Janice Dawe and Noura Kevorkian are the recipients of this year’s DOC Institute Honours. Dawe and Kevorkian will be presented with the Rogers-DOC Luminary Award and the DOC Vanguard Award, respectively. The Rogers-DOC Luminary Award goes to an individual who has notably contributed to and advanced the Canadian documentary community. The Vanguard Award recognizes a mid-career filmmaker whose work heralds a voice to watch. The decisions were made by a jury of former winners and were unanimous according to a release from the DOC Institute. This year’s ceremony marks the 10th anniversary of the DOC Institute Honours. The awards will be presented on December 5 at The Great Hall in Toronto.
A veteran of the Documentary Organization of Canada, Dawe served as co-chair of the Canadian Independent Film Caucus in 1993, the year the organization founded Hot Docs. Dawe is a founding partner and president of the Toronto-based consulting firm Bizable Media and has long provided insights about financing and business affairs to the documentary community. Prior to that, Dawe oversaw business development and production at White Pine Pictures as vice president and executive producer. Dawe has brought her business savvy to documentaries by serving as executive producer on titles such as Swan Song (2023), nîpamistawâsowin: We Will Stand Up (2019), Sugar Coated (2016), A Better Man (2017), and Meat the Future (2020).
“I am moved and honoured to be recognized by my colleagues with this meaningful award,” Dawe said in a statement. “Supporting doc filmmakers in their incredibly hard work has been an immensely gratifying part of my career.”
Kevourkian, meanwhile, is a filmmaker whose work reflects her Lebanese, Syrian, and Armenian roots. Her acclaimed 2022 documentary Batata is an intimate epic that spans 10 years in the life of a Syrian woman caught in limbo in a refugee camp in Lebanon. The film was a top 10 audience favourite at Hot Docs last year. Batata won a Peabody Award and was nominated for three Canadian Screen Awards including Best Documentary Feature. Kevourkian’s 2009 feature Anjar: Flowers, Goats, and Heroes shares the stories of survivors of the 1915 Armenian genocide, while her 2015 feature 23 Kilometers offers an impressionistic trek through Lebanon’s Bekka Valley alongside an aging Armenian man with Parkinson’s disease. Her 2002 short doc Veils Uncovered explores the contrast between women’s lingerie and veils in the Syrian market and considers the concealment of women’s sexuality. The doc won the Golden Sheaf at the Yorkton Film Festival.
“This year marks DOC’s 40th anniversary and my 22nd year in documentary filmmaking,” noted Kevourkian in a statement. “The challenging journey of a documentarian…underscores that documentary filmmaking demands resilience, skill, and humanity to tell stories that matter. I am grateful for this recognition and aspire to support fellow filmmakers’ journeys. I’m proud to belong to the DOC community and very grateful for this acknowledgement and vote of confidence.”
Previous recipients of the Rogers-DOC Luminary Award include Anita Lee, Sylvia D. Hamilton, Anne Pick, Zoe Dirse, Alanis Obomsawin, Chris McDonald, Daniel Cross, Elizabeth Klinck, and POV editor Marc Glassman. Past winners of the Vanguard Award include Nisha Pahuja, Tamara Mariam Dawit, Chelsea McMullan, Millefiore Clarkes, Lisa Jackson, Amar Wala, Victoria Lean, Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, and Brett Story. Lee, Hamilton, and Dawit served as jurors for this year’s awards.