Hot Docs features closer look into lives of women

Dozens of documentaries focus on women’s stories, and about half of the 230 films on this year's slate have female directors.

You think you know a woman. And then someone makes a documentary about her.

From late pop superstar Whitney Houston (Whitney “Can I Be Me”), to anonymous servers slinging plates around the world (Maya Gallus’s Dish: Women, Waitressing & the Art of Service), Hot Docs 17 unspools dozens of documentaries April 27 to May 7 that tell women’s stories.

Plus, about half of the 230 films on this year’s slate have female directors.

Some of the subjects, including Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (Winnie) and multi-Grammy winner Houston, qualify as misunderstood women. Or, in the case of activist Dolores Huerta (Dolores), often overshadowed by United Farm Workers co-founder Cesar Chavez, they are misrepresented.

“Documentaries carve out the space and the resources to investigate entrenched narratives and the ‘fallen woman’ trope is ripe for examination,” said Winnie director, French filmmaker Pascale Lamche, via email.