Hot Docs Names Cara Mertes 2018 Doc Mogul

By Pat Mullen

Hot Docs has named Cara Mertes the recipient of the Doc Mogul Award for its 2018 festival. The Doc Mogul prize honours a peer in the industry who has made significant contributions to the art and business of documentary. Mertes is the director of the JustFilms initiative at the Ford Foundation and through the role has displayed a significant commitment to socially engaged documentary. Her work with the JustFilms initiative includes fostering an environment for inclusive independent filmmaking and encouraging the growth of emerging voices and media worldwide. Films supported by JustFilms include Bending the Arc, Whose Streets?, When Two Worlds Collide, Best of Enemies, This Changes Everything, and Oscar-winner Citizenfour.

Mertes also served as director of the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and Fund for eight years, was the executive producer of the PBS documentary series POV (no relation) for which she won a Primetime Emmy and three News and Documentary Emmys, and created and produced PBS’ first on-line web series, Borders, which earned her a Webby.

“Hot Docs is one of the most vibrant engines for momentum in the international independent documentary eco-system, and it’s a great honor to be recognized in their 25th year for work that has been, for me over that same period, both a calling and a professional trajectory,” said Mertes in a statement from the festival. “None of this has happened alone. I have been very fortunate to have been mentored and supported by extraordinary cultural and media leaders. Women in particular have been important role models. In turn, over my career as an independent media maker, in public media, in the non-profit world and now in philanthropy, I have tried to foster new opportunities and resources for underrepresented and transformative moving image makers and support visionary, inclusive leadership for the future of this work. I believe these are the stories and the leaders who are the key to creating a path through the current challenges the world faces.”

“Cara’s dedication to building a global non-fiction community and accelerating progressive change through filmic storytelling has been unparalleled,” added Ryan Harrington, acting director of industry programs for Hot Docs. “Her leadership and vision has led her to build new networks, champion hundreds of filmmakers and empower and build thought-leading organizations around the world. Her contribution to the documentary film community has been invaluable, and we’re delighted to recognize her work with this award.”

Mertes will received her award at Hot Docs on Monday, April 30. The 2018 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival runs April 26-May 6. Next year’s festival marks the 25th anniversary of Hot Docs