Hot Docs

Bonnie Thompson Wins Don Haig Award at Hot Docs

Award honours a veteran producer with a history of mentorship and innovation

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Bonnie Thompson is the winner of the Don Haig Award at Hot Docs this year. The festival announced the news of the honour today via a release. The Don Haig Award is presented annually to a veteran producer who has a film at the festival and a record for continuing the Haig’s history of mentorship. Thompson is at Hot Docs this year with Echo of Everything, directed by Cam Christiansen. The film explores the universal language of music and the philosophical nature of musical ecstasy. Thompson will receive a $5,000 cash prize, courtesy of the Don Haig foundation, which will be presented at the Hot Docs award ceremony on Saturday.

“This is a wonderful honour which I share with the filmmakers, producers and crews with whom I’ve collaborated in the past 34 years,” said Thompson in a release from Hot Docs. “As a producer, it’s been a privilege to experience incredibly diverse worlds and communities and help bring these stories to screens for audiences. It’s especially meaningful to have worked again with filmmaker Cam Christiansen, who has created a striking documentary of stunning images and emotional power in Echo of Everything.”

Thompson previously produced Christiansen’s 2017 feature animated documentary Wall. The film marked one of the many works produced by Thompson during her tenure at the Northwest Studio of the National Film Board of Canada from 2001 to 2018. Films produced by Thompson during her run at the NFB include Angry Inuk (2016), which won the Audience Award at Hot Docs; Radiant City (2006); John Ware Reclaimed (2020); the interactive landmark Bear 71 (2012); and nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up, which opened Hot Docs 2019 and won the award for Best Canadian Documentary. Thompson also produced Wendy Forbis and Amanda Tilby’s 2012 Oscar-nominated animated short Wild Life.

In her work with the NFB and as an independent producer, Thompson’s films have a track record for uplifting voices from underrepresented communities and using documentary to spotlight histories and stories that have been overlooked and misunderstood. Her films have been annual staples at Hot Docs—other festival selections include Legend of a Warrior (2012), The Auctioneer (2013), and Wiebo’s War (2011)—and she has been a constant presence for non-fiction films that tell stories by and about Canadians in the prairies.

Thompson is currently collaborating again with nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up director Tasha Hubbard on the forthcoming documentary Singing Back the Buffalo and producing Wendy Hill-Tout’s personal study of mental health, Insanity.

Previous recent recipients of the Don Haig award include Bob Moore, Peter Raymont, Lalita Krishna, Ina Fichman, and Bob Moore.

Pat Mullen is the publisher of POV Magazine. He holds a Master’s in Film Studies from Carleton University where his research focused on adaptation and Canadian cinema. Pat has also contributed to outlets including The Canadian Encyclopedia, Paste, That Shelf, Sharp, Xtra, and Complex. He is the vice president of the Toronto Film Critics Association and an international voter for the Golden Globe Awards.

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