to share these great films with Toronto’s remarkable audiences.”

During the past year the cinema celebrated a myriad of successes. Since it opened its doors last March the theatre has welcomed audiences of more than 155,000 and 5,400 members. It screened 210 films (including 76 first-run films) from March 2012 through March 2013. Many successful films premiered at the theatre during its inaugural year including MARLEY, DETROPIA, THE WORLD BEFORE HER, SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN and COAST MODERN.

The theatre was delighted to host some of Toronto’s largest film festivals, including the 2012 Hot Docs Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, Toronto Jewish Film Festival, Toronto After Dark Film Festival and CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival. It has also become very active in the community, participating in Annex neighbourhood events.

Throughout its first year the cinema filled the house for a series of special events, which included a New Year’s party and free broadcast of the 85th Academy Awards®. It also became one of Toronto’s only cinema’s with a liquor license, allowing guests to enjoy beverages at their seat during screenings.

The cinema has exciting plans for its second year, including hosting community events to celebrate the venue’s hundred-year history, screening a retrospective of Festival films in recognition of Hot Docs’ 20th Anniversary, bringing in special guests throughout the year and broadening its reach with festival partners and audiences across the city.

Toronto-based film company Blue Ice Group purchased the independent repertory cinema in June of 2011 and Hariri Pontarini Architects enhanced the building’s interior and exterior during its extensive renovation process. To view the cinema’s history visit the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema website. For information about the partnership between Hot Docs and Blue Ice visit the Hot Docs website.



The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema ( is an historic, century-old cinema located in Toronto’s vibrant Annex neighbourhood. Operated and programmed by Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, the 710-seat venue is a year-round home for first-run Canadian and international documentaries, as well as special documentary presentations and showcases, including the popular Doc Soup screening series. Continuing its longstanding role as a community cinema, it also hosts many of the city’s independent film festivals and offers audiences some repertory and specialized fiction film programming. The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema is a joint Blue Ice Group-Hot Docs project.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon