Hot Docs benefit screening for “Big River Man” director

Canadian festival Hot Docs is hosting a special one-off fundraising screening of acclaimed 2009 doc Big River Man, in a bid to raise money to support the film's director John Maringouin (pictured).
October 23, 2012

Canadian festival Hot Docs is hosting a special one-off fundraising screening of acclaimed 2009 doc Big River Man, in a bid to raise money to support the film’s director John Maringouin (pictured).

Realscreen is partnering with Hot Docs to support the event, which takes place at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema in Toronto on October 27 at 4 p.m. EST.

The benefit comes after Maringouin, whose other documentaries include Running Stumbled and Just Another Day in the Homeland, was diagnosed with a tumor in his lung which required immediate surgery.

As the American director is without healthcare insurance, he needed to quickly raise a US$64,000 down-payment to proceed with a $214,000 operation to treat the tumor.

Friends and colleagues from throughout the documentary world launched a crowdfunding campaign to help the director, spearheaded by Maringouin’s friend and fellow director Stephen Kijak (Stones in Exile, Scott Walker: 30 Century Man).

While the campaign, which drew support from fellow doc directors including Morgan Spurlock and Laura Poitras, was successful in raising the money needed for the initial down-payment, donations are still needed to help cover the $214,000 cost of the operation.

“The documentary community really is just that – a community – and I applaud Hot Docs for rallying to support John in his time of need,” said realscreen associate editor Adam Benzine in a statement.

“After partnering with the festival for last year’s Tim Hetherington benefit screening, we are delighted to support them again for this worthy cause. We all hope to see John with a camera back in his hands again soon.”

Big River Man, which won the World Cinema Documentary Cinematography Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 2009, follows the Slovenian long-distance swimmer Martin Strel as he swims the entire 3,300 mile length of the Amazon River, between February and April 2007.

Tickets for the screening are CAD$11 each ($8 for Bloor Hot Docs Cinema members), with all proceeds from tickets sold going to the John Maringouin Surgery Fund. They can be purchased at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema box office or online here.

In addition, donations can also be made directly at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, or by phone at +1-416-203-1255 (ext 227).

Check out the trailer for Big River Man below:

About The Author
Andrew Jeffrey joined Realscreen in 2021 as its news editor. Here, he helps to oversee assignment, reporting and editing for Realscreen's daily newsletter. Prior to his work covering documentary and non-fiction film and TV, he worked as a reporter and associate producer for CBC Edmonton, and as a reporter for The Star Calgary, where he covered daily news on beats such as local and provincial politics, health care and harm reduction, sports and education. His work has appeared in other Canadian news outlets such as TVO, the Edmonton Journal and Avenue Magazine.