Hd19 Awards Presentation

Festival Awards & Juries

Films in competition include Canadian Spectrum and International Spectrum selections, as well as short and mid-length works.

Academy Awards® Qualifying Festival
Hot Docs is recognized as a qualifying festival for the Academy Awards® in the Documentary Feature and Documentary Short Subject categories.

The winners of Hot Docs’ Best International Feature Documentary Award and the Hot Docs Feature Audience Award qualify for consideration for the Oscar for Documentary Feature, and the winner of Hot Docs’ Best Canadian and International Short Documentary Awards qualify for consideration for the Oscar for Documentary Short Subject without standard theatrical runs, provided the films otherwise comply with the Academy rules.

Hot Docs 2021 Awards

At the 2021 Hot Docs Festival, over $244,000 in cash and prizes was awarded, including juried awards for films in competition, audience awards determined by ballot, industry prizes recognizing to pitches and other special award cateogries.


Best Canadian Feature Documentary Award
zo reken (D&P Emanuel Licha; Canada)
Sponsored by DOC and Telefilm Canada, the award includes a $10,000 cash prize.

Special Jury Prize – Canadian Feature Documentary
One of Ours (D: Yasmine Mathurin; P: Laura Perlmutter, Andrew Nicholas McCann Smith; Canada) Sponsored by DGC National and DGC Ontario, the award includes a $5,000 cash prize.

Emerging Canadian Filmmaker Award
Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers for Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy (P: David Christensen, Lori Lozinski, Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers; Canada)
Given to a first or second-time Canadian filmmaker with a feature film in the Canadian Spectrum program, the award includes a $3,000 cash prize.

Best International Feature Documentary Award
Ostrov – Lost Island (D: Svetlana Rodina, Laurent Stoop; P: Corinna Dästner, Sonja Kilbertus, Urs Schnell; Switzerland)
Supported by the Panicaro Foundation, the award includes a $10,000 cash prize courtesy of the Panicaro Foundation.

Special Jury Prize – International Feature Documentary
School of Hope (D: Mohamed El Aboudi; P: Pertti Veijalainen; Finland, France, Morocco)
Sponsored by A&E, the award includes a $5,000 cash prize.

Emerging International Filmmaker Award
Annabel Verbeke for Four Seasons in a Day (P: Frederik Nicolai, Eric Goossens, Karl-Emil Rikardsen, Ljubo Zdjelarević, Lukas Trimonis; Belgium, Norway, Croatia)
Given to a first or second-time international filmmaker with a feature film in the International Spectrum program, the award, supported by the Donner Canadian Foundation, includes a $3,000 cash prize.

Emerging International Filmmaker Honourable Mention: Margaret Byrne for Any Given Day (P: Margaret Byrne; USA)

Best Mid-Length Documentary Award Silent Voice (D: Reka Valerik; P: David Hurst; France, Belgium)
Sponsored by British Pathé, the award includes a $5,000 cash prize.

Best Mid-Length Documentary Honourable Mention: Sunny (D: Keti Machavariani; P: Tsisana Khundadze, Nato Sikharulidze; Georgia)

Best International Short Documentary Award
The Doll (D&P: Elahe Esmaili; Iran)
The award includes a $3,000 cash prize courtesy of Hot Docs.

Betty Youson Award for Best Canadian Short Documentary
Ain’t No Time for Women (D: Sarra El Abed; P: Isabelle Grignon-Francke; Canada)
The award includes a $3,000 cash prize courtesy of John and Betty Youson.

Betty Youson Award for Best Canadian Short Documentary Honourable Mention: The Hairdresser (D&P: Lorraine Price; Canada)


Lindalee Tracey Award
Cailleah Scott-Grimes for her film Between Us (2020)
The Award honours an emerging Canadian filmmaker with a passionate point of view, a strong sense of social justice and a sense of humour, and includes $5,000 cash prize courtesy of the Lindalee Tracey Fund, $5,000 in post-production services from SIM, and a beautiful hand-blown glass sculpture by Andrew Kuntz, specially commissioned to honour Lindalee.

Don Haig Award
Toronto-based producer Lalita Krishna, producer of Bangla Surf Girls and president of In Sync Media

The award is given to an outstanding independent Canadian producer with a film in the Festival in recognition of his/her creative vision, entrepreneurship and track record for nurturing emerging talent and comes with a $5,000 cash prize courtesy of the Don Haig Foundation.

As part of the award, the recipient can name an emerging female documentary filmmaker to receive a $5,000 cash prize courtesy of Hot Docs, and an industry pass for Hot Docs 2022. Lalita named Bangladeshi filmmaker Elizabeth D. Costa, director of Bangla Surf Girls, as the recipient of this prize.


