Daniel Cross Receives Don Haig Award from Hot Docs

By Pat Mullen

Daniel Cross is this year’s winner of the Don Haig Award from Hot Docs. The annual award, which was announced today in a statement from the festival, recognises a Canadian independent film producer with a feature screening at the festival and considers the filmmaker’s overall body of work, creativity, and entrepreneurial skills. Cross is the founder of the Montreal-based production company EyeSteelFilm and has three features at Hot Docs this year: Manic, Let There Be Light, and Tokyo Idols. Cross will receive a $10,000 cash prize, courtesy of the Don Haig Foundation and Telefilm Canada, at the Hot Docs Awards Presentation on Friday, May 5. (Read more about Daniel Cross and EyeSteelFilm in this former POV cover story.)

Cross’s credits as a director include SPIT: Squeegee Punks in Traffic, Chairman George, and I am the Blues, which won this year’s Canadian Screen Award for Best Documentary Feature. Cross also served as producer and executive producer on some of EyeSteel’s most acclaimed films including last year’s Hot Docs Audience Award winner Angry Inuk, directed by Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, and the Genie Award winners Up the Yangtze, directed by Yung Chang, and Last Train Home, directed by Lixin Fan.

Cross also has a history of mentoring emerging talent in the Canadian independent film scene. As part of his receipt of the Don Haig Award, Cross has the opportunity to grant an emerging female filmmaker with a cash prize of $5000, courtesy of Telefilm Canada, in the pay-it-forward spirit of Haig’s mentorship. Cross picked Manic director Kalina Bertin to receive the prize. Bertin is a Toronto based-filmmaker whose Manic is a raw and intimate study of her family’s hidden history of bipolar disorder. (Read more on Manic in the POV feature ‘The Freshmen.’)

“The generosity that Don Haig shared with me and many of my filmmaking colleagues shines as a guiding light, reminding us to provide mentorship in his spirit of generosity and kindness,” said Daniel Cross in a statement from the festival.

The Don Haig award was established in 2006 is presented by the Hot Docs Board of Directors and a jury of independent producers selects the winner. Previous recipients include Ed Barreveld (The League of Exotique Dancers), Hubert Davis (Giants of Africa), Mia Donovan (Deprogrammed), Michael McNamara (Celtic Pride), Anne Pick (Gambling on Extinction) and Philip Lyall and Nimisha Mukerji (65 _ redroses).

Visit the POV Hot Docs Hub for more coverage from this year’s festival!