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Film still from Yintah
Festival News

Hot Docs Wraps 2024 Edition; $172K Awarded to Festival Films & Pitch Projects

Hot Docs wrapped up its exhilarating 11-day Festival last night, capturing audiences with a diverse lineup of 168 films hailing from 64 countries. The Festival featured 274 live screenings on seven screens at three venues across Toronto, with 248 live filmmaker Q&As, and five extended discussions with filmmakers and special guests as part of the Big Ideas Series, presented by Scotia Wealth Management. Special guests include legendary Academy Award-winning film editor Thelma Schoonmaker, celebrated actress Emmanuelle Béart, iconic Canadian electroclash musician Peaches, actress and director Lucy Lawless, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee’s Amy Hoggart, decorated Estonian Olympic freestyle skier Kelly Sildaru, founder of SiriusXM Satellite Radio Martine Rothblatt, Canadian Chef Sash Simpson, Ashford & Simpson’s Valerie Simpson, author Staceyann Chin, and more.

"As I reflect on the whirlwind of the past 11 days, I am filled with gratitude for the profound connections, exhilarating stories, captivating filmmaking, and spirited discussions that took place throughout our 2024 Festival,” shared Hot Docs President Marie Nelson. “Hot Docs stands tall as an essential nexus for documentary visionaries and the broader industry. It was an absolute joy to host our friends, new and old, in Toronto and to show them our warmth and support as they carve their path in our industry and shape their future creative endeavours. My heartfelt appreciation goes to our devoted Hot Docs team, our tireless and enthusiastic volunteers, and our invaluable sponsors and partners, who made this remarkable journey possible."

“We are deeply thankful to the filmmakers from Canada and around the world, who trusted us in sharing their powerful stories, in packed cinemas, with our dedicated Hot Docs audiences,” added Heather Haynes, Hot Docs’ Festival Programming Director. “We would not be here without the incredible staff at Hot Docs who, each year, deliver this Festival with full hearts, love and courage. This year’s Festival embodied this very spirit, as our community came together to explore vital and urgent conversations. The outpour of support and encouragement from our community gave us strength and optimism as we look towards the future.”

The Rogers Audience Award for Best Canadian Documentary, which recognizes the top Canadian feature as determined by audience poll with a cash prize of CAD 50,000, was announced last night at a free encore screening at Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema. Yintah (D: Jennifer Wickham, Brenda Michell, Michael Toledano | P: Jennifer Wickham, Brenda Michell, Michael Toledano, Bob Moore | Canada | 2024), a compelling film chronicling the resilient journey of the Wet’suwet’en people as they confront the challenges of pipeline construction on their ancestral lands, received the prize, courtesy of Rogers.

With CAD 75,000 in cash and prizes announced at the Hot Docs Awards Presentation on Friday, May 3, CAD 47,000 in pitch prizes awarded at the close of Hot Docs Forum on Wednesday, May 1, and CAD 50,000 Rogers Audience Award, this year the Festival awarded a total of CAD 172,000 in cash and prizes to filmmakers.

Hot Docs Audience Awards are determined by votes submitted by Festival audiences after in-person screenings. At the close of the Festival, it was determined that Yintah placed first in the overall audience poll and won the Hot Docs Audience Award.

The top mid-length film in the audience poll, winning the Audience Award for Mid-Length Documentary, was Fire Tower (D: Tova Krentzman | P: Tova Krentzman | Canada | 2023). The top short film, winning the Audience Award for Short Documentary, was Nothing Special (D: Efrat Berger | France, Israel | 2024).

The 20 documentaries in the audience poll are:
  1. Yintah
  2. American Cats: The Good, the Bad, and the Cuddly
  3. A Mother Apart
  4. Black Box Diaries
  5. Wilfred Buck
  6. Luther: Never Too Much
  7. The Ride Ahead
  8. Echo of You
  9. Any Other Way: The Jackie Shane Story
  10. Kelly – Someone Else's Dream
  11. My Dad's Tapes
  12. Secret Mall Apartment
  13. Red Fever
  14. A French Youth
  15. Teaches of Peaches
  16. Devi
  17. Singing Back the Buffalo
  18. Porcelain War
  19. Disco's Revenge
  20. This Is Going to Be Big
In addition to the riveting film screenings, Hot Docs extended its reach through initiatives like the immensely popular Docs For Schools program, offering teachers across Canada free access to nine official selections from this year’s Festival along with accompanying teaching resources linked to curriculum.

The Festival served as a vibrant hub for industry professionals, welcoming over 1,400 delegates from 69 countries to participate in the Hot Docs Industry Conference, which featured four days of enlightening knowledge sessions, two Works-in-Progress screenings—supported by Netflix—highlighting innovative Canadian projects presented by Hot Docs Incubator, and dynamic networking opportunities. Moreover, the 2024 Industry Conference presented the renowned Hot Docs Forum and Hot Docs Dealmaker, further solidifying its place as the premier platform for financing and talent discovery.

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