Female Filmmakers Dominate Hot Docs 2024 Festival Awards

Short Summary:

At the 2024 Hot Docs Festival in Toronto, 15 awards totaling CAD 75,000 were distributed to outstanding Canadian and international filmmakers. The event highlighted films that addressed critical social themes and celebrated the achievements of both emerging and seasoned directors.

Hot Docs, one of the leading documentary festivals, has concluded its 2024 edition in Toronto, Canada, with a grand awards presentation that dispersed CAD 75,000 among exceptional filmmakers from around the globe. The ceremony, hosted by arts journalist Garvia Bailey at the Centre for Social Innovation – Annex, underscored the festival's commitment to promoting documentary cinema and supporting the creative endeavors of filmmakers.

This year, the festival recognized an array of documentaries through 15 different awards, with 11 focused on festival films in competition. Notably, female directors won nine of these awards, highlighting the significant presence and impact of women in the documentary filmmaking sphere.

The Betty Youson Award for Best Canadian Short Documentary went to Eisha Marjara for her poignant film, 'Am I the Skinniest Person You’ve Ever Seen?', which explores her battle with anorexia. The film received acclaim for its heartfelt portrayal and insightful reflections on body image and mental health issues.

Internationally, the Best International Short Documentary Award was presented to 'Autism Plays Itself' directed by Janet Harbord. The documentary offers a fresh perspective on autism through a creative reinterpretation of historical footage, earning praise for its innovative approach and sensitive handling of its subjects.

Another highlight of the festival was the presentation of the Don Haig Award to Canadian producer Alison Duke for 'A Mother Apart', a compelling documentary that delves into themes of motherhood and personal transformation across cultural boundaries.

The festival also acknowledged the film 'Silence of Reason' by Kumjana Novakova, which won the Best Mid-Length Documentary award. This powerful film provides a harrowing look at the atrocities committed in the Foča rape camps during the Bosnian War, using victim testimonies and archival footage to impactfully convey its message.

As the festival wrapped up, it prepared to announce the winners of the Rogers Audience Award for Best Canadian Documentary and the overall Audience Award, further celebrating the connection between filmmakers and their audiences.

The 2024 Hot Docs Festival not only showcased a diverse range of stories from across the globe but also reinforced the power of documentary film as a medium to illuminate, challenge, and inspire.

Complete List of Awarded Films at Hot Docs 2024

Canadian Feature Documentary Award:

  • The Soldier’s Lagoon (D: Pablo Álvarez-Mesa | P: Pablo Álvarez-Mesa | Canada | 2024 | 76 min)

Best Canadian Short Documentary:

  • Am I the Skinniest Person You’ve Ever Seen? (D: Eisha Marjara | Canada | 22 min)

International Feature Documentary Award:

  • Farming the Revolution (D: Nishta Jain | P: Nishta Jain, Valérie Montmartin | India, Norway | 2024 | 100 min)

Best International Short Documentary:

  • Autism Plays Itself (D: Janet Harbord | UK | 19 min)

Best Mid-Length Documentary:

  • Silence of Reason (D: Kumjana Novakova | P: Kumjana Novakova | Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina | 2023 | 63 min)

Emerging Canadian Filmmaker Award:

  • Okurimono (D: Laurence Lévesque | P: Rosalie Chicoine-Perreault, Catherine Boily | Canada | 2024 | 96 min)

Emerging International Filmmaker Award:

  • XiXi (D: Fan Wu | P: Venice De Castro Atienza, Fan Wu, Sona Jo, Yoonsoo Her | Taiwan, Philippines, South Korea | 2024)

Best Social Impact Documentary:

  • Standing Above the Clouds (D: Jalena Keane-Lee | P: Erin Lau, Amber Espinosa-Jones, Jalena Keane-Lee | USA | 2024 | 85 min)

Special Jury Prize – International Feature Documentary:

  • Death of a Saint (D: Patricia Bbaale Bandak | P: Victor Rocha da Cunha | Denmark | 2024 | 91 min)

Canadian Feature Documentary Special Jury Prize:

  • Any Other Way: The Jackie Shane Story (D: Michael Mabbott, Lucah Rosenberg-Lee | P: Amanda Burt, Sam Dunn, Scot McFayden, Michael Mabbott, Justine Pimlott | Canada | 2024 | 99 min)

Land|Sky|Sea Award:

  • The Battle for Laikipia (D: Daphne Matziaraki, Peter Murimi | P: Toni Kamau, Daphne Matziaraki | Kenya, USA, Greece | 2024 | 94 min)

Acknowledged Films in Various Categories:

  • The Sparkle (D: Isabelle Grignon-Francke | Canada | 17 min)
  • Christmas, Every Day (D: Faye Tsakas | USA | 14 min)
  • The New Man (D: Carlos Yuri Ceuninck | P: Aurélien Bodinaux, Natasha Craveiro, Paulo de Carvalho, Gudula Meinzolt, Alyaa Musa | Cape Verde, Belgium, Germany, Sudan | 2023 | 64 min)
  • Devi (D: Subina Shrestha | P: Ashmita Chaudhary Khadka, Rosie Garthwaite, Heejung Oh | Nepal | 2024 | 80 min)
  • Yintah (D: Jennifer Wickham, Brenda Michell, Michael Toledano | P: Jennifer Wickham, Brenda Michell, Michael Toledano, Bob Moore | Canada | 2024 | 125 min)
  • The Weavers’ Songs (D: Ismael Vásquez Bernabé | P: Emiliano Altuna, Abril Schmucler | Mexico | 2024)