Is My Living in Vain | Hot Docs

Hot Docs Audience Award Race Sees Favourites Hold Steady

Someone Lives Here retains healthy lead in Rogers Audience Award for Canadian film

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New films premiere daily at the festival, but none can dethrone the favourites in this year’s Hot Docs Audience Award race. The mid-length film Is My Living in Vain holds the top spot for a third day in a row. Directed by Ufuoma Essi, Is My Living in Vain is a visual essay of community spirit and iconography, shot in 16mm, that links Black churches in West Philadelphia and South East London.

Debuting in fourth is the new entries is Vicky, which had its North American premiere last night in The Changing Face of Europe programme. The film directed by Sasha King offers a touching story of Vicky Phelan, a woman in Ireland fighting for justice amid a health care scandal that robbed many women like herself of the opportunity to receive life-saving treatment for cancer. (Check back later today for a review of Vicky.)

On the Canadian front, Zack Russell’s Someone Lives Here held the top spot in the race for the Rogers Audience Award. The Toronto filmmaker’s portrait of the city’s housing crisis and carpenter Khaleel Seivwright’s effort to provide shelter by building “tiny houses” for the homeless has been a hometown favourite. The film dropped to eight place overall but has a near ten-point lead over runners-up Without Precedent, Upstream, and Allihopa.

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 4 are:

  1. Is My Living in Vain
  2. By Water
  3. Fauna
  4. Vicky
  5. 20 Days in Mariupol
  6. Lac-Mégantic – This Is Not an Accident
  7. Silent House
  8. Someone Lives Here 
  9. When Spring Came to Bucha
  10. Angel Applicant
  11. The American Gladiators Documentary
  12. Seven Winters in Tehran
  13. Non-Aligned: Scenes from the Labudovic Reels
  14. Kanaval: A People’s History of Haiti in Six Chapters
  15. Roberta
  16. The Deepest Breath
  17. Without Precedent: The Supreme Life of Rosalie Abella
  18. Upstream
  19. Allihopa: The Dalkurd Story
  20. Invisible Beauty

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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