‘Wintopia’ Leads DOXA Winners

Photo courtesy of the Burt-Wintonick collection

By Pat Mullen

Wintopia topped the winners for this year’s DOXA Documentary Festival. Mira Burt-Wintonick’s portrait of her late filmmaker father Peter Wintonick received the Colin Low Award for Canadian Feature from the Vancouver-based festival. The Canadian features jury cited the film’s “poetic, deeply personal, self-reflexive approach to [Burt-Wintonick’s] exploration of the complexities of her relationship with her late father, his search for utopia, and his legacy as a documentary filmmaker.” Wintopia also had the distinction of being DOXA’s opening night selection for this year’s festival. The film previously, an EyeSteelFilm and NFB co-production, premiered at IDFA and Toronto’s Hot Docs, the latter of which was forced to pivot online due to the coronavirus pandemic. DOXA’s 2020 edition also shifted online to connect audiences with a mix of Canadian and international documentaries under to stream under quarantine.

On the international front, DOXA’s prize for Best Feature Documentary went to Overseas, directed by Sung-A Yoon. The French/Belgian co-production observes the plights of Filipina domestics working abroad. “Through its artistry and tenderness, the film challenges our perceptions of Filipina domestic workers and shows how we as a society are complicit in their treatment,” remarked the jury.

Danski Tang’s Umbilical topped the short doc winners with the DOXA Short Documentary Award. Tang’s film is a powerful confessional in which a mother’s story of surviving domestic violence is intertwined with her daughter’s experience of isolation while coming out. The jury called Umbilical “an absolutely necessary film, full of courage, formal experimentation, and heart.” They jury also gave an honourable mention to Hunstville Station, directed by Jamie Meltzer and Chris Filippone. The jury called this portrait of a bus station that provides the first stop on the road to freedom for inmates a “deep, heartbreaking, challenging film made with extreme care, respect, and attention to detail.”

DOXA concludes its festival on Friday, June 26 with a special virtual toast to Peter Wintonick.