Call Me Kuchu, a film focusing on the efforts of a Ugandan activist to fight his country’s anti-homosexuality bill, was named best international feature at the Hot Docs Awards, presented on Friday evening at Toronto’s Windsor Arms hotel.
Directed by Malika Zouhali-Worrall and Katherine Fairfax Wright, the film’s study of activist David Kato and his struggles to liberate other LGBT Ugandans was seen by the awards jury as “wrenching yet inspiring depiction of people trying to succeed as humans and as activists in the face of hatred.”
The Special Jury Prize for an international feature went to The Law in These Parts, directed by Ra’anan Alexandrowicz.
The best Canadian feature prize went to Nisha Pahuja’s Tribeca-awarded The World Before Her (pictured above). The film, which explores the conflict between modernity and traditional values as faced by young Indian women, was called a “brave and provocative exploration of the role of women at its two extremes in contemporary Indian society” by jurors.
The Special Jury Prize for a Canadian feature went to Peace Out from director Charles Wilkinson.
The award for best mid-length documentary went to My Thai Bride, directed by David Tucker, while the best short documentary prize went to Five Fragments of the Extinct Empathy, directed by Anna Nykyri. The jury also gave honorable mentions to Loghman Khaledi’s Nessa and Dustin Guy Defa’s Family Nightmare.
The HBO Documentary Films Emerging Artist award went to both Bill Ross and Turner Ross, directors of Tchoupitoulas; and Benjamin Kahlmeyer for Meanwhile in Mamelodi.
The Don Haig Award, presented by digi-channel documentary, went to Montreal-based Mia Donovan, director of the 2011 Hot Docs selection Inside Lara Roxx. Charles Officer, director of The Mighty Jerome, received an honorable mention. The Lindalee Tracey Award, meanwhile, was given to Halifax filmmaker Jasmine Oore.
A new award this year, the Inspirit Foundation Pluralism Prize, was given to The Boxing Girls of Kabul, directed by Ariel J. Nasr.
The Hot Docs People’s Choice Award will be announced on Monday.