Hot Docs is pleased to announce this year’s award-winning festival films and filmmakers. The Hot Docs Awards Presentation, hosted by Garvia Bailey, host of Good Morning Toronto! on Jazz.FM91, took place on Friday, May 1, at the Shangri-La Hotel, Toronto. Twelve awards and $61,000 in cash and prizes were presented to Canadian and international filmmakers, including awards for festival films in competition and those recognizing emerging and established filmmakers.
The Best Canadian Feature Documentary Award was presented to HAIDA GWAII: ON THE EDGE OF THE WORLD (D: Charles Wilkinson; P: Charles Wilkinson, Tina Schliessler; Canada), the story of Aboriginal rights activists, newcomer ecologists and quirky islanders uniting to create a sustainable healing community in the beautiful Haida Gwaii. Sponsored by the Documentary Organization of Canada, the award includes a $10,000 cash prize courtesy of Hot Docs. Jury statement: “We were impressed by the stunning cinematography, the depth of the characters and the beautiful presentation that spoke not just to this gripping story but also to the universal message of how we as a society treat and exploit indigenous people.” HAIDA GWAII: ON THE EDGE OF THE WORLD screens again on Sunday, May 3, at 7:00 p.m. at the Hart House Theatre.
The Special Jury Prize – Canadian Feature Documentary was presented to THE AMINA PROFILE (D: Sophie Deraspe; P: Isabelle Couture; Canada), the story of an online love affair turned international thriller about identity. Sponsored by the Directors Guild of Canada and DGC Ontario, the award includes a $5,000 cash prize courtesy of Hot Docs. Jury statement: “The Amina Profile took what was a news story and turned it into an emotional thriller. Sophie Deraspe created a documentary film of unexpected twists that keeps audiences on the edge of their seats.”
The Emerging Canadian Filmmaker Award, sponsored by Panicaro Foundation, is given to a first or second-time Canadian filmmaker with a feature film in the Canadian Spectrum program. The award includes a $5,000 cash prize courtesy of Panicaro Foundatio and was presented to director Ryan Mullins for CHAMELEON (Canada), which follows a Ghanaian investigative journalist famous for using undercover disguises and unorthodox detective methods. Jury statement: “Ryan Mullins took us into a world few see and somehow made an identity for a character whose face we never view. The courage and integrity to create such a film while balancing roles as director, producer and cinematographer is extraordinary.”
The Best International Feature Documentary Award was presented to THE CLOSER WE GET (D: Karen Guthrie; P: Karen Guthrie, Nina Pope; UK), a sharply focused snapshot of strained family dynamics. Sponsored by Panicaro Foundation, the award includes a $10,000 cash prize courtesy of Panicaro Foundation. Jury statement: “In a story told with unflinching honesty and written with poetic precision, this film exemplifies cinematic craft, and a generosity of approach resulting in admirable subtlety and nuance. First person filmmaking is notoriously difficult to pull off and that is why we are delighted to award the prize for Best International Feature to The Closer We Get.”
The Special Jury Prize – International Feature Documentary was presented to THE LIVING FIRE (D: Ostap Kostyuk; P: Daniil Vulitsky; Ukraine), the story of three generations of shepherds struggling with change as the contemporary world begins to encroach on their remote community. Sponsored by A&E, the award includes a $5,000 cash prize courtesy of Hot Docs. Jury statement: “The jury felt that this film combined painterly cinematography with an attentive and empathetic gaze, a sophisticated evocative sound design, and accomplished and often playful editing.”
In the Special Jury Prize – International Feature Documentary category, the jury gave an honourable mention to HOT SUGAR’S COLD WORLD (D: Adam Lough; P: Adam Lough; Hunter Stephenson; USA). Jury statement: “For a film which captures the millennial spirit, reveals a unique artistic process, challenges the orthodoxy and inspires audiences to be more original.”
The Emerging International Filmmaker Award, sponsored by Panicaro Foundation, was presented to director Evangelia Kranioti for EXOTICA, EROTICA, ETC. (France), the story of a former prostitute lyrically recalling her encounters with lonely sailors. The award includes a $5,000 cash prize courtesy of Panicaro Foundation. Jury statement: “For an assured directorial vision, an artful sensibility and a bold and elegant approach consummately executed, the award for Emerging International Filmmaker goes to Evangelia Kranioti for her film Exotica, Erotica, Etc.” .
The award for Best Mid-Length Documentary was presented to WARRIORS FROM THE NORTH (D: Søren Steen Jespersen,Nasib Farah; P: Helle Faber; Denmark), which gives chilling insight into what fuels the current trend of Western Muslim youth joining radical groups abroad. The award includes a $3,000 cash prize courtesy of Hot Docs. Jury statement: “We chose this film for the way it skillfully weaves complex story lines from multiple perspectives without losing its visual poetry; ultimately delivering a shocking, immediate and personal film that transcends recent headlines.”
In the Best Mid-Length Documentary category, the jury also acknowledged the film LANZMANN (D: Adam Benzine; P: Adam Benzine, Kimberley Warner; UK, Canada) with an honourable mention. Jury statement: “An honourable mention for delivering a devastating insight into what it takes to be an artist.”
The Best Short Documentary Award was presented to TERRITORY (D: Eleanor Mortimer; P: Eleanor Mortimer, Jacob Thomas; UK), a compelling and melodic look at the territorial nature of humans and primates. The award includes a $3,000 prize courtesy of Hot Docs. Jury statement: “The jury was astounded by this subversive play on the form of a nature film which allows us to look at urban life from a non-human point of view. The film, which works on multiple levels, is a testament to the filmmaker’s extraordinary patience.” Hot Docs is an Academy Award® qualifying festival for short documentaries and, as winner of the Best Short Documentary Award, TERRITORY will qualify for consideration in the Documentary Short Subject category of the annual Academy Awards without the standard theatrical run, provided it complies with Academy rules.
In the Best Short Documentary category, the jury also acknowledged the film HOW TO CROSS (FROM JILIZ TO JILIZ) (D: Sona Kocharyan, Marine Kocharyan; P: Sona Kocharyan, Marine Kocharyan; Armenia) with an honourable mention. Jury statement: “The complexities of geo-politics are reflected in one girl’s road trip in this lyrical film from a rarely represented or seen country.”
The Lindalee Tracey Award, which honours an emerging Canadian filmmaker with a passionate point of view, a strong sense of social justice and a sense of humour, was presented to Yosef Baraki for his film MINA WALKING. The recipient received a $5000 cash prize courtesy of the Lindalee Tracey Fund, $5000 in post-production services from Technicolor, and a beautiful hand-blown glass sculpture by Andrew Kuntz, specially commissioned to honour Lindalee.
The Hot Docs Board of Directors acknowledged Patricio Guzmán as the recipient of the 2015 Hot Docs Outstanding Achievement Award.
Toronto-based Anne Pick, producer of A DIFFERENT DRUMMER: CELEBRATING ECCENTRICS, was presented with the Don Haig Award, which is given to an outstanding independent Canadian producer with a film in the festival in recognition of his/her creative vision, entrepreneurship and track record for nurturing emerging talent. The award came with a $5,000 cash prize courtesy of the Don Haig Foundation.
Earlier in the week, Takahiro Hamano, senior producer in the programming department for NHK, received the 2015 Doc Mogul Award at a special luncheon.
The 2015 Audience Top 20 will be announced in the next few days.