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Big Ideas & Live Events

Throughout Hot Docs Festival Online, May 28 to June 6, there are several virtual live events taking place.

Rogers Audience Award - Sunday, June 7

During a special virtual presentation ceremony on the evening of Sunday, June 7, we announced the winners of the $50,000 CAD Rogers Audience Award, courtesy of Rogers Group of Funds. Each winner will receive a cash prize of $10,000 CAD.

You can watch the announcement on YouTube.

The full lists of Hot Docs audience favourites and Rogers Audience Award winners are now available.


Big Ideas presented by Scotia Wealth Management

Hear from notable subjects and experts on issues featured in the film. Live Q&As took place May 30 to June 9, and the recorded discussions are available on YouTube.

Big Ideas presented by
Crave logo

Coded Bias 1

Coded Bias

  • USA
  • 83
  • Shalini Kantayya

Featuring data journalist Meredith Broussard & director Shalini Kantayya


As facial recognition technology becomes increasingly used in surveillance, questions need to be asked about who is creating and benefitting from it, and who is being harmed. Join Coded Bias director Shalini Kantayya and data journalist Meredith Broussard, author of Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World, for a timely conversation about privacy and civil liberties under threat.

About the film
When facial recognition software is used in clandestine surveillance, who does it protect and who is singled out? Scientists, scholars and activists all argue there is a clear racial bias buried in the algorithms, but will the US government take heed?

Forum 1

The Forum

  • Germany, Switzerland
  • 92
  • Marcus Vetter

Featuring Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director, Greenpeace International


Join Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director of Greenpeace International, and The Forum director Marcus Vetter for a crucial conversation about The World Economic Forum and the role world leaders, corporations and individuals play in ensuring the health of our planet, particularly at this challenging moment in human history. Hosted by CBC's Anna Maria Tremonti.

About the film
At the World Economic Forum in Davos, where the most powerful leaders and thinkers on the planet gather, astonishing conversations unfold between the likes of Al Gore, Jair Bolsonaro and Greta Thunberg during an event with so much at stake.

I Human 1


  • Norway
  • 100
  • Tonje Hessen Schei

Featuring deepfake pioneer Hao Li and investigative reporter Lee Fang


A new world order has emerged and continues to evolve at incredible speed. Many view AI as one of the, if not the most, disruptive and far-reaching technology in the history of mankind. With COVID-19, it might be more important than ever to understand how AI is developed and implemented. With governments frantically building up AI surveillance architectures, controlling our information and in a time when we are more dependent on the digital realm than ever, it is now crucial to understand how this tech can be used as a weapon.

The age of artificial intelligence (AI) is an era defined by a technological revolution that infiltrates every walk of life: information control, governance, surveillance, privacy, society, and what it fundamentally means to be human. Without regulation, legislation and governance frameworks based on crucial ethical standards, we run the risk of losing our grip on this ever-evolving technology, thus removing human intelligence and uniqueness from the equation.

iHuman is a political thriller about artificial intelligence, power and social control. With unique deep access to the inside of the booming AI industry, the film shows how the most powerful and far-reaching technology of our time is changing our lives, our society and our future.

For this North American premiere of the film, we are thrilled to host a live webinar featuring experts from the film: Lee Fang, investigative journalist from the The Intercept, and Hao Li, deepfake pioneer. Join us and learn from leading experts, director Tonje Hessen Schei, and her journey on the inside of the AI revolution.

About the film
Take a deep dive into rapidly expanding forms of artificial intelligence, as told by some of the pioneers and experts of the field who reflect on the massive impact these advancements have on our world.

Made You Look 5

Made You Look: A True Story About Fake Art

  • Canada
  • 96
  • Barry Avrich

Featuring Maria Konnikova, Don Thompson, Patricia Cohen, & Barry Avrich


Join us for a fascinating look at the big business of art fraud, the art of the con and why we fall for it with Maria Konnikova, author, The Confidence Game; Don Thompson, author The Orange Balloon Dog: Bubbles, Turmoil and Avarice in the Contemporary Art Market; Patricia Cohen, reporter, The New York Times and Made You Look: A True Story About Fake Art director Barry Avrich.

