Hot Docs ’14: “Out of Mind,” “Waiting for August” honored

UPDATED: John Kastner's hard-hitting mental health doc Out of Mind, Out of Sight (pictured) has picked up the award for Best Canadian Feature Documentary at Hot Docs in Toronto.
May 2, 2014

UPDATE MAY 5: Madeleine Grant’s doc The Backward Class won Hot Doc’s Audience Award, narrowly beating Meet the Patels into second place and The Case Against 8, which came in third.

Meanwhile, Niels van Koevorden and Sabine Lubbe Bakker’s Ne Me Quitte Pas won the Filmmaker-to-Filmmaker Award, as voted for by filmmakers with films at this year’s festival. Hot Docs claimed record-breaking audience numbers for this year’s event, with an estimated audience of 192,000.

EARLIER STORY: John Kastner’s hard-hitting mental health doc Out of Mind, Out of Sight (pictured) has picked up the award for Best Canadian Feature Documentary at Hot Docs in Toronto.

The 62-year-old director’s film focuses on patients at the Brockville Mental Health Centre in Ontario, Canada. Kastner secured rare access to the facility and used it create two docs, including NCR: Not Criminally Responsible, which played at Hot Docs last year.

Out of Mind was produced by Kastner alongside Deborah Parks and Silva Basmajian, and the film’s award comes with a CAD$10,000 prize (US$9,110).

In a jury statement, the doc was praised “for finding deep empathy and humanity in one of the most physically and emotionally harrowing environments imaginable, and for bringing insight to the emotional complexity surrounding the issue of mental illness.”

Elsewhere, the $5,000 Special Jury Prize for Canadian Feature Documentary was presented to Thomas Wallner’s Before the Last Curtain Falls, which follows the off-stage lives of six aging Belgian transvestite and transsexual performers; while the Emerging Canadian Filmmaker Award – given to a first- or second-time Canadian filmmaker with a feature film in the Canadian Spectrum program – went to director Grant Baldwin for Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story.

In the latter category, the jury gave an honorable mention to director Amar Wala for The Secret Trial 5.

The $10,000 Best International Feature Documentary Award was presented to Teodora Ana Mihai’s Waiting for August , which looks at the story of a Romanian teen who is abruptly left in charge of her six siblings; while the $5,000 Special Jury Prize for International Feature Documentary was presented to Eliza Kubarska’s diving doc Walking Under Water.

Meanwhile, the Emerging International Filmmaker Award was presented to director Orlando von Einsiedel for his Congolese environmental film Virunga.

In a statement, the awards jury praised the film, saying it “efficiently sets up the historical context for its intimate story of man and animals. When the story is overtaken by war and violence the filmmaker bravely follows the story where it has to go.”

The $3,000 award for Best Mid-Length Documentary was presented to Cédric Dupire and Gaspard Kuentz’s Kings Of The Wind & Electric Queens , while the $3,000 Best Short Documentary Award was presented to Kelly Hucker and James Fleming’s Ghost Train.

In the Best Short Documentary category, the jury also acknowledged Emil Langballe’s doc Beach Boy with an honorable mention.

Finally, 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: Madeleine Grant and Matt Johnson.

Each recipient received a $5,000 cash prize courtesy of the Lindalee Tracey Fund, $5,000 in post-production services from Technicolor, and a hand-blown glass sculpture by Andrew Kuntz.

As previously reported, Brit director Adam Curtis was honored as the recipient of the 2014 Hot Docs Outstanding Achievement Award; Toronto-based producer Michael McNamara was presented with the Don Haig Award; and Danish commissioner Mette Hoffman Meyer received the 2014 Doc Mogul Award.

The 2014 Hot Docs Awards took place this evening (May 2), at the Windsor Arms Hotel in Toronto. Hot Docs wraps its 11-day run on Sunday (May 4).

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