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Toronto, January 31, 2012 – The Hot Docs Board of Directors is pleased to announce that it has chosen masterful Québécois filmmaker Michel Brault as the recipient of its 2012 Outstanding Achievement Award. As part of the honour, Hot Docs will screen a retrospective during the 19th annual Festival, April 26 to May 6, celebrating Brault’s distinguished career as a director and cinematographer. Hot Docs is also pleased to pay tribute to Toronto-based filmmaker John Kastner, subject of this year’s Focus On retrospective.

“We are extremely excited to celebrate Michel’s work and honour him with this year’s Outstanding Achievement Award,” says Hot Docs director of programming Charlotte Cook. “As a pioneer in fiction, non-fiction and cinematography, his work has helped define direct cinema, influencing filmmaking worldwide from the 50s to present day.”

Born in Montreal, Québec, on June 25, 1928, Michel Brault became synonymous with cinéma direct (direct cinema), the innovative filmmaking style that arose from the Québécois documentary cinema of the late 1950s and early 1960s. A pioneer of hand-held cinematography and regarded as one of Canada’s greatest cinematographers, Brault has worked on over 200 films throughout a career spanning more than 50 years. Brault became involved with filmmaking in university, joining the National Film Board of Canada in 1956, where he worked on the Candid Eye series. After travelling to France in the early 1960s, he returned to Québec and the NFB, leaving in the film board in 1965 to begin his successful career as a freelance filmmaker. Named best director at both the 1975 Festival de Cannes and Canadian Film Awards (now the Genies) for his film LES ORDRES, Brault also worked as cinematographer on MON ONCLE ANTOINE, widely-regarded as one of the finest Canadian films ever made. He has been the recipient of the Governor General’s Award, the Prix Jutra lifetime achievement award, and has been named an officer of the Ordre national du Québec. Brault’s credits as director include POUR LA SUITE DU MONDE (1963), ENTRE LA MER ET L’EAU DOUCE (1967), L’ACADIE, L’ACADIE (1971), LES ORDRES (1974), LES NOCES DE PAPIER (1989), SHABBAT SHALOM (1992), MON AMIE MAX (1994), QUAND JE SERAI PARTI (1998) and VOUS VIVREZ ENCORE (1998).

The 2012 Outstanding Achievement Award Retrospective films will be announced in March, and Hot Docs is pleased to announce that Michel Brault will be in attendance at this year’s Festival

The Hot Docs Outstanding Achievement Award is presented annually by the Hot Docs Board of Directors in recognition of a filmmaker’s enduring contribution to the documentary form. Past recipients and Hot Docs guests include Terence Macartney-Filgate (2011), Kim Longinotto (2010), Alanis Obomsawin (2009), Richard Leacock (2008), Heddy Honigmann (2007), Werner Herzog (2006), Errol Morris (2005), Michael Maclear (2004), Nick Broomfield (2003), Frederick Wiseman (2002), D. A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus (2000) and Albert Maysles (1999).

Hot Docs will also pay tribute to John Kastner with this year’s Focus On retrospective, an annual program showcasing the work of a mid-career Canadian filmmaker.

“We’re grateful that John will be taking a break from filming his next project to join us at this year’s festival,” says Cook. “Given his long history with Hot Docs, it is very fitting for us to present a major retrospective of his work.”

Kastner began in television as a child professional actor and has gone on to become one of Canada’s most acclaimed documentary filmmakers. His films have been screened at major film festivals including the Berlinale, Sheffield Doc/Fest and Hot Docs, and the Cinematheque Quebecoise in Montreal recently ran a retrospective of his work. In 2007 Kastner was honoured by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television with its Achievement Award. His most recent film, LIFE WITH MURDER, gained him his forth Emmy and fifth Emmy nomination, as well as Canada’s Donald Brittain Gemini for Best Documentary, gold and silver Hugo awards at the Chicago Film Festival, and several other awards including a Special Jury Prize at the Houston International Film Festival. In 2004, his trilogy for CBC-TV, RAGE AGAINST THE DARKNESS, followed seniors going into long-term care facilities. One of the films from the series, BUNNY AND LEONA, won several awards including Best Canadian Documentary Feature at Hot Docs in 2003.

The titles in Focus On John Kastner will be announced in March, and Hot Docs is pleased to announce that John Kastner will be in attendance at this year’s Festival.

Past Focus On honorees include Alan Zweig (2011), Tahani Rached (2010), Ron Mann (2009), Jennifer Baichwal (2008), Kevin McMahon (2007), Serge Giguère (2006), Larry Weinstein (2005), Nettie Wild (2004), Shelley Saywell (2003) and Zacharias Kunuk (2002).

The Outstanding Achievement Award and Focus On retrospective are presented by the National Film Board of Canada.


Hot Docs (, North America’s largest documentary festival, conference and market, will present its 19th annual edition from April 26 – May 6, 2012. An outstanding selection of 150+ documentaries from Canada and around the world will be presented to Toronto audiences and international delegates. Hot Docs will also mount a full roster of conference sessions and market events and services for documentary practitioners, including the renowned Hot Docs Forum and The Doc Shop. In partnership with Blue Ice Group, Hot Docs operates the recently acquired Bloor Cinema, a century-old landmark located in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood.

Hot Docs is proud to include Scotiabank, Rogers, Telefilm Canada and documentary as its Presenting Partners.

Media Contact:
Virginia Kelly
V Kelly & Associates
Phone: 416-466-9799

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