Hot Docs is pleased to announce documentary filmmaker, producer, and activist Mila Aung-Thwin as this year’s recipient of the prestigious Don Haig Award. Aung-Thwin is the producer and editor of Midwives
(D: Snow Hnin Ei Hlaing), the story of two courageous midwives working in a makeshift clinic in Western Myanmar, which will have its Canadian premiere at this year's Festival.
The Don Haig Award is presented to an outstanding Canadian independent producer with a feature-length film at the Festival, with the recipient being selected by a jury of independent filmmakers. The Award recognizes creative vision and entrepreneurship, as reflected in the recipient’s body of work, as well as a track record of mentoring emerging Canadian filmmakers. Aung-Thwin will be presented with a $5,000 cash prize, courtesy of the Don Haig Foundation.
"It's a great honour to receive this award, and doubly so because it's linked to our film Midwives
," shared Mila Aung-Thwin, Co-Founder of Montreal-based production company EyeSteelFilm. "I've been producing for more than 20 years, and all this time I've wanted to make a film in Myanmar. I couldn't be prouder of the result, and I want to thank my colleagues at EyeSteelFilm for believing in this film and producing with me."
Mila Aung-Thwin has produced more than 30 feature documentaries including the Emmy-winner Last Train Home
(2009), a powerful look at migrant workers in China; Independent Spirit Award nominee and Golden Horse Award Winner Up the Yangtze
(2008), an insightful look at the construction of the Three Gorges Dam in central China; International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam’s Audience Choice Prize Winner Rip: A Remix Manifesto
(2008), an exploration of copyright and content creation in the digital age; and Canadian Screen Award winner I Am the Blues
(2015), a musical journey through the swamps of the Louisiana Bayou.
Most recently, Mila produced and edited Softie
(2020), which opened Hot Docs 2020, the story of a political activist running for office in a regional Kenyan election; directed, produced, and edited Let There Be Light
(2017), a film about mankind’s quest for fusion energy; and produced the short documentaries Speed of Thought
(2020) and The Vote
He has worked with broadcasters around the world, including National Geographic, BBC, ZDF/ARTE, NHK Japan, PBS, and more. He served for five years as President of RIDM - Montreal International Documentary Festival and has served on the juries of the Sundance Film Festival, the International Emmy Awards, and the New Zealand Screen Awards. He frequently mentors and gives documentary storytelling seminars to upcoming filmmakers, with recent workshops taking place in Guangzhou, China; Durban, South Africa; and Yangon, Myanmar.
The award will be presented at the Hot Docs Awards presentation on Saturday, May 7, at TIFF Bell Lightbox at 10:30 am.
Past winners of the Don Haig Award include filmmakers Lalita Krishna (2021), Bob Moore (2020), Peter Raymont (2019), Ina Fichman (2018), Daniel Cross (2017), Ed Barreveld (2016), Anne Pick (2015), Michael McNamara (2014), Merit Jensen Carr (2013), Mia Donovan (2012), Rama Rau (2011), Philip Lyall and Nimisha Mukerji (2010), Brett Gaylor (2009), Yung Chang (2008), Hubert Davis (2007), and Guylaine Dionne (2006).