Friday, May 2, 2014

2014 Hot Docs Awards – winners


Hot Docs is pleased to announce this year’s award-winning Festival films and filmmakers. The Hot Docs Awards Presentation, hosted by award-winning broadcaster and best-selling author Jian Ghomeshi, host of CBC Radio’s Q, took place on Friday, May 2, at the Windsor Arms Hotel in Toronto. Thirteen awards and $66,000 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 OUT OF MIND, OUT OF SIGHT (D: John Kastner; P: John Kastner, Deborah Parks, Silva Basmajian; Canada), the story of patients at the Brockville Mental Health Centre struggling for control of their lives in the face of a society that fears and demonizes them for their violent acts. Sponsored by the Documentary Organization of Canada, the award includes a $10,000 cash prize courtesy of Hot Docs. Jury statement: “For finding deep empathy and humanity in one of the most physically and emotionally harrowing environments imaginable, and for bringing insight to the emotional complexity surrounding the issue of mental illness, we award the Best Canadian Feature Documentary Award to OUT OF MIND, OUT OF SIGHT. This film is important.” OUT OF MIND, OUT OF SIGHT screens again on Sunday, May 4, at 1:00 pm at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.

The Special Jury Prize – Canadian Feature Documentary was presented to BEFORE THE LAST CURTAIN FALLS (D: Thomas Wallner; P: Kerstin Meyer-Beetz; Belgium, Canada, Germany), which follows the tumultuous off-stage lives of six aging Belgian transvestite and transsexual performers. Sponsored by the Directors Guild of Canada and DGC Ontario, the award includes a $5000 cash prize courtesy of Hot Docs. Jury statement: “A frank and tender look at a group of vibrant, mature artists in the autumn of their lives who bare their scars and joys with grace and humour. For a visually rich and deftly told tale of mortality, gender identity and the transformative power of performance, the jury awards the Special Jury Prize – Canadian Feature Documentary to Before the Last Curtain Falls.”

The Emerging Canadian Filmmaker Award, given to a first- or second-time Canadian filmmaker with a feature film in the Canadian Spectrum program, was presented to director Grant Baldwin for JUST EAT IT: A FOOD WASTE STORY (Canada), which explores the waste created by our food-obsessed culture. Jury statement: “For bringing a filmmaker’s eye to a familiar debate regarding natural resources and the impact of humankind on the planet and our fellow species, we present the Emerging Canadian Filmmaker Award to Grant Baldwin for Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story.”

In the Emerging Canadian Filmmaker Award category, the jury gave an honourable mention to director Amar Wala for THE SECRET TRIAL 5 (D: Amar Wala; P: Noah Bingham, Amar Wala, Madeleine Cohen (co-producer); Canada). Jury statement: “A well-made documentary that exposes the reality of security certificates which is a shocking truth that every Canadian should know.”

The Best International Feature Documentary Award was presented to WAITING FOR AUGUST (D: Teodora Ana Mihai; P: Hanne Phlypo, Antoine Vermeesch; Belgium), the story of a Romanian teen who is abruptly left in charge of taking care of her six siblings. Sponsored by A&E, the award includes a $10,000 cash prize courtesy of Hot Docs. Jury statement: “Tonight's winner is a beautifully crafted vérité film that reveals its central characters through the details of everyday life. With balance and nuance it shows a family dealing with the stress created by harsh economic realities. However, what makes Waiting for August truly special is that by the time it’s over you will have laughed, cried, and become one of the family.”

The Special Jury Prize – International Feature Documentary was presented to WALKING UNDER WATER (D: Eliza Kubarska; P: Monika Braid, Stefan Kloos, Maciej Ostoja-Chyžynski, Filip Kovcien, Eliza Kubarska; Poland, Germany, UK), the story of the last compressor diver from the Badjao tribe in Malaysian Borneo imparting his wisdom and diving techniques to a young student. Sponsored by the Ontario Media Development Corporation, the award includes a $5000 cash prize courtesy of Hot Docs. Jury statement: “Being transported into other worlds, cultures and someone else’s shoes - or fins in this case - is the power of documentary films. Tonight's Special Jury Prize winner not only possesses this power, but also reaches beyond its subject, filling its narrative with the grand beauty and awe of Cinema. Reminiscent of the classic documentaries of Robert Flaherty, Walking Under Water is an exquisite and lyrical experience.” WALKING UNDER WATER screens again on Saturday, May 3, at 9:30 pm at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.

