“The Closer We Get,” “The Living Fire” take top prizes at Hot Docs

The Closer We Get, Karen Guthrie's study of a strained family dynamic, took the prize for best international feature documentary at the Hot Docs awards presentation on May 1.
May 1, 2015

The Closer We Get, Karen Guthrie’s study of a strained family dynamic, took the prize for best international feature documentary at the Hot Docs awards presentation Friday evening (May 1).

The jury for the category noted the difficulties inherent in first person filmmaking, while praising the film for its “unflinching honesty” and “poetic precision.” The filmmakers receive a CAD$10,000 cash prize.

The special jury prize for an international feature documentary went to The Living Fire, directed by Ostap Kostyuk. Following three generations of shepherds as their remote community is impacted by the trappings of the contemporary world, the film receives a $5,000 cash prize.

Honorable mention in that category went to Adam Lough’s Hot Sugar’s Cold World.

The best Canadian feature documentary nod went to Charles Wilkinson’s Haida Gwaii: On the Edge of the World, an exploration of a sustainable healing community in the Haida Gwaii region of British Columbia. The jury cited the film’s “stunning cinematography” and depth of the characters in its recognition of the film, which receives a $10,000 cash prize.

The special jury prize for a Canadian feature documentary was awarded to The Amina Profile, directed by Sophie Deraspe. The tale of an online love affair turned international news story receives $5,000 in cash.

The Emerging Canadian Filmmaker award, meanwhile, went to Ryan Mullins for Chameleon, a film chronicling a Ghanian investigative journalist who uses disguises and unorthodox sleuthing techniques. Mullins takes home $5,000.

The Emerging International Filmmaker award, a $5,000 cash prize, was presented to Evangelia Kranioti, director of Exotica, Erotica, Etc., which focuses on a former prostitute recounting her trysts with various sailors.

The best mid-length documentary honor went to Warriors from the North, directed by Soren Steen Jespersen and Nasib Farah, which investigates the reasons why Western Muslim youths are joining radical groups abroad. The jury called it “a shocking, immediate and personal film that transcends recent headlines.” The filmmakers receive $3,000 in cash.

The jury also acknowledged Lanzmann from director Adam Benzine - an exploration of the making of the renowned Holocaust documentary Shoah featuring an extensive interview with its director, Claude Lanzmann – with an honorable mention.

The best short documentary prize went to Territory, directed by Eleanor Mortimer, which examines the territorial nature of humans and primates. It receives a $3,000 cash prize. An honorable mention in the category went to How to Cross (From Jiliz to Jiliz), directed by Sona and Marine Kocharyan.

The Lindalee Tracey Award, presented annually to an “emerging Canadian filmmaker with a passionate point of view, a strong sense of social justice and a sense of humor,” went to Yosef Baraki for Mina Walking. The prize includes a $5,000 cash prize and $5,000 in post-production services from Technicolor,

Previously announced honors included Don Haig Award recipient Anne Pick, Outstanding Achievement Award winner Patricio Guzmán, and Doc Mogul Takahiro Hamano from NHK.

The Audience and Filmmaker to Filmmaker awards will be announced on Monday.

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