Media Room

HOT DOCS’ LARGEST FESTIVAL EVER SEES AUDIENCES OF 165,000

CHASING ICE NAMED PEOPLE’S CHOICE AND THE IMPOSTER TAKES FILMMAKERS AWARD

Toronto, May 7, 2012 – Hot Docs has wrapped its most successful Festival to date with audience numbers reaching an estimated 165,000. The 11-day event featured 395 public screenings of 189 films on 14 screens across Toronto, an internationally renowned conference and market for documentary professionals, and Docs for Schools, a phenomenally popular education program for youth. New this year, Hot Docs partnered with Cineplex Entertainment to simulcast the Canadian premieres of two Canadian documentary films to 37 cinemas across the country. A total of 143 screenings went rush, and the box office saw a ten per cent increase in revenue. The Festival welcomed nearly 200 filmmakers and special guest subjects from across Canada and around the world to present their films and take part in special post-screening Q&A sessions with audiences. Official film selections were chosen from a total of 2085 films submitted to the Festival.

“In these challenging times for Canadian doc-makers, our audience numbers have broken all previous records,” say Chris McDonald, Hot Docs executive director. “This country has a global reputation for outstanding documentary filmmaking, and Toronto audiences are quite possibly the best in the world. We need to support our filmmakers and their contributions to Canadian culture as best we can. As was so eloquently argued by director Kevin McMahon this weekend, documentary should be Canada’s national art form.”

After the final screening yesterday, audience votes were tallied for the People’s Choice Award. The winner is CHASING ICE (D: Jeff Orlowski, USA), which follows renowned National Geographic photographer James Balog on a harsh Arctic expedition where he captures a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers. New this year, a cash prize for the People’s Choice Award winner was crowd-funded from audiences through Hot Docs’ Doc Ignite platform. Currently in excess of $4000, the public can further contribute to this cash prize until Monday, May 14.

The top ten audience favourites as determined by audience vote are:

  1. CHASING ICE (D: Jeff Orlowski, USA)
  2. BIG BOYS GONE BANANAS!* (D: Fredrik Gertten, Sweden)
  3. G-DOG (D: Freida Mock, USA)
  4. WE ARE WISCONSIN (D: Amie Williams, USA)
  5. LIFE IN STILLS (D: Tamar Tal, Israel)
  6. BROOKLYN CASTLE (D: Katie Dellamaggiore, USA)
  7. 5 BROKEN CAMERAS (D: Guy Davidi, Emad Burnat; France, Israel, Palestine)
  8. JASON BECKER, NOT DEAD YET (D: Jessie Vile, UK)
  9. CALL ME KUCHU (D:Malika Zouhali-Worrall, Katherine Fairfax Wright; USA)
  10. THE WORLD BEFORE HER (D: Nisha Pahuja; Canada, Germany, USA, UK)

Also during this year’s Hot Docs Festival, attending filmmakers with official selections in the Festival were invited to vote for their favourite film. The winner of the 2012 Filmmakers Award is THE IMPOSTER (D: Bart Layton, UK).

A full week of industry programming entitled Doc to the Future was attended by 2279 delegates from around the world. Hot Docs mounted a roster of four workshops, 10 conference sessions, 20 networking and market events, three Kickstart panels for emerging filmmakers, 12 micro meetings, the Doc Summit, International Co-Production Day, and the Hot Docs Awards Presentation. The Hot Docs Forum, Hot Docs’ key international co-financing market event, saw two days of brisk pitching, networking and deal-making. In total, 25 projects representing 14 countries were presented to a panel of over 170 key commissioning editors and funders. Hot Docs also hosted six official delegations from China, Germany, Israel, the Nordic region, South Africa, and the UK.

Doc for Schools, Hot Docs’ education program that runs during the Festival and offers free in-theatre and in-school screenings of select Festival films, reached a record number of students in 2012. Close to 73,000 students participated in the program, including schools in Toronto and throughout Ontario.

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Hot Docs (www.hotdocs.ca) is North America’s largest documentary festival, conference and market. Each spring Hot Docs presents an outstanding selection of 180+ documentaries from Canada and around the world to Toronto audiences and international delegates. Hot Docs also mounts 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 Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, a century-old landmark located in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood.

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

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Media Contact:
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