Hot Docs to recognize Steve James, Rosie Dransfeld

The Canadian documentary festival is slated to honor Hoop Dreams director Steve James (pictured) with its 2016 Outstanding Achievement Award, while Canadian filmmaker Rosie Dransfeld will be honored with this year's Focus On retrospective.
January 19, 2016

Canadian festival Hot Docs is to celebrate American director-producer Steve James (pictured) with its 2016 Outstanding Achievement Award, while filmmaker Rosie Dransfeld will be honored with this year’s Focus On retrospective.

Hot Docs is slated to screen a retrospective on James’ career during the 23rd annual festival, which this year runs from April 28 to May 8. Having worked in partnership with Chicago-based producer Kartemquin Films for more than 30 years, James’ film credits include the Oscar-nominated Hoop Dreams, Life Itself, Prefontaine, At the Death House Door, Stevie and The Interrupters.

“It’s an honour to celebrate a filmmaker of such depth, humanity and integrity as Steve James with the Hot Docs Outstanding Achievement Award,” said Shane Smith, festival director of programming, in a statement. “Over a career spanning three decades, his body of exceptional work has demonstrated his commitment to illuminating stories of grit, honor and personal sacrifice; and solidified his status as a master of the documentary form.”

Dransfeld, meanwhile, is to be presented with the Focus On retrospective, which showcases the work of a mid-career Canadian filmmaker. Her filmography includes Bosses, The Dogwalker, Home Movies, Who Cares, The Ward, Anti-Social Limited and Broke, for which she received a Gemini Award for Best Social-Political Documentary in 2010. Dransfeld is currently producing two documentaries as part of ‘The Transplant Project’ for Canadian pubcaster CBC’s The Nature of Things and the Documentary Channel.

“Rosie Dransfeld’s deeply humane films shine a light on the forgotten and the marginalized, her vérité filmmaking sensitively revealing their resilience and resolve,” added Smith.

The films screening in both retrospectives are to be announced in March.

Previous Outstanding Achievement Award honorees have included Patricio Guzmán (2015), Adam Curtis (2014), Les Blank (2013), Michel Brault (2012), Terence Macartney-Filgate (2011), Kim Longinotto (2010), Alanis Obomsawin (2009), Richard Leacock (2008), Heddy Honigmann (2007), Werner Herzog (2006) and Errol Morris (2005).

Meanwhile, the past Focus On recipients were Carole Laganière  (2015), John Zaritsky (2014), Peter Mettler (2013), John Kastner (2012), Alan Zweig (2011), Tahani Rached (2010), Ron Mann (2009), Jennifer Baichwal (2008), Kevin McMahon (2007), Serge Giguère (2006), Larry Weinstein (2005), Nettie Wild (2004), Shelley Saywell (2003) and Zacharias Kunuk (2002).

About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.