One of the best fests (and our favorite) for movie fanatics is Toronto's Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival. Celebrating anything and everything documentary, every year Hot Docs is overflowing with great features that not only teach or inspire but also engage us just as skillfully, happily and heart-wrenchingly as mainstream feature films. In recent years, we've learned how 'Girls Rock!'; how Euripides can speak to modern violence with 'Protagonist'; the verbose life of Spalding Gray with 'And Everything Is Going Fine'; and the struggle for Canadian justice with 'Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father.'

This year the festival -- which runs from April 28–May 8 -- has a little of everything, from features by award-winning filmmakers like James Marsh ('Project Nim') to the beats of A Tribe Called Quest, horse whispering, Bobby Fischer and the fervor of Mardi Gras.

Moviefone Canada will be offering up daily content about the festival's intriguing films, starting with this guide of some of Hot Docs' notable slate, categorized by interests and cinematic similarities. Hit the jump for A–F or hop over to part two, G–Z.



'Beats, Rhymes and Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest'
FOR: Fans of old-school hip-hop
THINK: 'Rhyme and Reason' meets 'Dig'
Hot Docs Screenings and Details

Directed by Michael Rapaport (actor from 'Boston Public,' 'Deep Blue Sea'), 'Beats, Rhymes and Life' is a bittersweet and nostalgic look back at the formation and fame of the groundbreaking hip-hop group, A Tribe Called Quest. Pulsing with the beats of its subject, Rapaport frames the film as that of a loyal fan saddened by the talented group's dissolution in the face of personality clashes and public strife, balancing the Tribe's plagued later days with their early years of talent and fame. The documentary digs into everything from their youth in Queens, New York and how songs like "Can I Kick It?" came to be, to how personality clashes, ego and health struggles led band leaders Q Tip and Phife Dawg to end the Quest.



'Becoming Chaz'
FOR: Newbies to the LGBT world, the celebrity-obsessed
THINK: 'Sonny and Cher' meets 'Sex Change Hospital'
Hot Docs Screenings and Details

Clearly a documentary shackled by respect to its subject, 'Becoming Chaz' isn't the type of film that digs deeply into the flowers and blemishes of its subject's life. From beginning to end, Chaz Bono is in charge of what we see and how much we learn about his personal life as he transitions from Chastity Bono, the daughter of Sonny and Cher, to Chaz Bono, the man he always yearned to be. Nevertheless, the film works as a great primer into transgender issues, and the subtle moments of transitioning -- how hormones affect relationships, how families can be strengthened or strained and how early these disconnected feelings can arise. Likewise, it offers an alternative look into celebrity and how those in the spotlight try to manage the media circus that surrounds them.



'Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey'
FOR: Elmo and Muppets fans
THINK: 'The Muppets' meets 'Babies'
Hot Docs Screenings and Details

Elmo has tickled fans in and out of the Muppets fandom, and filmmaker Constance Marks looks into the African-American puppeteer, Kevin Clash, who made the furry little guy a widespread household name. Though superficial in its treatment, the film has charmed festival audiences with its access and story, as Clash re-envisioned a clunky and forgotten Muppet into a red bundle of fluff that's all about love.



'Bobby Fischer Versus the World'
FOR: Chess fans, conspiracy theorists
THINK: Chess meets 'A Beautiful Mind'
Hot Docs Screenings and Details

Bobby Fischer was an enigma whose name transcended his craft -- he gained fame early as a nearly unstoppable chess whiz, and 'Bobby Fischer Versus the World' looks not only at how the legend was made, but how the man's own paranoia and emotional impediments plagued his life. A definitive account of Fischer's life, noted documentarian Liz Garbus discovers the intrigue of the icon's mind and just how easily it unraveled into the self-loathing man exiled to Iceland, leading viewers to wonder if what made Fischer great is precisely what led to his downfall.



'Buck'
FOR: Horse lovers and fans of animal whisperers
THINK: 'The Horse Whisperer' meets 'Childstar'
Hot Docs Screenings and Details

There's a certain charm and intrigue that comes from animal whisperers who can communicate with animals so clearly that it's as if they speak the same language. Feel-good documentary 'Buck' digs into Buck Brannaman's uncanny ability to train horses so that even the most subtle show of intent leads the horse into action. He does not, however, train through some secret equine language, but rather by drawing parallels between animals and people -- Brannaman's own abusive childhood informing his training skills and abilities.



'Bury the Hatchet'
FOR: Those interested in New Orleans culture
THINK: 'When the Levees Broke' meets parade glamour
Hot Docs Screenings and Details

Journeys into Mardi Gras often focus on the music, the lasciviousness and the many beads tossed to and fro. Aaron Walker's documentary, however, focuses on another long-standing tradition, the Mardi Gras Indian Chiefs -- descendents of runaway slaves who were embraced by Native Americans in the bayou. Filmed mostly in 2005, Walker was in the right place at the right time, managing to not only capture the highs and lows of the tradition and the last moments of long-reigning chief of chiefs Tootie Montana, but also how these men struggled to keep their community and traditions intact after Hurricane Katrina.



'Eco Pirate: The Story of Paul Watson'
FOR: Environmentalists and lovers of the sea
THINK: 'The Cove' in the Antarctic
Hot Docs Screenings and Details

In the wake of 'The Cove,' director Trish Dolman turned her camera on infamous environmental activist Paul Watson -- subject of 'Whale Wars' and head of the Sea Shepherd, who sails into Antarctic waters to stop whalers. The documentary investigates many aspects of the man's life, from his troubled interpersonal connections to his controversial practices to stop the whale hunt and his fiercely biocentric views, but the camera always comes back to the whales, applauding the subject's undying determination to save them.



'Fightville'
FOR: Sports fans and fighters
THINK: 'Fight Club' meets 'Rocky'
Hot Docs Screenings and Details

Chuck Palahniuk started a phenomenon when he crafted a disillusioned yuppie who finds his self and worth through underground fight clubs, and 'Fightville' makes it legit, looking into Mixed Martial Arts and the men who focus their boiling testosterone in the ring. The film digs into both sides of the equation: the young men who try to find focus with the sport and the efforts of fighter Gil Guillery to make it a popular and financially successful business. Turns out it's more than just men beating the competition to a pulp.



'The Future is Now!'
FOR: Thinkers and fatalists
THINK: 'Waking Life' meets 'Examined Life'
Hot Docs Screenings and Details

Narrative and documentary filmmaking meet in Gary Burns and Jim Brown's 'The Future is Now!' Much like 'Waking Life' made real, the film stars Liane Balaban as an optimistic journalist who sends a pessimistic but responsible man (Paul Ahmarani) on a quest to understand modern art, philosophy and positive changes in the world. Real-life thinkers and creators like Christian Bok, Marlene Dumas and Rivka Galchen appear, as well as a digitally created interlude between the man and existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre.

Keep up-to-date with all of Moviefone Canada's Hot Docs 2011 coverage