Hot Docs wraps 2022 Festival: Top three Canadian Features share $50k prize

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Toronto/CMEDIA:  Hot Docs 2022, 11-day hybrid festival wrapped on May 8 after bringing 225 films from 63 countries to audiences in Toronto cinemas and across Canada online featuring 318 live screenings on nine screens at four venues across the city. Included in the screenings were 223 live filmmaker Q&As, and five special extended discussions with filmmakers and special guests as part of the Big Ideas Series, presented by Scotia Wealth Management.

The national audiences built and cultivated by the past two online editions, the 2022 Festival with additional content of all official selections also streamed nationwide. Included in this nationwide streaming, were recorded filmmaker Q&As, a panel discussion presented with UNHCR, and two special Curious Minds sessions, which paired films with panel discussions featuring subject experts.  

“The past 11 days have been an exhilarating and deeply rewarding experience after a three-year pause to our in-person Festival,” shared Chris McDonald, President of Hot Docs. “We are proud of the multitude of rich, important, and timely stories that were shared at Hot Docs 2022, proving that documentary cinema matters more than ever. We are thankful to our volunteers, filmmakers, industry stakeholders and partners who helped make this year such a success, and we look forward to celebrating 30 years of Hot Docs at next year’s Festival.” 

The top three Canadian features were determined by an audience poll recognized by the Rogers Audience Award for Best Canadian Documentary to receive awarded cash prizes totaling $50,000 was announced last night at a special free encore screening at Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema. 

Eternal Spring, directed by Jason Loftus, and co-produced by Jason Loftus, Masha Loftus, Yvan Pinard, Kevin Koo in Canada in which Daxiong, the exiled Chinese illustrator daring to hack Chinese state television by activists was placed first and received the top prize of $25,000 CDN. 

Okay! (The ASD Band Film), directed by Mark Bone, and co-produced by Gregory Rosati, and Amalie Bruun in Canada showcasing a backstage look at a band of four talented autistic musicians as they prepare for their first live show, was placed second and received a $15,000 CDN prize. 

Unloved: Huronia’s Forgotten Children, directed by Barri Cohen, and produced by Craig Baines in Canada), giving a heartbreaking account of abuse inside Ontario’s oldest government-run home for disabled children and was placed third and awarded $10,000 CDN.  

Hot Docs Audience Awards determined by votes submitted by Festival audiences after in-person screenings and via the Hot Docs at Home streaming platform also evaluated at the close of the Festival placing  Eternal Spring first in the overall audience poll and winning the Hot Docs Audience Award in addition to the Rogers Audience Award.  

The top mid-length film in the audience poll, winning the Audience Award for Mid-Length Documentary, was Sexual Healing, directed by Elsbeth Fraanje, and co-produced by Willem Baptist, and Nienke Korthof in the Netherlands showcasing a middle-aged disabled woman’s exploration of what intimacy means to her.

The Audience Award for Short Documentary was won by the short film Dad Can Dance, directed by Jamie Ross, and produced by Jamie Ross in Canada, showcasing the self-affirming story of a son who discovers his father’s long-buried secret passion for ballet.  

The 20 documentaries in the audience poll are: 

1.          Eternal Spring (D: Jason Loftus | P: Jason Loftus, Masha Loftus, Yvan Pinard, Kevin Koo | Canada)

2.       Okay! (The ASD Band Film) (D: Mark Bone | P: Gregory Rosati, Amalie Bruun | Canada)

3.      Unloved: Huronia’s Forgotten Children, (D: Barri Cohen | P: Craig Baines | Canada)

4.     Beautiful Scars (D: Shane Belcourt | P: Corey Russell | Canada)

5.        The Smell of Money (D: Shawn Bannon | P: Shawn Bannon, Jamie Berger | USA)

6.      Navalny, (D: Daniel Roher | P: Odessa Rae, Diane Becker, Melanie Miller, Shane Boris | USA)

7.      Handle with Care: The Legend of the Notic Streetball Crew (D: Jeremy Schaulin-Rioux, Kirk Thomas | P: Ryan Sidhoo | Canada)

