Rogers Audience Award Returns to Hot Docs 2020 - with a Twist

Prey won the Rogers Audience Award at Hot Docs 2019

By Pat Mullen

This year’s Hot Docs Audience Award will share the wealth among the Canadian films. Hot Docs announced today that the $50,000 Rogers Audience Award will return for the festival in its online edition. The prize recognizes the most popular Canadian feature documentary screening at the festival, as determined by votes from the audience. This year, however, the award will be shared between the top five Canadian features with each film receiving a cash prize of $10,000 each, courtesy of the Rogers Group of Funds.

This year’s edition of Hot Docs runs online from May 28 to June 6. Screenings are limited to Ontario-based viewers and have capacity limits comparable to physical events that would normally occur in the festival proper. Over 130 films are screening in this year’s festival as Hot Docs joins many events in moving online as COVID-19 precautions make in-person festivities impossible for the foreseeable future.

“Our change in approach this year is to support more of Canada’s outstanding documentary filmmakers during this challenging time for the entire artistic community and our homegrown production industry,” said Robin Mirsky, executive director of the Rogers Group of Funds in a statement from Hot Docs. “Canada has a long and successful history in producing outstanding documentaries that have the power to strengthen our culture, change perspectives, and drive social change. The Rogers Group of Funds is proud to continue its partnership with Hot Docs Festival and recognize the terrific work by these filmmakers.”

“Rogers Group of Funds has been a long-time supporter of Hot Docs and also an outstanding champion of Canada’s documentary community, and we cannot thank them enough for their generosity,” added Brett Hendrie, executive director of Hot Docs. “We’re thrilled to be able to partner with them to celebrate and honour the creative work of Canadian filmmakers with this Award, especially in these uncertain times.”

All features screening online in the festival will receive one ballot per stream. Participating films that have a Canadian director and are CAVCO certified are eligible for the Rogers Audience Award. A majority of films screening as part of this year’s festival will be available to viewers through June 24. Previous winners of the Rogers Audience Award include Prey (2019), Transformer (2018), and Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World (2017).