Hot Docs names Iikka Vehkalahti as 2016 Doc Mogul

The former YLE commissioner (pictured) will receive this year's Doc Mogul Award during the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival.
January 20, 2016

Former YLE commissioner Iikka Vehkalahti (pictured) will receive this year’s Doc Mogul Award during the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival.

The award recognizes individuals who have “made an essential contribution to the creative vitality of the documentary industry, both at home and abroad.” Past recipients include NHK’s Takahiro Hamano, DR TV’s Mette Hoffmann Meyer, Women Make Movies’ Debra Zimmerman and Participant Media’s Diane Weyermann.

Vehkalahti was the commissioning editor for Finnish pubcaster YLE from 1998 to 2015 and is now the executive producer of IV Films Ltd, Rough Cut Service and Dare To Dream Asia.

He started his career as a director in 1987 with Finnish prodco Epidem and later launched his own shop, Musafilm. While at YLE, he commissioned The 3 Rooms of MelancholiaRecipes for DisasterThe Steam of Life and The Punk Syndrome.

He is also a co-founder and board member of non-profit organization STEPS, which works with AfriDocs and co-produced the series Why Democracy? He co-authored the documentary filmmaking book Steps By Steps and exec produces for Rough Cut Service, a collective of global documentary editors, as well as the Dare To Dream Asia documentary series, a group of 17 projects in development from Asian filmmakers and aimed at an Asian and global audience.

As an executive producer, his credits include several docs produced in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, including all 34 films in the Steps for the Future series. He has also supported The Act of KillingThe Look of Silence and Armadillo.

“It has been a pleasure to witness documentaries emerge as a celebrated global art form throughout my career,” he said in a statement. “Working with filmmakers from Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and beyond, and seeing these incredible stories get made, often with limited resources, has been very rewarding and fun.”

Vehkalahti will receive the honor during a luncheon on May 2.

Before he retired from YLE, IDFA Forum organizer Adriek van Nieuwenhuyzen presented Vehkalahti with a parting gift during last year’s Forum in Amsterdam and commended him for his contributions to the event over the years.

This year’s Hot Docs will also celebrate American filmmaker Steve James with its 2016 Outstanding Achievement Award, and filmmaker Rosie Dransfeld will be honored with this year’s Focus On retrospective.

The 2016 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival takes place from April 28 to May 8 in Toronto.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.