Source: Hot Docs


Elizabeth Lo’s Stray about stray dogs roaming the streets of Turkey has won Best International Feature Documentary Award at the Hot Docs as top brass announced C$42,000 in cash prizes on Thursday (May 14).

Festival organisers selected winners from this year’s official competition at the postponed festival and additionally honoured Canadian filmmakers. More than 140 official festival selections and most of the winners will be made available to Ontario audiences online from May 28 on Hot Docs at Home TVOD here.

Special Jury Prize – International Feature Documentary honours went to Rodrigo Reyes’s 499 (Mexico/USA), which explores the legacy of colonialism, while Jean-François Lesage’s Prayer For A Lost Mitten was named Best Canadian Feature for his film about people who claim belongings at the Montreal Metro’s lost and found depot.

The Special Jury Prize for Canadian Feature Documentary went to Michèle Stephenson’s Stateless (USA/Canada, pictured), about a young attorney’s grassroots campaign to protect citizenship rights in the Dominican Republic for people of Haitian descent, while the Emerging Canadian Filmmaker Award given to a first- or second-time Canadian filmmaker with a feature film in the Canadian Spectrum programme has gone to Ying Wang for The World Is Bright (Canada), about an elderly Chinese couple’s quest to unravel the truth about their son’s death.

The Emerging International Filmmaker Award given to a first- or second-time international filmmaker with a feature film in the International Spectrum programme went to Todd Chandler for Bulletproof (USA), which explores the impact of fear and anxiety caused by school shooting massacres.

The award for Best Mid-Length Documentary went to Andrea Testa’s Mother-Child (Argentina), which looks at teenage pregnancy among victims of poverty and systemic gender violence.

The Best International Short Documentary Award has gone to Marlén Viñayo’s Unforgivable (El Salvador) about an imprisoned gay gang hitman. The Betty Youson Award for Best Canadian Short Documentary went to D: Theola Ross’s êmîcêtôcêt: Many Bloodlines (Canada).

Hot Docs is an Oscar-qualifying festival for international feature documentaries and short documentaries.

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 Salar Pashtoonyar for Bad Omen.

During Hot Docs Festival Online, audiences will also be able to vote for the C$50,000 Rogers Audience Award recognising the top five Canadian films in an audience poll with C$10,000 cash prizes for each. The awards will be announced live on June 7.

Last week, Montreal-based producer Bob Moore of EyeSteelFilm was named recipient of the Don Haig Award, 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. As part of the award, the recipient can name an emerging female documentary filmmaker to receive an All-Access pass to Hot Docs 2021, and Moore named Myanmar-based director and producer Snow (Hnin Ei Hlaing).

The 2020 awards for films in competition were determined by four juries.

Canadian Feature Documentary Jury: Amar Wala (producer/director); Lisa Valencia Svensson (producer); and Rada Šešić (festival programmer, film lecturer, film director).

International Feature Documentary Jury: Justine Pimlott (producer); Orwa Nyrabia (artistic director of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam); and Chris Hegedus (filmmaker).

Mid-Length Jury: Monika Navarro (senior director of Artist Programs for Firelight Media); Joäo Federici (world cinema programmer at Mill Valley Film Festival and director of programming at MixBrasil Festival); and Denae Peters (programme officer at Perspective Fund).

Shorts Jury: Sami Khan (filmmaker); Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers (filmmaker/writer/actor); and Kathleen McInnis (producer).

  • Hot Docs’ online market has wrapped its first two weeks of pitching, meetings and networking with more than C$190,000 in prize money handed out to projects in the Hot Docs Forum and the new Al Jazeera Short Pitch Competition.

International co-financing market event Hot Docs Forum saw 22 pitch teams representing 19 countries pitch their projects to top decision-makers, with women representing 18 of the 27 directors and 42 of the 60 producers associated with projects. A total of C$57,000 in cash prizes was awarded to projects.

The first look programme’s first prize of C$30,000 went to Hà Lệ Diễm’s Vietnamese coming-of-age story Children Of The Mist. The C$10,000 Corus-Hot Docs Forum Pitch Prize was awarded to Rémy Huberdeau and Sean Stiller’s immersive living world, character-driven feature Ojiibikaan (Canada).

Hot Docs partnered with Al Jazeera English’s flagship documentary TV programme Witness on the Hot Docs Al Jazeera Short Pitch and honoured two projects with C$70,000 full commissions each.

Six Mile And Woodward, pitched by producer and director Erin Byrnes, co-producer Allie Jaynes and associate producer Lucia Ho, follows a woman helping other trans women of colour in Detroit confront widespread violence, and Illegal Billboards, pitched by director Cat Mills and producer Felicity Justrabo tells of a high-energy anarchist who targets illegal billboards in Toronto.