The festival has announced the winners at the 20th edition of the big North American documentary festival. Debra Zimmermann was the Doc Mogul Award winner of this year, of course well deserved for her great work within Women Make Movies. Les Blank, who died beginning of April this year, was honored, the American director who was famous for his humorous and original personal essays like “Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers” and “Gap-Toothed Women” as well as for music docs like “Chulas Fronteras” and the films about/with Werner Herzog, “Burden of dreams” and “Werner Herzog Eats his Shoes”.
Apart from the many North American/Canadian documentaries awarded, a couple of international films were taken to the stage for recognition: The German film from China, “Dragon Girls” by Inigo Westmeier, the Chinese “Cloudy Mountains” by Zhu Yu, an ecological drama and “The Circle” by Belgian Bram Conjaerts.
Difficult to evaluate the festival when you have not been there, but Scottish Emma Davie, director of “I am Breathing” (photo), attended to present her film and has written a fine enthusiastic text, from which I would like to quote. I am sure she will not disagree:
“HotWarm reception of our film at this fab Hot Docs festival in Toronto where audiences have multiplied over the years. Such is this city’s passion for documentary that there is now a cinema called The Bloor which shows nothing but documentaries all year – I AM BREATHING will show there on
on June 21st – a “cherished cultural form” in Canada, with the same significance as “the beaver, the colour red and Maple Leaf tartan.” He quotes that great Canadian thinker Marshall McLuhan who felt that Canadians were inherently good observers because “when you are out of the main swim, as it were, you have a much better opportunity of seeing what’s going on.”
More than ever, Canada needs the subversive, transgressive vision that documentary can bring. This country, once famed for its open-mindedness, is now home to the environmentally catastrophic tar sand extraction and some shocking initiatives by the current conservative government.”
Read the whole text from Emma Davie, link below and what The Hollywood Reporter wrote about her film: “Intimate documentary examining a normal-but-remarkable man and wife’s handling of his fatal disease ranks among the year’s most moving films.”