Fauna | Hot Docs

Fauna Tops Leaderboard in Hot Docs Audience Award Rankings

Festival releases first wave of audience favourites

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Fauna leads the Hot Docs Audience Award rankings in the first update from the festival. The Spanish documentary by Pau Faus had its North American premiere at the festival this weekend. Fauna observes parallel systems for animal care and testing that reflect a world in transition.

On the film’s heels is Mystlav Chernov’s gripping 20 Days in Mariupol, which draws upon the director’s work as a video journalist at the front lines of the war in Ukraine to tell a fuller story of the invasion not seen amid the quick snippets of daily news. The film won the Audience Award for World Cinema Documentary at Sundance earlier this year. In third is Philippe Falardeau’s devastating documentary series Lac-Mégantic – This Is Not an Accident. The four-part work unpacks the elements that made the rail disaster and inevitable catastrophe and one that is sure to be repeated. (Check back soon for our interview with Falardeau and writer Nancy Guérin.)

As a series, though, Lac-Mégantic is not eligible for the Rogers Audience Award, which goes to the top Canadian feature documentary as voted by the audience. The winner of the Rogers Audience Award gets $50,000. Someone Lives Here, directed by Zack Russell, leads the Canadian rankings and sits in fourth overall for its portrait of one man working to provide shelter for the homeless amid Toronto’s housing crisis.

This year, Hot Docs changed its voting to electronic ballots. Festival attendees may scan a QR code at a screening and rate the film from 1 to 5. Voting closes thirty minutes after the screening ends.


The Hot Docs Audience Award rankings for May 1 are:

  1. Fauna
  2. 20 Days in Mariupol
  3. Lac-Mégantic – This Is Not an Accident
  4. Someone Lives Here
  5. Angel Applicant
  6. It’s Only Life After All
  7. The Deepest Breath
  8. Non-Aligned: Scenes from the Labudovic Reels
  9. Upstream
  10. Allihopa: The Dalkurd Story
  11. Aitamaako’tamisskapi Natosi: Before the Sun
  12. Because We Have Each Other
  13. Silvicola
  14. The Stroll
  15. Soviet Barbara, the Story of Ragnar Kjartansson in Moscow
  16. Who’s Afraid of Nathan Law?
  17. Long Distance Swimmer – Sara Mardini
  18. How We Get Free
  19. You Were My First Boyfriend
  20. The Eternal Memory


Get more coverage from this year’s festival here.

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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