Hot Docs Audience Award
Dear Future Children

Rogers Audience Award for Best Canadian Documentary
Five $10,000 prizes totaling $50,000 courtesy of Rogers Group of Funds

  1. FANNY: The Right to Rock
  2. Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy
  3. Someone Like Me
  4. Still Max
  5. Hell or Clean Water

Scotiabank Docs For Schools Student Choice Award
With Drawn Arms
$5,000 prize courtesy of Scotiabank


first look Pitch Prizes
Awarded to top Hot Docs Forum Pitches as determined by *first look program participants, courtesy of first look program participants*

  • 1st prize of $50,000: Light of the Setting Sun (D: Vicky Du; P: Danielle Varga, Vicky Du; Walking Productions, LLC, USA; Setting Sun Productions, LLC, USA)
  • 2nd prize of $35,000: Mother Vera (D: Cécile Embleton, Alys Tomlinson; P: Laura Shacham; She Makes Productions Ltd., UK)
  • 3rd prize of $25,000: Fire of Love (D: Sara Dosa; P: Shane Boris, Ina Fichman, Sara Dosa; Fire of Love Productions Inc., Canada/USA)

Canadian Forum Pitch Prize presented in partnership with DGC National and DGC Ontario
Wilfred Buck (D: Lisa Jackson; P: Lisa Jackson, Alicia Smith; Door Number 3 Productions, NFB, Canada)
$10,000 courtesy of Hot Docs, awarded to the best Canadian pitch at the Hot Docs Forum as voted on by attending international buyers

Canadian Forum Pitch Prize Honourable Mention: Made in Ethiopia (D: Xinyan Yu, Max Duncan; P: Tamara Dawit, Xinyan Yu, Max Duncan; Made in Ethiopia, LLC, USA; Gobez Media Inc, Canada)

In 2021, the organizers of Sunny Side of the Doc Made in Ethiopia (D: Xinyan Yu, Max Duncan; P: Tamara Dawit, Xinyan Yu, Max Duncan; Made in Ethiopia, LLC, USA; Gobez Media Inc., Canada) to receive a complimentary pass to their event.

2021 Juries


Senior Programmer Raul Niño Zambrano (the Netherlands) works since 2008 at the Program Department of IDFA, the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. His expertise relates in particular to Latin American cinema, debut films and LGBTQI+ documentaries, for what he has been invited to many festivals and international events as a jury and tutor. He studied Media & Culture and Film Studies at the University of Amsterdam and is currently the curator of IDFA’s First Appearance Competition, the Student Documentary Competition and the IDFA Queer Day.

Patricia Rozema has worked in Canada, US, UK as a writer, director and producer of feature films including Mouthpiece, Mansfield Park, When Night is Falling and I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing and television shows including HBO’s Grey Gardens, Six Gestures with Yo-Yo Ma, Mozart in the Jungle and the pilot for the upcoming Netflix show Sex/Life. Her work has been in Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Telluride & Toronto film festivals. It has been nominated for (and won here and there) Emmy’s, Golden Globes, Grammy’s, DGC, WGA, Pen Awards. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Canadian filmmaker, artist, Michèle Stephenson, pulls from her Panamanian and Haitian roots to think radically about storytelling and disrupt the imaginary in non-fiction spaces. She tells compelling, deeply personal stories that are created by, for and about communities of color that reimagine and provoke. Her feature documentary, American Promise, was nominated for three Emmys and won the Jury Prize at Sundance. She is a Guggenheim Fellow and a Creative Capital artist.


Sheila Nevins is currently serving as an Executive Producer at MTV Networks. Sheila is the former president of HBO Documentary Films and Family Programming for Home Box Office. At HBO, she was responsible for overseeing the development and production of more than 1500 programs for HBO, HBO2 and Cinemax. As an executive producer or producer, she has received 32 Primetime Emmy® Awards, 35 News and Documentary Emmys® and 42 George Foster Peabody Awards. Sheila has been honored with numerous prestigious career achievement awards, including the 2018 Realscreen Legacy Award and the 2017 DOC NYC Lifetime Achievement Award. Sheila is a member of the Writers Guild of America, the Producers Guild of America and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Kazuhiro Soda is a Peabody Award winning filmmaker. He’s also a recipient of the Marek Nowicki lifetime achievement prize awarded by the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights. He practices an observational method of documentary filmmaking based on his own “Ten Commandments,” which prohibit him from doing pre-shoot research or writing a synopsis before filming. His latest film ZERO received the Ecumenical Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival, and the Best Film Award at the Festival des 3 Continents in 2020. He is also the author of eight books published in Japan. Photo credit: Kiyoko Kashiwagi

Toni Kamau is a PGA nominated producer and the youngest female African documentary producer to be invited as a member of the Academy for Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences - Documentary Branch. As an award-winning producer, writer and founder of We Are Not the Machine, a Nairobi-based production company, she tells stories of outsiders, rebels and change makers. Her past credits include half-hour documentaries for Al Jazeera, MTV Europe and BBC Africa.

