Skip to main content
Garvia Bailey hosting awards presentation

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, over $244,000 in cash and prizes was awarded, including juried awards for films in competition, audience awards determined by ballot, industry prizes recognizing to pitches and other special award cateogries.

FILMS IN COMPETITION

Best Canadian Feature Documentary Award
zo reken (D&P Emanuel Licha; Canada)
Sponsored by DOC and Telefilm Canada, the award includes a $10,000 cash prize.

Special Jury Prize – Canadian Feature Documentary
One of Ours (D: Yasmine Mathurin; P: Laura Perlmutter, Andrew Nicholas McCann Smith; Canada) Sponsored by DGC National and DGC Ontario, the award includes a $5,000 cash prize.

Emerging Canadian Filmmaker Award
Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers for Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy (P: David Christensen, Lori Lozinski, Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers; Canada)
Given to a first or second-time Canadian filmmaker with a feature film in the Canadian Spectrum program, the award includes a $3,000 cash prize.

Best International Feature Documentary Award
Ostrov – Lost Island (D: Svetlana Rodina, Laurent Stoop; P: Corinna Dästner, Sonja Kilbertus, Urs Schnell; Switzerland)
Supported by the Panicaro Foundation, the award includes a $10,000 cash prize courtesy of the Panicaro Foundation.

Special Jury Prize – International Feature Documentary
School of Hope (D: Mohamed El Aboudi; P: Pertti Veijalainen; Finland, France, Morocco)
Sponsored by A&E, the award includes a $5,000 cash prize.

Emerging International Filmmaker Award
Annabel Verbeke for Four Seasons in a Day (P: Frederik Nicolai, Eric Goossens, Karl-Emil Rikardsen, Ljubo Zdjelarević, Lukas Trimonis; Belgium, Norway, Croatia)
Given to a first or second-time international filmmaker with a feature film in the International Spectrum program, the award, supported by the Donner Canadian Foundation, includes a $3,000 cash prize.

Emerging International Filmmaker Honourable Mention: Margaret Byrne for Any Given Day (P: Margaret Byrne; USA)

Best Mid-Length Documentary Award 
Silent Voice (D: Reka Valerik; P: David Hurst; France, Belgium)
Sponsored by British Pathé, the award includes a $5,000 cash prize.

Best Mid-Length Documentary Honourable Mention: Sunny (D: Keti Machavariani; P: Tsisana Khundadze, Nato Sikharulidze; Georgia)

Best International Short Documentary Award
The Doll (D&P: Elahe Esmaili; Iran)
The award includes a $3,000 cash prize courtesy of Hot Docs.

Betty Youson Award for Best Canadian Short Documentary
Ain’t No Time for Women (D: Sarra El Abed; P: Isabelle Grignon-Francke; Canada)
The award includes a $3,000 cash prize courtesy of John and Betty Youson.

Betty Youson Award for Best Canadian Short Documentary Honourable Mention: The Hairdresser (D&P: Lorraine Price; Canada)


SPECIAL AWARD CATEGORIES

Lindalee Tracey Award
Cailleah Scott-Grimes for her film Between Us (2020)
The Award honours an emerging Canadian filmmaker with a passionate point of view, a strong sense of social justice and a sense of humour, and includes $5,000 cash prize courtesy of the Lindalee Tracey Fund, $5,000 in post-production services from SIM, and a beautiful hand-blown glass sculpture by Andrew Kuntz, specially commissioned to honour Lindalee.


Don Haig Award
Toronto-based producer Lalita Krishna, producer of Bangla Surf Girls and president of In Sync Media

The award is given to an outstanding independent Canadian producer with a film in the Festival in recognition of his/her creative vision, entrepreneurship and track record for nurturing emerging talent and comes with a $5,000 cash prize courtesy of the Don Haig Foundation.

As part of the award, the recipient can name an emerging female documentary filmmaker to receive a $5,000 cash prize courtesy of Hot Docs, and an industry pass for Hot Docs 2022. Lalita named Bangladeshi filmmaker Elizabeth D. Costa, director of Bangla Surf Girls, as the recipient of this prize.


AUDIENCE AWARDS

Hot Docs Audience Award
Dear Future Children

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

  1. FANNY: The Right to Rock
  2. Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy
  3. Someone Like Me
  4. Still Max
  5. Hell or Clean Water

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


INDUSTRY AWARDS

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

  • 1st prize of $50,000: Light of the Setting Sun (D: Vicky Du; P: Danielle Varga, Vicky Du; Walking Productions, LLC, USA; Setting Sun Productions, LLC, USA)
  • 2nd prize of $35,000: Mother Vera (D: Cécile Embleton, Alys Tomlinson; P: Laura Shacham; She Makes Productions Ltd., UK)
  • 3rd prize of $25,000: Fire of Love (D: Sara Dosa; P: Shane Boris, Ina Fichman, Sara Dosa; Fire of Love Productions Inc., Canada/USA)

Canadian Forum Pitch Prize presented in partnership with DGC National and DGC Ontario
Wilfred Buck (D: Lisa Jackson; P: Lisa Jackson, Alicia Smith; Door Number 3 Productions, NFB, Canada)
$10,000 courtesy of Hot Docs, awarded to the best Canadian pitch at the Hot Docs Forum as voted on by attending international buyers

Canadian Forum Pitch Prize Honourable Mention: Made in Ethiopia (D: Xinyan Yu, Max Duncan; P: Tamara Dawit, Xinyan Yu, Max Duncan; Made in Ethiopia, LLC, USA; Gobez Media Inc, Canada)

SUNNY SIDE OF THE DOC PITCH PRIZE
In 2021, the organizers of Sunny Side of the Doc Made in Ethiopia (D: Xinyan Yu, Max Duncan; P: Tamara Dawit, Xinyan Yu, Max Duncan; Made in Ethiopia, LLC, USA; Gobez Media Inc., Canada) to receive a complimentary pass to their event.