‘Fight’ lands Hot Docs int’l prize

Look at mayor's race wins top honors

TORONTO — Marshall Curry’s look at the 2002 Newark, N.J., mayoral race, “Street Fight,” took the nod for international doc as the Hot Docs Canadian Intl. Documentary Festival wrapped its 12th year.

“Hogtown,” Min Sook Lee’s take on the politics of policing in Toronto, won for feature-length Canuck doc on Friday night.

Other award winners are: Andre-Line Beauparlant, who won helmer honor for “Little Jesus” in the Canuck spectrum program; and Nadja Drost’s “Between Midnight and the Rooster’s Crow,” which won in the short to mid-length Canuck doc category.

“The Devil’s Miner” received both the international crix Fipresci prize for first doc and honorable mention for international doc, and “The Swenkas” from Jeppe Ronde bagged a special jury prize.

Helmer Errol Morris was the subject of a retrospective and recipient of the fest’s outstanding achievement award.

Feature documentaries continue to take an ever-larger piece of the action at Hot Docs, which ended Sunday, with a feature-heavy slate, audience figures up 10% from last year’s 37,000 and a solid feature market buzz.

Hot Docs managing editor Brett Hendrie believes there are realistic theatrical prospects for many on this year’s slate.

Opening-night film “Murderball” and “Enron” notwithstanding, “I don’t see how a film like ‘Street Fight’ doesn’t get theatrical distribution,” noted Hendrie, who added that “Bearing Witness” and “Calling the Shots” are destined for the bigscreen.

There was a beefed-up distributor presence this year, with reps from ThinkFilm, Magnolia and Lions Gate at the table at the Toronto Documentary Forum, a two-day pitch-fest that included for the first time a session of feature rough cuts.

The number of industry delegates this year climbed to 1,700 from 1,500 last year, with delegates from as far away as NHK Japan. Deal-making buzz at the festival’s national spotlight, this year turned on Israel, was centered on a potential North American TV and/or film deal for “Wall,” Simone Bitton’s look at the controversial Israel/Palestine barrier. Pic received an honorable mention for doc in the national spotlight (winner was “Sentenced to Marriage” from Anat Zuria).