‘The Hottest August’ Tops Planet in Focus Winners

The Hottest August
Grasshopper Film

By Pat Mullen

Brett Story’s The Hottest August took the prize for Best Canadian Feature this week at Toronto’s Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival (PiF). The awards were handed out Sunday at PiF’s Closing Night ceremony and announced via release last night.

Story’s film is an unconventional environmental essay that probes the neighbourhoods of New York City in August, 2017 to hear the concerns (or grievances) of residents when it comes to climate change. POV editor Marc Glassman was on the jury for Best Canadian Feature. The Hottest August opened PiF and was announced yesterday as a selection in the Canadian competition at RIDM.

Alexander John Glustrom won Best International Feature for Mossville (USA). The film examines the impact of industrialization on the Black community and the elements of environmental racism embedded within the climate crisis.

On the shorts front, Amanda Strong won Best Canadian Short for her stop-motion film Biidaaban, while Brazilian filmmaker Guilherme Gehr nabbed Best International Feature for Plantae. The Mark Haslam Award went to Ariane Lorrain and Shahab Mihandoust for the Canadian doc Zagros. The prize, named after PiF’s founder, acknowledges voices from traditionally underrepresented communities that use the power of cinema to raise awareness of environmental concerns.

The Green Pitch Prize went to Polina Teif’s Eulogy for the Dead Sea. The award carries over $30,000 in cash and services from Vistek, Eggplant Picture & Sound, SIM International, William F. White International, Dynamix Solutions, Pie in the Sky Studios, The Source Shop, Trinity Square Video, Supergroup Sonic Branding, and Daniela Ponce Publicity.

PiF’s Closing Night ceremony honoured filmmaker Louie Psihoyos, who won an Oscar for The Cove, with the International Eco-Hero Award. Psihoyos’s new film The Game Changers was PiF’s Closing Night selection. The festival also bestowed previously announced awards including the Canadian Eco-Hero honour for Melina Laboucan-Massimo and Rob Stewart Youth Eco-Hero Award for Autumn Peltier.