Hot Docs to honor Brault, Kastner

The Canadian festival is to honor filmmakers Michel Brault and John Kastner with retrospectives, and has unveiled a crowdfunding platform called Doc Ignite.
January 31, 2012

Canadian festival Hot Docs is to honor Québécois filmmaker Michel Brault with its 2012 Outstanding Achievement Award at its forthcoming spring event, where it will also pay tribute to Toronto-based filmmaker John Kastner, playing a retrospective of both directors’ work.

Hot Docs will screen the retrospectives during its 19th annual Festival, which takes place this year from April 26 to May 6. “We are extremely excited to celebrate Michel’s work and honor him with this year’s Outstanding Achievement Award,” says Hot Docs director of programming Charlotte Cook.

“As a pioneer in fiction, non-fiction and cinematography, his work has helped define direct cinema, influencing filmmaking worldwide from the 1950s to present day.”

Kastner, meanwhile, will be the subject of this year’s Focus On retrospective – an annual program showcasing the work of a mid-career Canadian filmmaker.

“We’re grateful that John will be taking a break from filming his next project to join us at this year’s festival,” Cook added. “Given his long history with Hot Docs, it is very fitting for us to present a major retrospective of his work.”

Both directors are set to attend the festival. Brault is best known for works such as Les Noces De Papier, Shabbat Shalom, Mon Amie Max, Quand Je Serai Parti and Vous Vivrez Encore; while Kastner’s recent doc Life With Murder earned him his forth Emmy and fifth Emmy nomination.

In related news, Hot Docs has also unveiled Doc Ignite, an online crowdfunding service that will aim to assist Canadian documentary makers in building audiences and raising financing for projects.

Launching February 13, filmmakers selected for the scheme will set crowdfunding targets around specific production or post-production needs for their film projects and run campaigns to reach their goals, in a similar vein to popular crowdfunding sites IndieGoGo and Kickstarter.

“Filmmakers have greater direct access to their audiences, and crowdfunding is one tool of many to engage with their public, raise funds, and ignite their film.” said Elizabeth Radshaw, Hot Docs Forum and market director. “We’re excited to cultivate a culture of crowdfunding in Canada with Doc Ignite, as well as through our curated page on the wildly popular Kickstarter.”

Campaigns will be jointly promoted by the filmmakers to their online communities and by Hot Docs to its public and industry followings. Doc Ignite projects will be selected and supported by Hot Docs industry experts, with only one project’s campaign being run and promoted at a time.

The first six projects featured on Doc Ignite will receive an additional boost: Toronto’s Open Roof Films, presenters of the outdoor film and music series Open Roof Festival, has agreed to support each campaign with a $1,000 advance pledge.

Doc Ignite is supported by the Ontario Media Development Corporation, Telefilm Canada, the City of Toronto, and the Toronto Community Foundation.

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