‘Dragonslayer’ won Best International Feature and ‘Family Portrait in Black and White’ won Best Canadian Feature at the 2011 Hot Docs Film Festival. Nine awards and over $72,000 in cash prizes were presented to Canadian and international filmmakers, including awards for Festival films in competition and those recognizing emerging and established filmmakers.
2011 Hot Docs Film Festival Award Winners:
Best Canadian Feature
FAMILY PORTRAIT IN BLACK AND WHITE (D: Julia Ivanova; P: Boris Ivanov, Mike Jackson)
Sponsored by the Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation and Documentary Organization of Canada, the award includes a $15,000 prize courtesy of the Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation.
It can be dangerous to be black in post-Soviet era Ukraine, a country peopled by 99.9% blue-eyed blonds. Olga Nenya faces down age-old xenophobia as she fosters 23 abandoned children along with her own, including 16 bi-racial orphans, in a ramshackle house in a small Ukrainian town. At first their lives seem like an idyllic United Colors of Benetton ad: love and affection from Olga, swimming trips to the lake, playing with chickens, goats and cats, going to school and doing chores in the garden and house. But as the film progresses over three years, a more layered and psychologically disturbing portrait emerges. Olga plays favourites and picks on kids who contradict her, and strict Soviet-era ideas about child rearing stymie their opportunities and abilities. Fresh from its Sundance premiere, Julia Ivanova brings festival audiences a rich observational portrait of a woman who wants to save the children from an unjust world—her way.
Special Jury Prize – Canadian Feature (tie)
AT NIGHT, THEY DANCE (D: Isabelle Lavigne, Stéphane Thibault; P: Lucie Lambert)
THE GUANTANAMO TRAP (D: Thomas Selim Wallner; P: Thomas Kufus, Amit Breuer, Marcel Hoehn, Christoph Jorg)
Sponsored by the Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation and Documentary Organization of Canada, the award includes a $10,000 prize courtesy of the Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation.
The Canadian Features Jury also acknowledged the film WIEBO’S WAR (D: David York, P: David York, Nick Hector, Bryn Hughes, Bonnie Thompson; EP: David York, David Christensen) with an honourable mention.
Best International Feature
DRAGONSLAYER (D: Tristan Patterson; P: John Baker, EP: Christine Vachon)
Sponsored by A&E, the award includes a $10,000 prize courtesy of Hot Docs.
California’s suburbs, decimated by economic collapse, are a sprawl of abandoned foreclosures and deserted swimming pools. Skreech, a 23-year-old skate punk, takes full advantage of the decline, stretching out his adolescence by riding empty pools, getting wasted, camping in friends’ backyards and chilling with his girl. If Holden Caulfield had grown up broke in 21st-century Fullerton, no doubt his life would have mirrored Skreech’s. A countdown orders the chaos of our hero’s Peter Pan lifestyle, ticking down the time he has left to get high—5—drink—4—puke—3—and road trip before real-world responsibilities encroach on his idyll. Despite getting his kicks at no one else’s expense—2—society demands he be productive—1—and employed. Dragonslayer is an amazing and unconventional nostalgia trip that questions what “going nowhere” looks like, how capitalism determines our way of life and why inertia is such a powerful threat.
Special Jury Prize – International Feature
THE CASTLE (D: Massimo D’Anolfi, Martina Parenti; P: Massimo D’Anolfi, Martina Parenti; EP: Massimo D’Anolfi, Martina Parenti)
Sponsored by the Ontario Media Development Corporation, the award includes a $5,000 prize courtesy of Hot Docs.
The International Features Jury also acknowledged the films GRANDE HOTEL (D: Lotte Stoops; P: Ellen De Waele, Co-Producer Denis Vaslin, Volya Films; EP: Ellen De Waele) and HELL AND BACK AGAIN (D: Danfung Dennis; P: Mike Lerner, Martin Herring; EP: Dan Cogan, Karol Martesko Fenster, Gernot Schaffler, Thomas Brunner, Maxyne Franklin) with honourable mentions.
Best Mid-Length Documentary
OUR NEWSPAPER (D: Eline Flipse; P: Eline Flipse; EP: Eline Flipse)
Sponsored by Canada Council for the Arts, the award includes a $3,000 prize courtesy of Hot Docs.
The Short and Mid-Length Films Jury also acknowledged the film PEOPLE I COULD HAVE BEEN AND MAYBE AM (D: Boris Gerrets; P: Pieter van Huystee) with an honourable mention.
Best Short Documentary
FLYING ANNE (D: Catherine van Campen; P: Joost Seelen)
The award includes a $3,000 prize courtesy of Hot Docs.
The Short and Mid-Length Films Jury also acknowledged the film SOMETHING TO TELL YOU (D: Pete Gleeson; P: Pete Gleeson; EP: Yvette Coyne) with an honourable mention.
HBO Documentary Films Emerging Artist Award
Michal Marczak for the film AT THE EDGE OF RUSSIA (P: Marianna Rowinska)
Sponsored by HBO Documentary Films.
documentary’s Don Haig Award
Awarded by the Don Haig Foundation, the prize includes a $20,000 cash prize generously sponsored by documentary.
Lindalee Tracey Award
Honouring an emerging Canadian filmmaker with a passionate point of view, a strong sense of social justice and a sense of humour, the award was presented to Alexandre Hamel.
The award winner will receive a $6,000 cash prize and $3,000 in film stock donated by Kodak Canada.
The Hot Docs Board of Directors acknowledged the Terence Macartney-Filgate as the recipient of the 2011 Hot Docs Outstanding Achievement Award, which was presented to the influential Canadian filmmaker at an event earlier in the day.
The Sundance Channel People’s Choice Award and audience top ten favourite films of the 2011 Festival, determined by audience ballot, will be announced on Monday, May 9. Also announced on this day is the Filmmaker Award, determined by ballots cast by Hot Docs 2011 filmmakers.