Hot Docs has announced the winners of the Festival's 2011 awards. The Hot Docs Awards Presentation was hosted by Jian Ghomeshi, host of Q on CBC Radio One. The Best Canadian Feature and Best International Feature winners will have encore screenings on Sunday, May 8.
The award for Best Canadian Feature was presented to FAMILY PORTRAIT IN BLACK AND WHITE (D: Julia Ivanova; P: Boris Ivanov, Mike Jackson), which visits a ramshackle house in Ukraine where supermom Olga Nenya is raising 16 abandoned mixed-race children. 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. Jury statement: "The award for Best Canadian Feature goes to an intimate, poetic film that bravely confronts nuance and complexity in its characters and its world." FAMILY PORTRAIT IN BLACK AND WHITE will screen again on Sunday, May 8, at 11:00 a.m. at the Isabel Bader Theatre.
The Special Jury Prize – Canadian Feature was presented to two films, AT NIGHT, THEY DANCE (D: Isabelle Lavigne, Stéphane Thibault; P: Lucie Lambert), which sweeps us into the chaotic world of a family of voluptuous female belly dancers in working class Cairo as they struggle to practice an art in danger of disappearing, and THE GUANTANAMO TRAP (D: Thomas Selim Wallner; P: Thomas Kufus, Amit Breuer, Marcel Hoehn, Christoph Jorg), which follows four lives forever changed by the infamous U.S. detention camp. Sponsored by the Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation, the award includes a $10,000 prize courtesy of the Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation. Jury statement: "The special jury prize is shared between two films, a powerful film that mobilizes compelling characters who face uncomfortable truths, piecing together the anatomy of a broken system – THE GUANTANAMO TRAP by Thomas Selwin Wallmer, and a beautifully filmed, haunting and evocative documentary that invites us into a world we would never be able to enter otherwise – AT NIGHT, THEY DANCE by Isabelle Lavigne and Stephane Thibault."
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.
The award for Best International Feature was presented to DRAGONSLAYER (D: Tristan Patterson; P: John Baker, EP: Christine Vachon), about Californian skate-punk Skreech who stretches out his adolescence by riding empty pools, getting wasted and road-tripping. Sponsored by A&E, the award includes a $10,000 prize courtesy of Hot Docs. Jury statement: "We were captivated by a non-hero, in a capitalistic, nihilistic society in decline. We were drawn to the funky connection between the structure and content, the freshness of filmmaking and original non-linear storytelling. For these reasons we stand by DRAGONSLAYER." DRAGONSLAYER will screen again on Sunday, May 8, at 11:00 a.m. at the ROM Theatre.
The Special Jury Prize – International Feature was presented to THE CASTLE (D: Massimo D'Anolfi, Martina Parenti; P: Massimo D'Anolfi, Martina Parenti; EP: Massimo D'Anolfi, Martina Parenti), in which rigorous observational filmmaking exposes the ennui and heightened tensions of today's border security via Milan's Malpensa Airport. Sponsored by the Ontario Media Development Corporation, the award includes a $5,000 prize courtesy of Hot Docs. Jury statement: "For portraying a liminal space in both humor and pain; for the uncompromising camera which sees it all; for noticing the hardship of a system trapped by its own obsession of security, turning a regular terminal into an intrusive checkpoint into Europe; for not neglecting those who resist; for us who look but don't see."
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.
The award for Best Mid-Length Documentary was presented to OUR NEWSPAPER (D: Eline Flipse; P: Eline Flipse; EP: Eline Flipse), in which a disgruntled journalist quits The Leninist and starts Our Newspaper in a remote Russian village. Sponsored by Canada Council for the Arts, the award includes a $3,000 prize courtesy of Hot Docs. Jury statement: "This is a portrait of a place and a people receding into history. Alternately poignant and wary in tone, it is the compelling story of a man attempting to find meaning and purpose within a fatalistic environment."
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.
The award for Best Short Documentary was presented to FLYING ANNE (D: Catherine van Campen; P: Joost Seelen), a three-dimensional portrait of a girl with Tourette’s looking for love, acceptance and understanding. The award includes a $3,000 prize courtesy of Hot Docs. Jury statement: "This is a film that impressed the jury because of its ability to bring viewers into the world of its young subject with great sensitivity and skill. Through bold camera work we’re drawn into a visceral and moment to moment experience of her emotions and struggles. It achieves a genuine sense of transcendence through its balance of vérité elements and lyrical imagery."
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.
The HBO Documentary Films Emerging Artist Award was presented to director Michal Marczak for the film AT THE EDGE OF RUSSIA (P: Marianna Rowinska), in which a young recruit arrives at his Arctic post, hundreds of miles from the nearest human settlement, and is charged with an absurd task: patrolling the nothingness. The HBO Documentary Films Emerging Artist Award is sponsored by HBO Documentary Films. Jury statement: "Incredible storytelling of an initiation ceremony turning a young recruit into a real soldier. At the end of Russia, the end of the world perhaps, this film stunningly portrays five men as they protect their country in the icy snow against an invisible enemy. We unanimously salute this powerful debut in cinema."
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.