Hot Docs 2018: A Little Wisdom, Transformer among award winners

The documentary festival hands out 13 prizes including best Canadian feature


Hot Docs is still rolling this weekend, but the documentary festival announced most of its awards Friday night, naming winners in 13 categories and distributing $85,000 in cash and prizes to some very happy filmmakers.

Yuqi Kang’s A Little Wisdom – about an orphan monk growing up at a Tibetan monastery – was named best Canadian feature documentary, and took a $10,000 prize the film’s last screening is today (Saturday May 5) at 1 pm at the Revue Cinema.

The DGC special jury prize for Canadian feature documentary went to Christy Garland’s What Walaa Wants, about a young woman determined to join the predominantly male Palestinian Security Forces.

Michael Del Monte, director of Transformer, won the emerging Canadian filmmaker award, which comes with a $3,000 cash prize Del Monte’s film follows trans bodybuilder Janae Marie Kroczaleski as she negotiates her personal and professional transition in the hyper-masculine environment of power building.

Hind Bensari’s We Could Be Heroes – a profile of disillusioned Paralympic gold medalist Azzedine Nouiri – was named best international feature documentary, which comes with a $10,000 prize it has its final screening tomorrow (Sunday May 6) at 8:45 pm at the Aga Khan Museum.

The special jury prize for international feature documentary was a tie, shared by Shameela Seedat’s Whispering Truth To Power and Corrado Punzi’s Wind Of Swabia the $5,000 cash prize will be split between the two films. Whispering Truth To Power, about the efforts of South Africa’s public protector Thuli Madonsela to hold president Jacob Zuma accountable for illegal activities, will have its final screening tonight at 6:45 pm at the TIFF Bell Lightbox Wind Of Swabia, a look at an Italian port city surrounded by corporate polluters, has one more show tomorrow at 10 am at the Scotiabank Theatre.

Siblings Elan and Jonathan Bogarin won the emerging international filmmaker award for 306 Hollywood, their quirky look at the physical legacy of their grandmother Annette Ontell that prize comes with a $3,000 cash prize. The film’s final screening is this afternoon at 3:30 pm at the Scotiabank Theatre. (The jury also gave an honourable mention to The Proposal director Jill Magid.)

Enrico Maist’s The Call, a look at Italy’s criminal justice system, won the $3,000 best mid-length documentary award, while Christian Einshøj’s Haunted – a stylized examination of empty-nest syndrome – was named best international short documentary. That award also carries a $3,000 cash prize the jury gave an honourable mention to Floyd Russ’s Zion.

Jamie Miller’s Prince’s Tale, about performer Prince Amponsah, won the $3,000 best Canadian short documentary prize its final screening is tomorrow at 2:45 pm at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. (The jury gave an honourable mention to Christian Borys and Marta Iwanek’s Vika.)

Previously announced awards presented at the ceremony include the Lindalee Tracey award for emerging Canadian filmmakers “with a passionate point of view, a strong sense of social justice and a sense of humour”, given this year to Fazila Amiri and Tim Tracey both Amiri and Tracey received $5,000 cash prizes, $5,000 in post-production services from Technicolor and the traditional Andrew Kuntz glass sculpture.

The Hot Docs outstanding achievement award was presented to American documentary legend Barbara Kopple, director of Harlan County U.S.A., American Dream and Dixie Chicks: Shut Up And Sing, among many others, and the Don Haig award, presented to Montreal producer Ina Fichman – who chose Fanny Drew and Sarah Mannering of Colonelle Films to receive this year’s $5,000 Don Haig Pay It Forward prize.

Finally, the $5,000 Scotiabank Docs For Schools student choice award went to On Her Shoulders, Alexandria Bombach’s empathetic profile of United Nations goodwill ambassador Nadia Murad Basee Taha.

But that’s not the only audience award at Hot Docs the $50,000 Rogers audience award for best Canadian documentary will be announced tomorrow night at 7 pm at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, before a free screening of the winning film. UPDATE: Transformer won that too!

The other audience awards, and the top 20 audience picks of the 2018 festival, will be announced on Monday. Stay tuned.

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