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2019 Awards

Hot Docs 2019 Awards

During the 2019 Festival, over $208,000 in cash and prizes during the Festival. Unless otherwise noted, all prizes were awarded to the director of the winning film.


Best Canadian Feature Documentary
nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up (D: Tasha Hubbard; P: Bonnie Thompson, Tasha Hubbard, George Hupka, Jon Montes; Canada)
Sponsored by the Documentary Organization of Canada and Telefilm Canada, the award includes a $10,000 cash prize.

DGC Special Jury Prize – Canadian Feature Documentary
Prey (D: Matt Gallagher; P: Cornelia Principe, Matt Gallagher, Nick Hector (co-producer); Canada)
Sponsored by the Directors Guild of Canada and DGC Ontario, the award includes a $5,000 cash prize.

Honourable Mention for DGC Special Jury Prize – Canadian Feature Documentary: River Silence (D: Rogério Soares; P: Bob Moore, Annette Clarke; Canada)

Emerging Canadian Filmmaker Award
Emily Gan for Cavebirds
Given to a first or second-time Canadian filmmaker with a feature film in the Canadian Spectrum program. Sponsored by Vistek, the award includes a $3,000 cash prize.

Best International Feature Documentary
Hope Frozen (D&P: Pailin Wedel; Thailand)
Supported by the Panicaro Foundation, the award includes a $10,000 cash prize courtesy of the Panicaro Foundation.

Special Jury Prize – International Feature Documentary
For Sama (D: Waad al-Kateab, Edward Watts; P: Waad al-Kateab; UK, USA, Syria)
Sponsored by A&E, the award includes a $5,000 cash prize.

Emerging International Filmmaker Award
Nuno Escudeiro for The Valley (Italy, France)
Given to a first or second-time international filmmaker with a feature film in the International Spectrum program. The award includes a $3,000 cash prize courtesy of Hot Docs.

Best Mid-Length Documentary Award
Symphony of the Ursus Factory (D: Jaśmina Wójcik; P: Wojciech Marczewski, Zuzanna Król; Poland)
The award includes a $3,000 cash prize.

Betty Youson Award for Best Canadian Short Documentary
Kora: A Circle Life (D: Tenzin Sedon; P: Ming Liu, Tenzin Sedon; China, Canada, USA)
The award includes a $3,000 cash prize courtesy of John and Betty Youson.

Honourable Mention for Best Canadian Short Documentary: Mothers Of (D: Ross Lai; P: Nicolas Houghton, Christian Tyler, Tamara Sulliman; Canada)

Best International Short Documentary Award
Call Confession (D: Arturo Aguilar; P: Jimena Tormo; Spain, Mexico)
The award includes a $3,000 cash prize.

Honourable Mention for Best International Short Documentary category: A 3 Minute Hug (D: Everardo González; P: Daniela Alatorre, Elena Fortes; Mexico)


Rogers Audience Award for Best Canadian Documentary
Prey (D: Matt Gallagher, Canada) $50,000 prize courtesy of Rogers Group of Funds

Hot Docs Audience Award - Feature
Maxima (D: Claudia Sparrow, USA)

Hot Docs Audience Award - Mid-Length
Beloved (D: Yaser Talebi, Iran)

Hot Docs Audience Award - Short
St. Louis Superman (D: Smriti Mundhra, Sami Khan; Qatar, USA, Canada)

Hot Docs Audience Award - DocX
Traveling While Black (D: Roger Ross Williams, Félix Lajeunesse, Paul Raphaël, Ayesha Nadarajah; Canada)

Scotiabank Docs For Schools Student Choice Award
Mr. Toilet: The World’s #2 Man (D: Lily Zepeda; P: Tchavdar Georgiev, Lily Zepeda, Eugene Efuni; USA)
Chosen from among ten films, the winner was determined by audience ballot cast by students attending Docs For Schools screenings at Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema during the Festival. Sponsored by Scotiabank, the award comes with $5,000 cash prize, courtesy of Scotiabank.