The Sundance Special Jury prize winner and POV co-production Softie, produced by Toni and directed by Sam Soko, premiered at Sundance in 2020 in the World Cinema Documentary Feature Competition and was selected as the opening night film at Hot Docs 2020. I am Samuel, a feature produced by Toni and directed by 2019 Rory Peck winner Pete Murimi recently had its world premiere at the 2020 edition of Hot Docs and its European premiere at BFI London Film Festival.

Toni is currently in production on a feature documentary about home and belonging and in development on two factual series exploring the legacy of colonialism in Africa.


With eighteen feature films, Atom Egoyan has won numerous awards including five prizes at the Cannes Film Festival and two Academy Award® nominations. His body of work—which includes theatre, music, and art installations—delves into issues of memory, displacement, and the impact of technology and media on modern life. His acclaimed theater and opera productions have been performed at venues around the world, including Lincoln Center Festival. His adaptation of Samuel Beckett’s Eh Joe won the Irish Times/ESB Award for Best Direction. Egoyan’s art installations have been presented at the Venice Biennale and other institutions, including the Tate Collection.

His latest film is Guest of Honour, starring David Thewlis, Laysla de Oliveira, and Luke Wilson. It premiered at the Venice Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Golden Lion. Commissioned by the Metropolitan Museum’s Department of Live Arts, They Will Take My Island, is Egoyan’s collaboration with Armenian-American composer Mary Kouyoumdjian. Presented online earlier this year, it attracted a widespread viewing audience. Egoyan’s new production of Death in Venice by Benjamin Britten with Pacific Opera Victoria is scheduled for a future season. Photo credit: Tina Rowden

José F. Rodriguez is currently a Programmer at the Tribeca Film Festival. He was formerly a senior staffer at Tribeca Film Institute, where he oversaw the growth, funding & overall strategic vision for all their documentary programs as well as their filmmaker / industry market, TFI NETWORK. During his 10 years at TFI, he also led documentary workshops in the United States and throughout Latin America.

In the past four years he has made two short films: the documentary short AdolescenciaA (Camden International Film Festival 2017, New Orleans Film Festival 2017, DOCNYC 2017, DOK Leipzig 2017) and the experimental short Mama,mama (Bushwick Film Festival 2018, Nitehawk Shorts Festival 2018, Guanajuato International Film Festival 2019).

Rasha Salti is a researcher, writer and curator of art and film, working and living between Beirut and Berlin. Since 2017, she is the commissioning editor for the experimental documentary program, La Lucarne at ArteFrance.


Miryam Charles is a director and producer living in Montreal. She has produced and photographed several short fiction films as well as feature films. She is also the director of several short films which have been presented in various festivals in Quebec and internationally. She is currently working on her first feature-length documentary Cette maison (Talents en vue, SODEC) and is in development on short fiction film Au crépuscule (SODEC créateurs émergents), a dramatic series X (Banff/Netflix Diversity of Voices + Trio Orange), as well as a feature-length fiction film Le marabout (La forge Québec cinéma/Netflix + Voyelles Films).

Poh Si Teng is the producer of the Academy Award-nominated short documentary St. Louis Superman. She is the director of the International Documentary Association Funds and Enterprise Program. Prior to joining IDA she oversaw the US, Canada and Latin America as documentary commissioner and senior producer for Al Jazeera English’s flagship documentary strand, Witness. Poh was previously a journalist for The New York Times, where she received an Emmy nomination. She is originally from Penang, Malaysia.

Adriana Chartrand is Michif from St. Laurent, MB. as well as Irish/Scottish/French. She is the Institute Manager at imagineNATIVE where she oversees year-round professional development programs for Indigenous screen creatives and the annual Industry Days during the Festival. She has two degrees in Film Studies, including an MA from the University of Toronto, and a degree in Women’s and Gender Studies. She speaks English and French and is passionate about cultivating leadership in future Indigenous generations. She was born and raised in Winnipeg, MB.

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