About the film
Controversy erupts when the American art market is flooded with a slew of fake paintings valued in the millions. As the truth unravels and consequences mount, a reputed New York dealer unwittingly finds herself at the centre of an elaborate con.

Thousand Cuts 1

A Thousand Cuts

  • USA
  • 120
  • Ramona S. Diaz

Featuring Maria Ressa, Rappler co-founder, executive editor and CEO


Internationally acclaimed journalist and 2018 Time Person of the Year Maria Ressa, co-founder, executive editor and CEO of Rappler, and A Thousand Cuts director Ramona Diaz discuss the role of journalists in democratic society, lessons we can learn about the weaponization of social media, political harassment and the importance of a free press to counter disinformation and "fake news." Hosted by Ana Serrano, Co-Director DemocracyXChange and in-coming President and Vice Chancellor OCAD University.

About the film
Internationally acclaimed press-freedom fighter Maria Ressa must navigate fake news punditry, bomb threats and arrest warrants to chronicle Philippine President Duterte’s extrajudicial war on drugs and weaponization of social media in this urgent report on democracy itself.

NFB Live Q&As

The NFB hosted three live Q&As during Hot Docs Festival Online.

Forbidden Reel 1

The Forbidden Reel

  • Canada
  • 119
  • Ariel Nasr

For most of us, Afghanistan is not synonymous with film culture. Ariel Nasr’s documentary sets out to change that: the Afghanistan in The Forbidden Reel is one with a deep, rich history of cinema, ready for rediscovery. This fascinating testament to a relatively unknown creative wellspring includes the incredible story of the Taliban’s efforts to burn the entirety of the country’s “un-Islamic” film history, stashed in original reels at the archives of Afghan Film, a state-sponsored national film body. Rescued from destruction, today these films are being digitized for preservation and distribution, in part through the help of the National Film Board of Canada. Skilfully weaving together film clips, interviews with Afghan directors and visits to the archives, this complex look at Afghan cinema allows for a better understanding of the country’s troubled past and offers a wish for its creative future. Aisha Jamal

Stateless 1


  • USA, Canada
  • 95
  • Michèle Stephenson

Winner—Special Jury Prize – Canadian Feature Documentary


In 1937, tens of thousands of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent were exterminated by the Dominican army, on the basis of anti-Black racism. Fast forward to 2013: the Dominican Republic’s Supreme Court strips the citizenship of anyone with Haitian parents, retroactive to 1929, rendering over 200,000 people without identity, nationality or homeland. Enraged by this injustice and energized by a belief that things can change, a young attorney, Rosa Iris, commits to challenging electoral corruption and reuniting families split apart by the abrupt and merciless ruling. Through an observational style interwoven with allusions to regional folk tales, director Michèle Stephenson documents the aftermath of a pivotal turning point in the history of two nations with a complex and tumultuous history. Through Iris’s grassroots campaign and relentless fight to restore citizenship for all, the irreparable personal impacts of institutional racism and oppression are laid bare. Mariam Zaidi

Wintopia 1


  • Canada
  • 89
  • Mira Burt-Wintonick

When Canadian documentary titan Peter Wintonick died in 2013, he left behind over three decades’ worth of released work and 300 private video tapes. Shot over the last 15 years and labelled “Utopia,” these private tapes documented Peter’s quixotic and poetic quest to find a place on Earth where everyone is happy. When his daughter Mira Burt-Wintonick finds this treasure trove of diaristic travelogues, she uses his words and images as a way to connect to her enigmatic father. By alternating between his archives, recent interviews with his collaborators, her own observations and candid conversations with her mother Christine, Burt-Wintonick proves her father’s favourite saying: “Life is more complex than any camera can record.” Emotional and whimsical, Wintopia ultimately guides us on a daughter’s journey in pursuit of reconciliation, between father and family and between dreams and reality. Aisha Jamal

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