Hot Docs to highlight Italian docs, honor Julia Reichert, Julia Ivanova

Canadian international documentary festival Hot Docs has unveiled a series of special events and screenings scheduled for this year’s event, including an outstanding achievement award for director Julia Reichert and ...
January 23, 2019

Canadian international documentary festival Hot Docs has unveiled a series of special events and screenings scheduled for this year’s event, including an outstanding achievement award for director Julia Reichert and a retrospective on Canadian filmmaker Julia Ivanova.

Three-time Oscar nominee Reichert (pictured, right) has been selected as the recipient of the 2019 Hot Docs outstanding achievement award, honoring her documentary filmmaking career.

Reichert has been making documentaries for 50 years, with a focus on class, gender and race in America.

Her first film, Growing Up Female (1971), has been credited as the first feature documentary of the modern women’s movement, and was recently selected for inclusion in the National Film Registry. Her later docs Union Maids (1976) and Seeing Red (1984), both co-directed with Jim Klein, were nominated for Academy Awards for best feature documentary, and her 2009 short The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant earned an Oscar nod for best documentary short. Her four-hour documentary, A Lion in the House (2006), made with co-director Steven Bognar for PBS, won the Primetime Emmy for exceptional merit in non-fiction filmmaking.

Outside of her filmmaking, Reichert was a professor of motion pictures at Wright State University for 28 years. She’s served on the boards of the Ohio Humanities Council, the Independent Feature Project and the Association of Independents in Video and Film. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as well as the Television Academy. Additionally, she co-founded New Day Films, an independent film distribution co-op.

The outstanding achievement award at Hot Docs will include a partial retrospective of Reichert’s work, screened during the festival. Titles included in the retrospective program will be announced in March.

“Julia Reichert’s exceptional career has spanned almost 50 years, and we’re thrilled to be recognizing her with Hot Docs Outstanding Achievement Award this year,” said Shane Smith, director of programming for Hot Docs, in a statement. “Not only a lauded filmmaker, Julia is a mentor, community builder and an impassioned chronicler of the complex issues facing America today, and we are honored to amplify the voice of this master storyteller, who has given voice to so many others through her work.”

Elsewhere, Hot Docs will honor Ivanova (left) with its annual Focus On retrospective.

Through the program, Hot Docs will showcase a selection of the Moscow-born director’s documentaries during the festival. Ivanova’s past credits include docs like From Russia, for Love; Fatherhood Dreams; Love Translated; Ash & Oil; and High Five.

In 2011, the filmmaker took home the Hot Docs Best Canadian Feature Film award for her project Family Portrait in Black and White. Produced through her Vancouver-based production banner Interfilm with Boris Ivanov, Family Portrait follows Olga Nenya, a woman who raises 16 orphans in a small Ukrainian town.

In addition, her film Limit Is the Sky recently won Vancouver-based DOXA Documentary Film Festival’s Colin Low Best Canadian Documentary prize. Written and directed by Ivanova, the NFB-produced doc tells the story of six young Canadians who hope to make their livelihoods in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Ivanova is also currently working on her latest project, Pipeline in Paradise, a doc on two opposite human forces that are connected by the Trans Mountain Pipeline.

She joins past honorees like John Walker, Maya Gallus, Rosie Dranfield, Carole Laganiere, John Zaritsky, Peter Mettler and more.

The festival will also feature a “Made In Italy” program highlighting documentary films from the European country.

“Recent years have seen a surge of in the quality and range of stories being told in Italian documentary,” said Smith. “Italian filmmakers are taking advantage of the hidden histories and unique perspectives the country holds and are crafting local stories that offer a global perspective — that speak to not only what’s happening in their country, but how these subjects relate and resonate with society at large.”

Titles included in the program will be announced in March.

Past “Made In” programs have focused on Mexico (2018 and 2008), Japan (2017 and 2006), Australia (2016), India (2015), Denmark (2014), Poland (2013), Southeastern Europe (2012), Italy (2011), South America (2010), South Korea (2009), Brazil (2007), South Africa (2004) and Taiwan (2003).

Hot Docs will present its 26th annual edition from April 25 to May 5 at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema and other venues in Toronto. Conference sessions and market events will include the Hot Docs Forum, Hot Docs Deal Maker and the Doc Shop.

(With files from Playback Daily)

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