"This partnership is a game-changer for Hot Docs and great news for Toronto 's film lovers," said 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."
The grand opening will offer invited guests a secret sneak peek at an exciting new film premiering at this year’s Hot Docs Festival, which runs from April 26 to 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.
"Toronto has amazing film audiences, many of whom make up Hot Docs’ enormous community of documentary fans," said 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."
Prior to the grand opening, the public will be invited to experience the new cinema at two free open-house screenings of Hot Docs 2010 hit Waste Land from Director Lucy Walker on Monday, March 12, and Tuesday, March 13, at 7:00 p.m. A multiple award-winning film, Waste Land follows acclaimed visual artist Vik Muniz and his remarkable work with pickers at the world’s largest landfill site in Brazil.
The Cinema’s scheduled public programming will start on Friday, March 16, with screenings of the U.S. film Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey. It's the the heart-warming story of Kevin Clash, the shy puppeteer behind everyone’s favorite Muppet; and the Toronto premiere of Corman's World: The Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel, directed by Alex Stapleton. This 2011 doc is a star-studded tribute to Hollywood's most prolific writer-director-producer and his cult-film empire. Both films begin their limited theatrical engagements at the cinema. The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema website has posted a full slate of films coming soon as well as ongoing programs like Saturday afternoon's Essential Docs that will showcase some of the best documentaries ever made.
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, architects Hariri Pontarini 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.