The Hottest August

a film by Brett Story


A film about climate change, disguised as a portrait of collective anxiety.

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A complex portrait of a city and its inhabitants, The Hottest August gives us a window into the collective consciousness of the present. The film’s point of departure is one city over one month: New York City, including its outer boroughs, during August 2017. It’s a month heavy with the tension of a new President,  growing anxiety over everything from rising rents to marching white nationalists, and unrelenting news of either wildfires or hurricanes on every coast. The film pivots on the question of futurity: what does the future look like from where we are standing? And what if we are not all standing in the same place? The Hottest August offers a mirror onto a society on the verge of catastrophe, registering the anxieties, distractions, and survival strategies that preoccupy ordinary lives.

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Brett Story, Director/Producer

Brett Story is an award-winning nonfiction filmmaker based in Toronto whose films have screened at festivals internationally, including the Viennale, True/False, Oberhausen, It’s All True, and Dok Leipzig.  Her 2016 feature documentary, The Prison in Twelve Landscapes was awarded the Special Jury Prize at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and was a nominee for Best Feature Documentary at the Canadian Screen Awards. The film was broadcast on PBS’s Independent Lens in April of 2017. Brett holds a PhD in geography from the University of Toronto and is currently an assistant professor in the School of Image Arts at Ryerson University. She is the author of the book, Prison Land: Mapping Carceral Power across Neoliberal America, and co-editor of the forthcoming volume, Infrastructures of Citizenship. Brett was a 2016 Sundance Institute Art of Nonfiction Fellow and a 2018 Guggenheim Fellow in film and video. 

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Danielle Varga, Producer

Danielle Varga is a nonfiction producer based in Brooklyn. She co-produced Kirsten Johnson's award-winning film Cameraperson which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2016 and was released by Janus Films and The Criterion Collection. She produced the short documentary Watched (Tribeca 2017), was consulting producer on This is Home (Sundance 2018) and Charm City (Tribeca 2018) and archival producer on Matt Wolf’s Teenage. Prior to her work in independent film, Danielle worked on a number of documentaries for television, including PBS's Frontline, American Experience and Makers series, as well Bill Moyers' Weekly Current Affairs program. Danielle was recently listed on Doc NYC’s inaugural 2018 list of “40 Under 40” filmmakers to watch, and was a 2016-2017 Sundance Creative Producing Fellow.

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Nels Bangerter, Editor

Nels Bangerter is a documentary film editor and two-time winner of both the International Documentary Association's and Cinema Eye Honors' Best Editing awards. His work includes Cameraperson (2016), which premiered at Sundance and won the Freedom of Expression award from the National Board of Review, Very Semi-Serious (2015), which won Best Bay Area Documentary at SFIFF, and Let the Fire Burn (2013), which won the Independent Spirit Truer Than Fiction Award. He has been an advisor to the Sundance Institute Lab Program and has been nominated for two News and Documentary Emmys.


Derek Howard, Director of Photography

Derek Howard is a director and cinematographer whose collaborations have led to screenings at the Venice, TIFF, Sundance, HotDocs, IDFA, and many others. He was a participant in the IDFA Summer School, IDFAcademy, Reykjavik International Film Festival’s Trans Atlantic Talent Lab, and the Berlinale Talents program. Derek was the assistant director and 2nd cinematographer for renowned director Victor Kossakovky’s Vivan Las Antipodas and Aquarela. Most recently he shot Brett Story’s The Hottest August, as well as Jeremy Shaw’s Venice Biennale premiering art piece The Quantification Trilogy. His latest directing project is a short documentary called The Harvester which screens at VIFF and True/False. He is based in Brooklyn.



Maida Lynn, Sally Jo Fifer, Lois Vossen


Ernst Karel


Troy Herion

THE HOTTEST AUGUST is produced by Oh Ratface Films and Walking Productions, and co-produced with ITVS, with support from Sundance, Cinereach, Field of Vision.

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