War is Hot Docs touchstone

'Checkpoint' nabs kudos for int'l feature

TORONTO — The effects of war were the touchpoint of several of the award-winning films at the 11th annual Hot Docs Toronto Intl. Documentary Festival, which wrapped Sunday.

Eleven awards were handed out at a ceremony Friday in Toronto.

Israeli director Yoav Shamir’s “Checkpoint,” which follows the interactions of Israeli soldiers and Palestinians trying to lead normal lives, drew kudos for international feature-length doc. Special jury prizes in the category went to Danish director Anders Hogsbro Ostergaard’s “Tintin and I” and Israeli directors David Ofek and Ron Rotem’s “No. 17.”

Juliano Mer Khamis and Danniel Danniel’s feature-length “Arna’s Children” took the Fipresci award for first documentary. Arna is an Israeli woman who returns after 10 years away to see what became of the theater group she ran for Palestinian children.

Sarah Goodman’s “Army of One,” which follows three idealists who join the U.S. Army, won as Canadian feature-length doc.

Other winners were Peter Chappel and Catherine Peix, who received the prize for directing in the Canadian Spectrum program for “The Origins of AIDS”; a special jury prize went to Ali Kazimi’s “Continuous Journey.”

In the short to mid-length categories, Marilu Mallet’s “La Cueca Sola” took the Canadian Spectrum prize; “Wellspring,” from Chinese director Sha Qing, was the international winner. Honorable mentions went to Kun Chang’s “Short Infinity” and “War Feels Like War” from Esteban Uyarra.

The audience favorite award will be announced today.