Cannon Arm and the Arcade Quest leads the winners for this year’s CUFF Docs. The film by Mads Hedegaard won the jury award for Best Documentary, the Calgary Underground Film Festival announced over the weekend. Cannon Arm and the Arcade Quest is an offbeat portrait of gamer Kim Cannon Arm and his grilled-cheese fuelled endeavour to break a record by playing the playing the ’80s arcade game Gyruss for 100 consecutive hours. The doc is a humorous and engaging portrait of arcade culture and the intricate mental and physical preparation involved in Cannon Arm’s challenge.
“The jury was fully invested in this sweet story of friendship that breaks records and biases surrounding mental illness, neurodiversity, and age,” noted the jury, which included yours truly. “A film that validates difference, makes niche interests accessible, gives spreadsheets their due and serves up a must-see grilled cheese montage, this year’s award for Best Documentary goes to Cannon Arm and the Arcade Quest, a feat of endurance that finds success in gratitude, not just achievement!”
Director Mads Hedegaard shared this thank you video, which CUFF Docs posted in its Instagram stories this weekend.
The CUFF Docs jury, which included filmmaker Brad Abrahams and Hot Docs programmer Angie Driscoll, also gave a special jury prize to Eddie Martin’s We Once Were Kids. The doc revisits Larry Clark’s groundbreaking and controversial independent film Kids and lets surviving participants from the film correct the narrative about the project and share with audiences how the film shaped their lives. “Empowering the subjects of the original film to share their stories in their own words and on their own terms, this corrective lays bare the exploitation of its actors, raising deep and relevant questions about the power of representing experiences that are not one’s own and the responsibility that comes with that privilege,” noted the jury.
Audience Award winners for CUFF Docs will be announced shortly after the festival.