Jason DaSilva’s When I Walk and Inigo Westmeier’s Dragon Girls were among the winners of 11 awards and CAD$89,000 (US$88,240) in cash and prizes at the 2013 Hot Docs Awards, which were handed out on Friday (May 3) in Toronto.
When I Walk, which tells the story of a young filmmaker struggling with Multiple Sclerosis, took the Best Canadian Feature Documentary award, and with it a $10,000 cash prize. The jury praised the film for “its unflinching honesty and courage in the face of personal vulnerability and physical fragility.”
Meanwhile, the Special Jury Prize for Canadian Feature Documentary was presented to Hugo Latulippe’s Alphée of the Stars, in which the filmmaker and his family spend a year abroad to focus on the needs of his developmentally challenged daughter. The film took a $5,000 cash prize.
In the international competition, Dragon Girls picked up the Best International Feature Documentary award, along with a $10,000 prize. The film looks at young female warriors-in-training learning ancient Shaolin Kung Fu at a school outside Beijing.
Elsewhere, the Special Jury Prize for International Feature Documentary was presented to Zhu Yu’s Cloudy Mountain, which follows a son and his father as they work amid toxic clouds during asbestos mining season in Lop Nur, Western China.
The Emerging Artist Award was presented to director Lotfy Nathan for 12 O’Clock Boys, which looks at a young boy seeking to join a urban dirt-bike gang in Baltimore; while a new award for Emerging Canadian Filmmaker went to Nicolas Renaud for Brave New River, which looks at the effects of massive hydroelectric projects.
The Inspirit Foundation Pluralism Prize was presented to director Khoa Lê for Bà NỘi, which tells the story of the filmmaker’s return to Vietnam; while the Lindalee Tracey Award, which honors an emerging Canadian filmmaker “with a passionate point of view, a strong sense of social justice and a sense of humor,” was presented to two recipients: Antoine Bourges and Rocco Barriuso.
Each recipient received a $5,000 cash prize from Tides/Lindalee Tracey Fund and $5,000 in production services from Technicolour Canada.
Finally, the award for Best Mid-Length Documentary was presented to Bram Conjaerts’ The Circle, which looks at people who live atop the 27-km subterranean circle housing the Large Hadron Collider, and the Best Short Documentary award went to James Spinney and Peter Middleton’s Notes On Blindness: Rainfall, which attempts to recreate the experience of a recently blinded man hearing rainfall for the first time.
As per recent Oscar rule changes reported earlier this year, the latter doc will now qualify for consideration in the Documentary Short Subject category of the annual Academy Awards without needing a standard theatrical run, provided it complies with other Academy rules.
The awards were presented at the Windsor Arms Hotel in Toronto, at a ceremony fronted by radio host Jian Ghomeshi.
As previously reported, the late Les Blank was the recipient of the 2013 Hot Docs Outstanding Achievement award, Merit Jensen Carr won the Don Haig Award, and Debra Zimmerman received the 2013 Doc Mogul award.