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‘We Will Stand Up,’ ‘Hope Frozen’ Take Top Prizes at Hot Docs

TORONTO–Hot Docs opening film “Nipawistamasowin: We Will Stand Up,” directed by Tasha Hubbard, won the Best Canadian Feature Documentary Award at the annual festival’s awards ceremony May 13, where 14 awards and CAN$75,000 ($56,000) in cash and prizes were handed out to Canadian and international films and filmmakers at the Isabel Bader Theater.

Hubbard was on hand to accept the award, which comes with a CAN$10,000 ($7,400) cash prize, for her film about a family’s pursuit of justice from Saskatchewan to the U.N. after the killer of their son Colten Boushie is acquitted of murder. “I’d like to thank this courageous family who trusted me, and who never gave up,” Hubbard said upon accepting it.

“Hope Frozen,” about a grief-stricken Bangkok family and their decision to cryopreserve their deceased daughter, won the Best International Feature Documentary Award. Director and producer Pailin Wedel was on hand to accept the award, which comes with a CAN$10,000 ($7,400) cash prize. The film now qualifies for Oscar consideration in the best documentary feature category.

Matt Gallagher’s “Prey,” which follows a sexual-abuse survivor and his lawyer as they take on the Catholic Church, nabbed the he Director’s Guild of Canada’s Special Jury Prize for a Canadian Feature Documentary, which comes with a cash prize of CAN$5,000 ($3,700).

The Special Jury Prize for International Feature Documentary, and a CAN$5,000 ($3,700) cash prize, was presented to Waad al-Kateab’s and Edward Watts’ “For Sama,” in which a young Syrian mother creates a time capsule for her baby daughter during the last days of the battle for Aleppo. Following its Cannes Special Screening and a theatrical run this summer, the film will premiere on PBS “Frontline” and Channel 4 later this year.

The Emerging Canadian Filmmaker Prize went to Emily Gan for her Malaysia-set “Cavebirds,” and the Emerging International Filmmaker Award went to Nuno Escudeiro for “The Valley.” Both filmmakers also received a CAN$3,000 ($2,200) cash prize.

The Hot Docs Board of Directors acknowledged Julia Reichert as the recipient of the 2019 Hot Docs Outstanding Achievement Award, and Canadian filmmaker Julia Ivanova was honored as the recipient of this year’s Hot Docs Focus On program. In her acceptance remarks, Reichert – whose Sundance premiering “American Factory,” codirected with Steven Bognar, screened at Hot Docs – talked about the efforts by independent filmmakers to create the ITVS as an example of how people need to join together to effect change and progress.

Toronto-based filmmaker and activist Peter Raymont of White Pine Pictures was presented with the Don Haig Award, which comes with a CAN$10,000 (US $7,400) cash prize. The award is given to an outstanding independent Canadian producer with a film in the festival, entrepreneurship, and track record for nurturing emerging talent. As part of his prize, Raymont was able to name emerging screenwriter and director Fazila Amiri as the recipient of a CAN$5,000 ($3,700) cash prize.

CREDIT: Hot Docs

The award for Best Mid-Length Documentary was presented to Jaśmina Wójcik’s “Symphony of the Ursus Factory.” Best International Short Documentary Award went to Arturo Aguilar’s “Call Confession.” And the Betty Youson Award for Best Canadian Short Documentary was presented to Tenzin Sedon’s “Kora: A Circle Life.” All three filmmakers also received a CAN$3,000 ($2,200) cash prize.

The Lindalee Tracey Award, which honours an emerging Canadian filmmaker with a passionate point of view, a strong sense of social justice, and a sense of humour, was presented to Andy Alvarez for her film “Our Home.” The Scotiabank Docs For Schools Student Choice Award was presented to Lily Zepeda’s “Mr. Toilet: The World’s #2 Man.” Both filmmakers received a CAN$5,000 ($3,700) cash prize.

CREDIT: Hot Docs

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