Ban This Series

Living under a 24-hour news cycle, it can be difficult to remember that every human on earth shares the same intensity of feeling—that each person has a life they care about as much as we care about ours. Often lost in the sprawling news events of our day is the incredible, overwhelming fact that there are people on the ground, behaving as we would behave, indeed being “us” in a different circumstance.

How do we remember? At Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, we look to art.

There’s a moment we’re trying to capture: friends mugging for the camera (The War Show), frustration at not being able to fund an important project (Libya in Motion), a teenaged girl wishing her parents were Michael Jackson and Rihanna (Sonita). The moment is when we recognize ourselves in someone else, when we see they are as deserving of love and protection as the people in our lives.

Here at Hot Docs, we are immigrants, we are the children of immigrants, we are the grandchildren of immigrants. And beyond. We know how crucial it has been that others have seen our humanity in the past, and we honour the richness of experience that pulls us all together.

In Ban This Series, we present a documentary from each nation whose citizens were denied entry into the U.S. due to a presidential executive order issued on January 27, 2017. By amplifying their stories, we celebrate the humanity and strength in each one of us.

Dates: March 6–8

Tickets: FREE, opportunities to donate to Canadian Journalists for Free Expression and National Council of Canadian Muslims at the door.



Hyper-talented and fiery 18-year-old Sonita wants to be a famous rapper in Tehran, but must fight family and society to make her dreams come true.
Sonita’s music teacher and mentor Roham Maher will participate in a post-screening Q&A.
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Laura Poitras’s Academy Award–nominated doc follows an Iraqi doctor as he struggles to keep citizens safe and foster democracy in the midst of the U.S. occupation.
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A collection of remarkable short stories documenting the incredible resilience of ordinary people in post-revolution Libya.
One of the short film directors Naziha Arebi will participate in a post-screening Skype Q&A.
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Demystify the far-off and compelling world of Somali pirates in this rich exploration of its history and ongoing changes.
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A rousing look at the empowering role of music in the daily lives of oppressed ethnic groups struggling to survive amidst civil war in Sudan.
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Replace the expert-led and distant views of the revolution in Syria with this deeply affecting doc, carved from 300 hours of amateur footage.
Syrian filmmaker and writer Marcelle Aleid will participate in a post-screening discussion hosted by Harvard Seal Documentary Film Club.
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Witness the Arab Spring in Yemen with startling immediacy through the eyes of a 35-year-old tour guide and family man named Kais.
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Hot Docs Cinema Presenting Partner

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Cinema Box Office Sponsor

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