Hot Docs awards round-up

Dragonslayer (pictured) picks up a nod for best international feature and Family Portrait in Black and White gets the honor for best Canadian feature. Meanwhile, Hot Docs filmgoers have bestowed the People's Choice Award upon Somewhere Between and organizers call this year's model the most successful Hot Docs to date.
May 9, 2011

Dragonslayer, the winner of the grand jury prize and best cinematography award at South by Southwest this past March has continued its awards haul, taking best international feature at the Hot Docs awards in Toronto this past Friday.

The festival’s awards ceremony, held at the venerable Windsor Arms Hotel in the city’s tony Yorkville district, handed out nine awards and over CDN$72,000 in cash prizes to Canadian and international filmmakers.

Dragonslayer, the story of a group of SoCal skateboarders which focuses on Josh ‘Screech’ Sandoval, directed by Tristan Patterson, was cited by the jury for its “funky connection between the structure and content, the freshness of filmmaking and original non-linear storytelling.” Patterson takes home a $10,000 prize courtesy of Hot Docs.

The special jury prize for an international feature was awarded to The Castle, directed by Massimo D’Anolfi and Martina Parenti, and shining the spotlight on border security via Milan’s Malpensa Airport. Lotte Stoops’ Grande Hotel and Danfung Dennis’ Hell and Back Again received honorable mentions from the international features jury.

The best Canadian feature award went to Family Portrait in Black and White, directed by Julia Ivanova. The film tells the story of Olga Nenya, a woman in the Ukraine who is raising 16 abandoned mixed-race children. The jury, in awarding the film with the $15,000 cash prize, called it “an intimate, poetic film that bravely confronts nuance and complexity in its characters and its world.”

The special jury prize for a Canadian film came down to a tie between At Night, They Dance, directed by Isabelle Lavigne and Stéphane Thibault and following belly dancers in Cairo; and Thomas Selim Wallner’s The Guantanamo Trap, which follows four individuals whose lives have been forever altered by the U.S. detention camp. David York’s Wiebo’s War was also cited by the Canadian features jury with an honorable mention.

Our Newspaper, directed by Eline Flipse, was named best mid-length documentary, while the award for best short documentary went to the mesmerizing Flying Anne, directed by Catherine van Campen. The mid-length and short documentary jury also gave honorable mentions to Boris Gerrets’ People I Could Have Been and Maybe Am and Pete Gleeson’s Something to Tell You.

The HBO Documentary Films Emerging Artist Award was presented to director Michal Marczak, helmer of At the Edge of Russia. Documentary‘s Don Haig Award, presented annually to a Canadian doc-maker, went to Toronto-based writer and director Rama Rau. The Lindalee Tracee award, presented to an emerging Canadian filmmaker whose work shows “a passionate point of view, a strong sense of social justice and a sense of humor,” was presented to Quebec’s Alexandre Hamel, director of the short doc series Key 56.

“Cuban Hat” winners, chosen by observers of the Hot Docs Forum, included Victor Buhler’s A Whole Lott More and Mark Ellam’s Jungle Prescription. BBC ‘Storyville’ editor Nick Fraser was named ‘best decision maker’ and will get to bring home the famed hat.

Last but not least, the Sundance Channel People’s Choice Award, the Shaw Media-Hot Docs Rendezvous Pitch Prize and the Filmmakers Award, chosen by doc-makers attending the fest, were announced Monday afternoon.

The People’s Choice Award, chosen by festival attendees, went to Somewhere Between, directed by Linda Goldstein Knowlton and following four Chinese-born adoptees as they come of age straddling two cultures.  The Top 10 audience favorites as determined by votes were:

  1. SOMEWHERE BETWEEN (D: Linda Goldstein Knowlton, USA)
  2. GIVE UP TOMORROW (D: Michael Collins, USA/UK)
  3. HOW TO DIE IN OREGON (D: Peter D. Richardson, USA)
  4. WILD HORSE, WILD RIDE (D: Alex Dawson and Greg Gricus, USA)
  5. SENNA (D: Asif Kapadia, UK)
  6. BUCK (D: Cindy Meehl, USA)
  7. JIG (D: Sue Bourne, Scotland)
  8. ECO PIRATE: THE STORY OF PAUL WATSON (D: Trish Dolman, Canada)
  9. BEING ELMO: A PUPPETEER’S JOURNEY (D: Constance Marks, Philip Shane (Co-Director), USA)
  10. KORAN BY HEART (D: Greg Barker, USA)

The Filmmakers Award was won by HBO Emerging Artist winner Michal Marczak, for At the Edge of Russia.

The Shaw Media-Hot Docs Rendezvous Pitch Prize went to PC Bang: The Rise of the Esports Hero from producer Erica Landrock. It’s the recipient of a $5,000 cash prize courtesy of Shaw Media-Hot Docs Development Funds.

Organizers say this is the most successful Hot Docs to date, with audience members reaching an estimated 151,000 and 2,376 international delegates in attendance. The Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival was held in Toronto from April 28-May 8.

About The Author
Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based writer into creativity, content, advertising, tech, comics, video games, film, TV, time and space travel.