Eternal Spring is the most popular Canadian film of Hot Docs according to festival audiences. Hot Docs announced tonight via Instagram that the documentary leads the winners for the Rogers Audience Award. Eternal Spring, directed by Jason Loftus, polled highest among Canadian features as per votes cast by the audience. The film receives a cash prize of $25,000, courtesy of Rogers.
Eternal Spring deftly blends animation, interviews, and cinema vérité while telling the story of a 2002 incident in which members of Falun Gong hijacked a Chinese TV station. The film works in collaboration with artist Daxiong to recreate the incident while using his voice as a comic book artist to confront China’s attack on free speech. POV wrote that Eternal Spring “demonstrates the potential to use the power of imagination to film the unfilmable.”
Okay! (The ASD Band Film), directed by Mark Bone, is the runner-up for the Rogers Audience Award. Unloved: Huronia’s Forgotten Children, directed by Barri Cohen, is the second runner-up. The films receive cash prizes of $15,000 and $10,000, respectively. Okay! is a rollicking account of the Toronto-based group The ASD Band. All members in the band fall on the autism spectrum. The film explores how music guides their social abilities and unites them in a common language. Unloved, meanwhile, uses the story of Cohen’s half-brothers as the springboard for a study of the tragedies brought by the Huronia Regional Centre and its history of injustice against people with disabilities.
Hot Docs will announce the winner of the overall audience award on March 9. As of the last update on March 6, Sirens, about the Lebanese band Slave to Sirens, was the overall leader. The festival stopped releasing updates as of Friday. Hot Docs announced its juried winners yesterday, including Geographies of Solitude and Rojek.