Hot Docs is in sync with Lalita Krishna.
Krishna (pictured), the president of In Sync Media, has been named this year’s recipient of the Don Haig Award, presented to an outstanding Canadian independent producer with a feature-length film in competition at Hot Docs – in this case, 2021 official selection Bangla Surf Girls.
Selected by a jury of independent producers, the award recognizes creative vision, entrepreneurship and a track record of mentoring emerging Canadian filmmakers.
Krishna’s 20 years of credentials include films that reflect her strong belief in empowering underrepresented voices, with recent credits including coproducing Fear of Dancing for CBC Gem, Documentary Channel, and producing Untying the Knot, for CBC’s Documentary Channel in November 2019.
Her production résumé also includes 2015 Reel World best feature doc winner Listen to Me; Lowdown Tracks DM, a digital website companion to Bishari Films’ feature documentary; and 2012′s Semisweet: Life in Chocolate, the internationally acclaimed film about child labor in the chocolate trade, which won the Canadian Screen Award for best original music For a non-fiction program or series in 2013 and was adapted with a mobile app to track ethical chocolate.
Krishna also won another Reel World best Canadian feature award for 2005′s Tiger and received the 2013 Crystal Award for mentorship from WIFT (Women in Film and Television); the 2012 Trailblazer Award from the Reel World Film Festival, and the Dream Catcher Award from the Hope and Dreams Festival NJ.
Also nominated for the Japan Prize (Sweatin’ It, 2002 and Jambo Kenya, 2005), the Chris Award for best social documentary (Ryan’s Well, 2002, Chaos, Chords & Karma, 2004 and Move Your World, 2005); and Audience Choice Awards at TIFF Kids (Move Your World) and the Montreal South Asian Film Festival (Untying The Knot, 2019), Krisha was appointed co-chair of the Hot Docs Board of Directors in 2018.
Krishna also created the interactive documentary series Breakout for CBC Kids, serving as the launching pad for many young filmmakers who directed different episodes – and was the visionary behind the DOC Institute’s Breakthrough Lab, equipping hundreds of filmmakers with skills to develop and pitch their films in the competitive marketplace.
Krishna, who wrote as well as produced Bangla Surf Girls, receives a $5000 cash prize courtesy of the Don Haig Foundation. In turn, part of the prize allows her to allocate an additional $5000, courtesy of Hot Docs, to an emerging female documentary filmmaker. Krishna has chosen her director of Bangla Surf Girls – Bangladeshi native Elizabeth D. Costa – as the recipient.
Costa will also receive complimentary all-access pass for Hot Docs 2022.
In receiving The Don Haig Award, Krishna said in a statement that this is one of the few accolades that recognizes producers.
“I feel privileged and humbled — particularly because I know that the jury is made up of peers which makes this recognition even more special,” she said. “Documentary has given so much meaning to my life that it seems fair to pay it forward. This award also recognizes the importance of giving. A popular Eastern proverb says: ‘while it’s an honor to receive – it’s a privilege to give’.”
Previous winners of the Don Haig Award over the past five years include filmmakers Bob Moore (2020), Peter Raymont (2019), Ina Fichman (2018), Daniel Cross (2017) and Ed Barreveld (2016).
The 28th edition of Hot Docs, North America’s largest documentary festival, conference and market, is currently underway as a virtual edition until May 9.