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, $182,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded, including juried awards for films in competition, audience awards determined by ballot, industry prizes recognizing to pitches and other special award cateogries.

All awards for films in competition will be decided by Hot Docs Festival juries and will be announced at the Hot Docs Awards presentation, livestreaming on Friday, May 7 at 7:00 p.m.

The Rogers Audience Award for best Canadian documentaries will honour the top five eligible feature-length Canadian documentaries. Determined by audience poll, each of the winning films will receive a $10,000 CAD prize, which will be livestreamed on Sunday, May 9 at 7:00 p.m.


Best Canadian Feature Documentary
Sponsored by DOC and Telefilm Canada
$10,000 prize courtesy of Hot Docs

DGC Special Jury Prize – Canadian Feature Documentary
Sponsored by DGC National and DGC Ontario
$5,000 prize courtesy of Hot Docs

Emerging Canadian Filmmaker Award
$3,000 prize courtesy of Hot Docs

Best International Feature Documentary
Supported by the Panicaro Foundation
$10,000 cash prize courtesy of the Panicaro Foundation

Special Jury Prize – International Feature Documentary
Sponsored by A&E
$5,000 prize courtesy of Hot Docs

Emerging International Filmmaker Award
Supported by the Donner Canadian Foundation
$3,000 prize courtesy of Hot Docs

Best Mid-Length Documentary
Sponsored by British Pathé
$5,000 prize courtesy of Hot Docs

Betty Youson Award for Best Canadian Short Documentary
Supported by John and Betty Youson
$3,000 prize courtesy of John and Betty Youson

Best International Short Documentary
$3,000 prize courtesy of courtesy of Hot Docs


Hot Docs Audience Award

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

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


Don Haig Award
The Don Haig Award is awarded annually to an outstanding Canadian independent producer with a film in the Festival. The Award recognizes creative vision and entrepreneurship as reflected in the work being showcased at Hot Docs, as well as a track record for nurturing emerging Canadian filmmakers. The winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize courtesy of the Don Haig Foundation.

The Don Haig Award recipient awards a $5,000 cash prize, courtesy of Hot Docs, and 2022 Hot Docs Festival industry registration to an emerging female documentary filmmaker of their choice to support future career development. The recipient will also be invited to attend the Festival.

The Lindalee Tracey Award
To honour her life and celebrate her legacy, Lindalee Tracey’s colleagues, friends and family have created the Lindalee Tracey Award. The award is presented each year at Hot Docs to an emerging Canadian filmmaker who works in the spirit of Lindalee. The winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize from the Lindalee Tracey Fund, $5,000 in post-production services courtesy of SIM, and a beautiful hand-blown glass sculpture by Andrew Kuntz, specially commissioned to honour Lindalee.


first look Pitch Prizes
$50,000, courtesy of first look program participants
Awarded to top Hot Docs Forum Pitches as determined by first look program participants

Canadian Forum Pitch Prize presented in partnership with DGC National and DGC Ontario
$10,000, courtesy of Hot Docs
Awarded to the best Canadian pitch at the Hot Docs Forum as voted on by attending international buyers.

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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Presenting Platinum Partner

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Founding Partner

  • logo Rogers

Signature Partner

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Presenting Partners

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Major Supporters

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