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Among the first slate of Special Presentations at this year's Hot Docs there are three world premieres, including Toronto filmmaker Barry Avrich's The Talented Mr. Rosenberg about Toronto con man Albert Rosenberg.Chris Young/The Canadian Press

This year’s Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival will include in-person screenings for its high-profile special presentations program, after pivoting online the previous two years owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Organizers are touting both online and in-person opportunities for screenings, conference sessions and networking events when the festival runs April 28 to May 8 in Toronto. Audiences across Canada will also be able to watch titles online through the streaming platform Hot Docs at Home.

The fest will include three world premieres, including Toronto filmmaker Barry Avrich’s The Talented Mr. Rosenberg about Toronto con man Albert Rosenberg; Irish filmmaker Gavin Fitzgerald’s Million Dollar Pigeons, which follows the competitive world of pigeon racing; and U.S. filmmaker Lindsay Keys’ The Quiet Epidemic, an investigation into the history and global spread of Lyme disease.

Notable Canadian premieres highlight themes of adversity throughout history and include U.S. director Julia Bacha’s Boycott, which examines the mode of protest through the years, and U.S. director Shalini Kantayya’s TikTok, Boom about the way social media and free speech has affected the modern world.

Other Canadian premieres include U.S. director Rachel Lears’ To The End which follows young politicians Varshini Prakash, Alexandra Rojas, Rhiana Gunn-Wright and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as they fight for what they believe during the climate crisis, and Danish director Simon Lereng Wilmont’s A House Made of Splinters which heads to Ukraine’s front line, where social workers offer refuge to abandoned children.

Meanwhile, other notable screenings include U.S. director Paula Eiselt’s Aftershock, about two grieving Black fathers who become activists after their partners die from to preventable childbirth complications, and U.S. director Sara Dosa’s Fire of Love, which follows the love story of two scientists as they research the mysteries of volcanoes.

The complete festival lineup will be announced March 30.

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