Is My Living in Vain | Hot Docs

Is My Living in Vain Holds at #1 in Hot Docs Audience Award Rankings

Someone Lives Here takes the lead for Rogers Audience Award

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Is My Living in Vain keeps its lead in the Hot Docs Audience Award race. The mid-length film by Ufuoma Essi, which explores the role of the church in Black communities on both sides of the ocean, held the top spot in today’s rankings update after debuting at number one yesterday. The top five remain generally static so far with previous leader Fauna holding in third and remaining the top feature. With most films having their number of screenings reduced from three to two this year, the rankings are seeing less movement than they had in previous years, especially when the virtual festival gave cinephiles more flexibility in their screening windows and therefore saw frequent shuffles in the rankings.

The race for the Rogers Audience Award, however, has some movement among the Canadian features. Without Precedent: The Supreme Life of Rosalie Abella drops to second place after its encore screening, but takes a nosedive in the overall rankings by falling from sixth to fifteenth place. Moving up, though is Zack Russell’s hometown favourite Someone Lives Here, about Toronto carpenter Khaleel Seivwright and his mission to shelter the homeless. The film jumps to the top spot in the hunt for the $50,000 Rogers Prize. It sits at sixth overall.

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 3 are:


  1. Is My Living in Vain
  2. By Water
  3. Fauna
  4. 20 Days in Mariupol
  5. Lac-Mégantic – This Is Not an Accident
  6. Someone Lives Here
  7. Angel Applicant
  8. The American Gladiators Documentary
  9. Seven Winters in Tehran
  10. It’s Only Life After All
  11. Non-Aligned: Scenes from the Labudovic Reels
  12. Kanaval: A People’s History of Haiti in Six Chapters
  13. Roberta
  14. The Deepest Breath
  15. Without Precedent: The Supreme Life of Rosalie Abella
  16. Upstream
  17. Aitamaako’tamisskapi Natosi: Before the Sun
  18. Allihopa: The Dalkurd Story
  19. Because We Have Each Other
  20. Silvicola

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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