The Emerging International Filmmaker Award was presented to director Orlando von Einsiedel for VIRUNGA (UK), the story of a Belgian conservationist and a team of Congolese rangers working tirelessly to protect the world’s last mountain gorilla population. Jury statement: “This powerful film efficiently sets up the historical context for its intimate story of man and animals. When the story is overtaken by war and violence the filmmaker bravely follows the story where it has to go. Virunga is not only an intensely dramatic narrative, but also functions as a compelling call-to-action. For that reason we've awarded its director, Orlando von Einsiedel, with the Emerging International Filmmaker Award.” VIRUNGA screens again on Saturday, May 3, at 9:30 pm at the Isabel Bader Theatre.

The award for Best Mid-Length Documentary was presented to KINGS OF THE WIND & ELECTRIC QUEENS (D: Cédric Dupire, Gaspard Kuentz; P: Jérome Aglibert; France), which explores the vivid sights of India’s Sonepur Fair on the first day of Diwali. Sponsored by the Canada Council for the Arts, the award includes a $3000 cash prize courtesy of Hot Docs. Jury statement: “Bristling with life, psychedelic flourishes, youthful enthusiasm and for its shot of the elephant trunk, we salute the cinematic extravagance of Kings of the Wind & Electric Queens.”

The Best Short Documentary Award was presented to GHOST TRAIN (D: Kelly Hucker, James Fleming; P: James Fleming, Kelly Hucker; Australia), a spellbinding story about love, friendship and the horror of growing old. The award includes a $3000 prize courtesy of Hot Docs. Jury statement: “The jury recognized the haunting combination of themes – mortality, fantasy, humanity, desire – matched by beautiful cinematography and rich, complex storytelling.” Hot Docs is an Academy Award qualifying festival for short documentaries and, as winner of the Best Short Documentary Award, GHOST TRAIN 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 BEACH BOY (D: Emil Langballe; P: Emil Langballe; UK, Denmark) with an honourable mention.

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 two recipients: Madeleine Grant and Matt Johnson. Each 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 Adam Curtis as the recipient of the 2014 Hot Docs Outstanding Achievement Award.

Toronto-based producer Michael McNamara was presented with the Don Haig Award, which is presented 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 $5000 cash prize courtesy of the Don Haig Foundation.

Earlier this week, the Gaiam TV Conscious Media Award was presented to director Andrew Napier for MAD AS HELL (USA) at its world premiere on Tuesday, April 29. The film tells the story of Cenk Uygur’s unlikely version of the American Dream, rising from public access TV to become the creator of the most popular online news show in the world. Selected by Gaiam TV, the award includes a $5000 cash prize courtesy of Gaiam TV.

Also earlier in the week, Mette Hoffman Meyer, commissioning editor of documentaries for DR TV, Danish Broadcasting Corporation, received the 2014 Doc Mogul Award at a special luncheon.

The 2014 awards for films in competition were determined by four juries.

The Canadian Feature Documentary Jury: Shelley Ambrose (executive director, The Walrus Foundation; publisher, The Walrus magazine), Malcolm Ingram (director, CONTINENTAL, Hot Docs 2013), Stephen Schroeder (executive director, Calgary International Film Festival).

The International Feature Documentary Jury: Anna Eborn, (director, PINE RIDGE, Hot Docs 2014), Gordon Quinn (artistic director and founder, Kartemquin Films), Tom Quinn (co-president, RADiUS-TWC).

The Mid-Length Jury: Thomas Balmès (director, HAPPINESS, Hot Docs 2014), Kirsten Johnson (director, cinematographer), Maxim Pozdorovkin (director, THE NOTORIOUS MR. BOUT, Hot Docs 2014).

The Shorts Jury: Jessica Oreck (director, AATSINKI: THE STORY OF ARCTIC COWBOYS, Hot Docs 2013), Florian Habicht (director, PULP, Hot Docs 2014), Matthew Hays (Montreal-based critic, author, film festival programmer and university instructor).

The JUST EAT.CA Audience Award and audience top ten favourite films of the 2014 Festival, determined by audience ballot, will be announced on Monday, May 5. Also announced on this day is the Filmmaker-to-Filmmaker Award, determined by ballots cast by Hot Docs 2014 filmmakers.

Hot Docs (, North America’s largest documentary festival, conference and market, will present its 21st annual edition from April 24–May 4, 2014. An outstanding selection of 197 documentaries from Canada and around the world will be presented to Toronto audiences and international delegates. Hot Docs will also mount a full roster of conference sessions and market events and services for documentary practitioners, including the renowned Hot Docs Forum, Hot Docs Deal Maker and The Doc Shop. In partnership with Blue Ice Group, Hot Docs operates the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, a century-old landmark located in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood.

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