March 7, 2012
by Canadian Architect
Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and Blue Ice Group have announced that the newly renovated Bloor Hot Docs Cinema will have its grand opening on Wednesday, March 14, 2012 amidst a celebratory week of special screenings and events for both the general public and invited guests.
“This partnership is a game-changer for Hot Docs and great news for Toronto’s film lovers,” says Chris McDonald, executive director of Hot Docs. “Investors were anxious to purchase and develop the property but the Bordonaro family was determined to leave the Bloor in cinema-loving hands. Hot Docs and Blue Ice are anxious to meet this challenge. In an era where arts and culture are at risk of funding cuts and indifference from some quarters, this is one of Toronto’s good news stories of the year. We are thrilled.”
“Toronto has amazing film audiences, many of whom make up Hot Docs’ enormous community of documentary fans,” says Blue Ice Group principal Neil Tabatznik. “We are happy that this partnership will rejuvenate the Bloor as a home for docs, where Toronto’s film-lovers will have the chance to experience incredible stories year-round.”
The grand opening on March 14 will offer invited guests a secret sneak peek at an exciting new film premiering at this year’s Hot Docs Festival from April 26 – May 6. It will be followed on Thursday, March 15, by special screenings of a classic documentary for invited Hot Docs friends, colleagues, and supporters.
Prior to the grand opening, the public are invited to experience the new cinema at two free open-house screenings of Hot Docs 2010 hit Waste Land (D: Lucy Walker; UK, Brazil; 2010) on Monday, March 12, and Tuesday, March 13, at 7:00 p.m. A multiple award-winner, Waste Land follows acclaimed visual artist Vik Muniz and his remarkable work with pickers at the world’s largest landfill site in Brazil.
The opening of the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema marks a new chapter in the much-loved, century-old film house located in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood. Toronto-based film company Blue Ice Group purchased the independent repertory cinema in June of 2011 when it was under threat of closure and redevelopment. Under renovation for the past seven months, Hariri Pontarini Architects have enhanced the building’s accessibility and atmosphere while respecting its grandeur and architectural details. Finding inspiration in the venue’s past incarnations, the expanded lobby will feature a large, transparent wall enabling an open view from the street into the auditorium, and the refreshed facade will feature a marquee with a large, vertical sign rising along the front of the building. Additional improvements include new plush seating, expanded washroom facilities, a larger screen, and state-of-the-art projection and sound equipment.
Hot Docs (www.hotdocs.ca), North America’s largest documentary festival, conference and market, will present its 19th annual edition from April 26 – May 6, 2012. An outstanding selection of 150+ documentaries from Canada and around the world will be presented to Toronto audiences and international delegates. Hot Docs will also mount a full roster of conference sessions and market events and services for documentary practitioners, including the renowned Hot Docs Forum and The Doc Shop.
The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema (www.bloorcinema.com) 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.
bloor hot docs cinema renovation by hariri pontarini architects