Hot Docs 2019 Outstanding Achievement Award
Presented by the Hot Docs Board of Directors to Julia Reichert

Hot Docs 2019 Focus On Honouree
Canadian filmmaker Julia Ivanova

Don Haig Award
Toronto-based filmmaker, journalist, writer and activist Peter Raymont of White Pine Pictures
The award is decided upon by a jury of independent producers and comes with a $10,000 cash prize courtesy of the Don Haig Foundation and Telefilm Canada.

Don Haig Award Pay It Forward Prize
Screenwriter and director Fazila Amiri
As part of the award, the Don Haig Award recipient can name an emerging female documentary filmmaker to receive a $5,000 cash prize, courtesy of Telefilm Canada, and professional development opportunities at the Hot Docs Festival to further her career path.

The Lindalee Tracey Award
Andy Alvarez for her film Our Home The Award honours an emerging Canadian filmmaker with a passionate point of view, a strong sense of social justice and a sense of humour. The recipient receives a $5,000 cash prize courtesy of the Lindalee Tracey Fund, $5,000 in post-production services from Technicolor, and a beautiful hand-blown glass sculpture by Andrew Kuntz, specially commissioned to honour Lindalee.


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

  • 1st prize of $30,000: Midwives (EyeSteelFilm Inc., Canada; AMA FILM GmbH, Germany; Snow Film)
  • 2nd prize $20,000: Colour of the Wind (Tortuga Films, Canada; Alias film und sprachtransfer GmbH, Germany; Mouka Filmi Oy, Finland)

Surprise Prize
Twice Colonized (Ánorâk Film, Greenland; Ánorâk Film, Denmark; Unikkaat Studios, Canada)
A $20,000 award presented on behalf of Toronto documentary supporters by Elizabeth Radshaw.

Corus-Hot Docs Forum Pitch Prize
Twice Colonized (Ánorâk Film, Greenland; Ánorâk Film, Denmark; Unikkaat Studios, Canada)
Disbursed from the Corus-Hot Docs Funds, $10,000 is awarded to the best Canadian pitch at the Hot Docs Forum as voted on by attending international buyers.

Promise Prize
Jade Baxter (Canada)
Awarded to a current Doc Accelerator or CrossCurrents Canada fellow who is a racialized emerging Canadian filmmaker, the $1000 Promise Prize recognizes a filmmaker who is dedicated to building a long-term documentary filmmaking career, has shown a demonstrated commitment to supporting their cohort of peers, and whose work shows a strong creative vision and distinct voice. Generously sponsored by Scarborough Pictures

Cuban Hat Award
Socks on Fire: Uncle John and the Copper Headed Water Rattlers (Hitbird Productions LLC., USA) Determined by Hot Docs Forum Observers

2019 Juries


  • Alice Burgin, CEO/Conference Director, Australian International Documentary Conference
  • Christy Garland, Filmmaker
  • Ariel Nasr, Filmmaker


  • Anita Lee, Executive Producer and Head of Studio, National Film Board of Canada
  • Jane Schoettle, former International Programmer, TIFF
  • Harry Vaughn, Programmer, Sundance Film Festival


  • Sofia Bohdanowicz, Filmmaker
  • Shasha Nakhai, Filmmaker
  • Jason Ryle, Artistic and Managing Director, imagineNATIVE


  • Opal Bennett, Curator
  • Alexandra Lazarowich, Filmmaker
  • Amanda Parris, Host, CBC Arts: Exhibitionists, The Filmmakers and From the Vaults, Marvin’s Room

All >

Presenting Platinum Partner

  • logo Scotia Wealth Management

Founding Partner

  • logo Rogers

Signature Partner

  • Logo Cbc Gem

Presenting Partners

  • logo Crave
  • logo Netflix

Major Supporters

  • logo Celebrate Ontario
  • logo telefilm