$50,000 Rogers Audience Award Returns to Celebrate Canadian Films at Hot Docs

The Walrus and the Whistleblower topped the 2020 ratings for the Rogers Audience Award at Hot Docs

By Pat Mullen

Hot Docs audiences can once again share the wealth with the return of the Rogers Audience Award. The festival’s $50,000 prize, sponsored by the Rogers Group of Funds, honours the top Canadian feature at the festival as determined by the audience ratings. In keeping in line with last year’s virtual festival, the top five Canadian feature docs will split the prize. Last year’s top audience favourite was The Walrus and the Whistleblower, which earned three Canadian Screen Award nominations this morning including the Donald Brittain Award for Best Social/Political Documentary Program. Three additional winners from last year also scored nominations this morning: 9/11 Kids, The Forbidden Reel, and There’s No Place Like This Place, Anyplace.

“Since the launch of the Rogers Audience Award, the Award has gone to incredibly creative, passionate, and hardworking Canadian filmmakers to applaud their documentary films,” said Robin Mirsky, Executive Director, Rogers Group of Funds, in a statement from Hot Docs. “We are thrilled to continue working alongside Hot Docs Festival to celebrate and recognize Canadian producers and directors.” The 2021 virtual festival marks the fifth year that the Rogers Group of Funds has sponsored the Canadian Audience Award at Hot Docs.

“Rogers Group of Funds has always been such a strong supporter of Canadian documentary, and we thank them for their continued commitment to championing the work and cinematic vision of Canada’s filmmakers,” added Erin Lau, Managing Director of Hot Docs.

As per Hot Docs, eligibility for the Rogers Audience Award is open to feature-length docs at the festival with a Canadian director or CAVCO certification. Audiences nationwide may vote electronically with one ballot per stream. Ballots will be tallied and the five films with the highest average scores will be announced at a special online event streaming Sunday, May 9, at 7:00 pm ET at hotdocs.ca. This year’s festival runs April 29 to May 9.