‘Unarmed Verses’, ‘The Other Side of the Wall’ Top Hot Docs Award Winners

Unarmed Verses
Courtesy of the NFB


By Pat Mullen

Unarmed Verses and The Other Side of the Wall are the big winners of the juried prizes at Hot Docs. In the festival’s awards ceremony tonight at the Isabel Bader theatre, Charles Officer’s NFB doc Unarmed Verses received the award for Best Canadian Feature Documentary. The prize carried an award of $10,000 courtesy of Telefilm Canada. Of Unarmed Verses, the jury called it, “A beautifully observed and crafted film told with great grace and sensitivity, which exposes the central character’s fragility and quiet strength as an adolescent, and asks the key questions about life that we are all looking to answer for ourselves.”

On the international side, the Spanish production The Other Side of the Wall, directed by Paul Ortiz, won the feature equivalent and collected a prize of $10,000 courtesy of Panicaro Foundation. The jury called The Other Side of the Wall an “extraordinary and tender examination of family life in ways that feel both personal and universal.”

Additional Canadian award winners include François Jacob as emerging filmmaker for A Moon of Nickel and Ice and RIDM champ Carlo Guillermo Proto’s Resurrecting Hassan, which scooped the Special Jury Prize. Overall, $67,000 in prizes were handed out to docs at the festival.

Additional award winners for the Audience Award and Rogers Audience Award (Canadian) will be announced at the close of the festival.

Winners of this year’s Hot Docs awards are:

Best Canadian Feature Documentary Award: Unarmed Verses
-Directed by Charles Officer, produced by Lea Marin

Best International Feature Documentary Award: The Other Side of the Wall (Spain)
-Directed by Pau Ortiz; produced by María Nova López, Emiliano Altuna, Tatiana García, Carlos Rossini

Special Jury Prize – Canadian Feature Documentary: Resurrecting Hassan
-Directed and produced by Carlo Guillermo Proto

Special Jury Prize – International Feature Documentary: A Cambodian Spring (UK)
-Directed and produced by Chris Kelly

Emerging Canadian Filmmaker Award: A Moon of Nickel and Ice
-Directed by François Jacob

Emerging International Filmmaker Award: 69 Minutes of 86 Days (Norway)
-Directed Egil Håskjold Larsen

Best Mid-Length Documentary: Death in the Terminal (Israel)
-Directed by Asaf Sudry, Tali Shemesh; Produced by Asaf Sudry, Tali Shemesh, Alma Har’el
—>Special mention to The Lives of Thérèse ( Sébastien Lifshitz; Muriel Meynard; France)

Best Short Documentary Award: Sovdagari (Georgia)
-Directed by Tamta Gabrichidze; produced by Ilia Tavberidze
—>As winner of this category, Sovdagari is now eligible for the Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject)
—>Special mention to Volte (D: Monika Kotecka, Karolina Poryzała; P: Ewa Jastrzebska; Poland)

Lindalee Tracey Award: Thyrone Tommy, Mariner

Focus On: Maya Gallus

Doc Mogul: Monique Simard

2017 Hot Docs Outstanding Achievement Award: Tony Palmer

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