Dan Sturman and Dylan Nelson (USA, Special Presentations)
Tuesday, May 3, 3:45 p.m.
TIFF Bell Lightbox 2 (350 King Street West)
Sunday, May 8, 1:00 p.m.
TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West)
The minds behind previous Hot Docs hits Soundtrack for a Revolution and Nanking tackle an (arguably) lighter subject with The Hollywood Complex: the world of child actors.
Every spring, thousands of hopeful child actors and their parents migrate to Hollywood for the swath of auditions that coincide with pilot season, many taking up residence in the Oakwood apartment complex. Directors Sturman and Nelson set up shop in the bizarre building filled with diminutive divas, capturing the surreal and sometimes heartbreaking goings-on in the lives of these would-be stars. Surprisingly, the parents portrayed are not the expected assortment of failed performers attempting to live vicariously, but instead are bemused and beleaguered out-of-towners trying desperately to make sense of the world of acting, while struggling—and occasionally failing—to give their children normal or even healthy lives.
The filmmakers try desperately not to satirize the inherently nutty world of child acting, with mixed success. Judgemental undertones weave their way into the story, though they’re far too subtle to match the reactions of an audience aghast at the sight of children sleeping under tables and digging in dumpsters to follow a career almost universally known for failure.