The Hottest August

The Hottest August

Brett Story / 2019 / 94 minutes / USA

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.


• Two short films by Brett Story
CamperForce (2017, 16 minutes)
A Debtors’ Prison (2018, 15 minutes)

• Interview with Brett Story (42 minutes)

• Theatrical Trailer


Prison in Twelve Landscapes, the acclaimed documentary about our criminal justice system.


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  • “One of the Ten Best Films of the Year. A documentary about climate change like you’ve never seen before.”

    — Alissa Wilkinson, Vox
  • "One of the Ten Best Movies of The Year. An indescribably rich text... a haunting document about climate change."

    — Alison Wilmore, Vulture
  • "One of the Ten Best Documentaries of the Year. A first-rate city symphony, and a rare look at Gotham from the ground up."

    — David Fear, Rolling Stone
  • “Critic’s Pick! Fascinating. A cinematic gift... an intellectual challenge and an emotional adventure.”

    — Glenn Kenny, The New York Times
  • “One of the Best Documentaries of the Year.”

  • "Stunning."

    — Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair
  • "One of the Ten Best Documentaries of the Year."

  • “Monumental. Why people are worried—and how they’re learning to cope—is what powers this remarkable documentary."

    — Tim Grierson, Paste Magazine
  • “One of the Best Documentaries of the Year. A Remarkable documentary.”

    Paste Magazine
  • “One of the Ten Best Films of the Year. Story’s stunning follow up to The Prison in Twelve Landscapes. A mesmerizing, meditative work of art.”

    — Peter Debruge, Variety
  • "An absorbing social study about hopes, dreams and our current climate."

    — Sophie Brown, Sight & Sound
  • “Story expands her canvas to encapsulate New York — as a microcosm for humanity itself — from virtually every angle with audacious cinematic energy.”

    — Eric Kohn, Indiewire
  • "The Hottest August is a rare climate crisis film that focuses on lived experiences rather than bolstering a dire prognosis with quantitative data."

    — Chelsea Phillips-Carr, Cleo Journal
  • “A calm, yet urgent polyphonic documentary that sheds lights on collective anxieties."

    — Manon Euler, Directed by Women
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