8.      Hunting in Packs (D: Chloe Sosa-Sims | P: Hannah Donegan, Ann Shin | Canada)

9.      The Kids in the Hall: Comedy Punks (D: Reg Harkema | P: Nick McKinney, Kim Creelman | Canada, USA)

10.   Batata (D: Noura Kevorkian | P: Paul Scherzer, Noura Kevorkian | Canada, Lebanon, Qatar)

11.   Returning Home (D: Sean Stiller | P: Andrew Lovesey, Gilles Gagnier | Canada)

12.   The Quiet Epidemic (D: Lindsay Keys, Winslow Crane-Murdoch | P: Daria Lombroso, Lindsay Keys, Chris Hegedus | USA)

13.   Category: Woman (D: Phyllis Ellis | P: Phyllis Ellis, Howard Fraiberg | Canada)

14.   In the Eye of the Storm: The Political Odyssey of Yanis Varoufakis (D: Raoul Martinez | P: Sol Tryon, Amir Amirani | UK)

15.   How Saba Kept Singing (D: Sara Taksler | P: Sara Taksler | USA)

16.   The Unsolved Murder of Beverly Lynn Smith (D: Nathalie Bibeau | P: Tara Jan | Canada | 2022)

17.   Dad Can Dance (D: Jamie Ross | P: Jamie Ross | Canada)

18.   Who We Will Have Been (D: Erec Brehmer, Angelina Zeidler | P: Erec Brehmer | Germany)

19.   Alis (D: Nicolas van Hemelryck, Clare Weiskopf | P: Alexandra Galvis, Radu Stancu, Nicolas van Hemelryck, Clare Weiskopf | Colombia, Romania, Chile)

20.   Relative (D: Tracey Arcabasso Smith | P: Tracey Arcabasso Smith, Laura Poitras, Jenya James Hamidi | USA)

Docs For School program included in the Hot Docs’ also ran during the Festival, offering teachers across Canada free access to 13 films, including five official selections from this year’s Festival, and accompanying teaching resources linked to the curriculum. 

A hybrid edition of its annual market and conference was also presented by Hot Docs, which welcomed 1,941 delegates from 74 countries. Three days of knowledge sessions were also featured by the Hot Docs Industry LIVE program including networking events and online offerings of Hot Docs Forum, Hot Docs Dealmaker, and Distribution Rendezvous, along with additional industry content. 

North America’s largest documentary festival, conference and market, Hot Docs ( is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing and celebrating the art of documentary and to creating production opportunities for documentary filmmakers.

29th annual edition of Hot Docs was presented in cinemas across Toronto as well as online to audiences throughout Canada from April 28 to May 8. While offering a dynamic hybrid experience for industry delegates, the Festival also included a live three-day program of knowledge sessions and networking events on its first weekend and online market programs and sessions, including the renowned Hot Docs Forum, Hot Docs Deal Maker, Distribution Rendezvous and The Doc Shop.

The Canadian and international industry is supported year-round by Hot Docs’s professional development programs and a multi-million-dollar production fund portfolio, fostering education through documentaries with its popular free program Docs For Schools.

Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, a century-old landmark located in Toronto’s Annex neighborhood and the world’s first and largest documentary cinema is owned and programmed by Hot Docs and operates Hot Docs at the Home streaming platform.

Hot Docs is proud to include Scotia Wealth Management as its Presenting Platinum Partner; Rogers Group of Funds as its Founding Partner; CBC Gem as its Signature Partner; Cineplex and Netflix as its Presenting Partners; and Telefilm Canada and the Government of Ontario as its Major Supporters.  

#HotDocs; #2022CanadianInternationalDocumentaryFestival; #Toronto; #Canada; #HotDocsAudienceAwardsforBestCanadianDocumentary; #RogersAudienceAwardsforBestCanadianDocumentary

(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)