Christine Choy and Elizabeth Klinck | Photos courtesy of Hot Docs

Christine Choy, Elizabeth Klinck to Receive Hot Docs Retrospectives

Fest spotlights Ukraine in Made In series

6 mins read

Filmmaker Christine Choy and visual researcher Elizabeth Klinck will be the subjects of retrospective programmes at this year’s Hot Docs festival. Hot Docs announced yesterday that Choy will receive the 2023 Outstanding Achievement Award, while Klinck’s work will be highlighted in the Focus On programme. The latter series puts a spotlight on a Canadian artist in the documentary field.

Choy is best known for the 1987 feature documentary Who Killed Vincent Chin?. The film investigated a 1982 incident in Michigan in which 27-year-old Chin was murdered in a brutal hate crime. Choy’s film drew attention to systemic racism as Chin’s killer ultimately walked free. Who Killed Vincent Chin? received an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature. Choy’s other films include The Shot Heard ‘Round the World (1997) and In the Name of the Emperor (1998). She is also a teacher and credits notable filmmakers including Steven Soderbergh and Chris Columbus among her students. Choy’s life and career was the subject of the documentary The Exiles, which was co-directed by Columbus’s daughter Violet. The Exiles won the Grand Jury Prize for U.S. Documentary at Sundance last year and screened at Hot Docs where Choy gave a master class.

“Christine Choy is a trailblazer, and her body of work broke new ground in shining a light on diverse and unheralded stories,” said Shane Smith, Hot Docs artistic director, in a statement from the festival. “For decades, she has advocated for freedom and justice while giving a voice to the forgotten and neglected and capturing the unvarnished realities of life, whether in rural China or in the American Midwest. It is our great pleasure to honour her with a much-deserved Outstanding Achievement Award at our upcoming 30th-Anniversary Festival.”

 

Focus on Klinck

The Focus On selection for Klinck, meanwhile, marks a rare case in which the festival looks beyond directors to celebrate other artists in the field. As a visual researcher, Klinck has an extensive hand shaping the archival elements and visual references in Canadian and international films, as well as being the field’s go-to guide for tips on rights clearances. Her credits include last year’s Hot Docs opening night film Into the Weeds, the Werner Herzog films Fireball and Into the Inferno, the Oscar-nominated Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah, and Sarah Polley’s multi-award winning Stories We Tell. Klinck is a four-time winner of the Canadian Screen Awards’ Barbara Sears Award for Best Visual Research and was honoured with the DOC Institute’s DOC Luminary Award in 2014. Her work on the 2006 documentary Middle Sexes: Redefining the He and She was nominated for an Emmy.

“Elizabeth Klinck is nothing short of an icon of Canadian documentary Cinema,” added Smith in a statement. “Her remarkable work as a visual and archival researcher can be seen in an astounding number of our most important docs. Elizabeth’s expertise and passion for her craft make her one of the most sought-after collaborators for producers and directors from Canada and around the world, and we are delighted to celebrate her at this year’s Festival.”

Spotlight on Ukraine

Additionally, Hot Docs announced that Ukraine will be the subject of this year’s Made In series. The annual programme devoted to the cinema of one nation will focus on stories from Ukraine since the invasion by Russia began last year. Hot Docs will announce the titles leading up to this year’s festival.  The program is presented in collaboration with Docudays UA.

“This is the first time Ukraine is the spotlight country, so we are making Hot Docs history!” exclaimed Myrocia Watamaniuk, Hot Docs senior international programmer, in a statement. “Made In programs are meant to show audiences what documentary looks like at one point in a nation’s cinema, but this year, Hot Docs is showing what documentary can actually do–define a country’s history. Bringing together films of this calibre, work made at the risk of artists’ lives, is an honour.”

“We’re incredibly grateful for having Hot Docs as our partner,” added Docudays UA program director Victoria Leshchenko. “These films are telling some of the country’s most urgent stories, but they also demonstrate the talent that is at risk. Connecting these artists with Canadian audiences is so important.”

Hot Docs will announce its full line-up on March 28.

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, and Complex. He is the vice president of the Toronto Film Critics Association.

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