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Notes on Displacement, Mother Saigon Top DOXA Winners

Khoa Lê wins Colin Low Award

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Notes on Displacement and Mother Saigon topped the winners for the 2023 DOXA Documentary Festival Awards. Director Khaled Jarrar won the DOXA Feature Documentary Award for Notes on Displacement in the ceremony on Saturday. The film, a Palestine/Germany/Qatar co-production, is a portrait of the global migration crisis that sees displacement through the eyes of a Syrian refugee. “Jarrar’s bravery and compassion create a deeply human look at the Syrian and Palestinian individuals who find themselves forced yet again to migrate in search of safety,” remarked the jury in a statement.

On the Canadian front, Khoa Lê won the Colin Low Award for Best Canadian Director for Mother Saigon. The film is a love letter to Vietnam’s queer community, especially drag queens and transpeople who take a stand for visibility. The jurors praised Lê for “impeccable balance between his powerful and unwavering visual aesthetic, the delicate relationships he built with the community, and the empathy he managed to create on screen.”

Meanwhile, Tiny by Ritchie Hemphill and Ryan Haché won two awards: the Short Documentary Award and the new Elevate Award for diversity in storytelling. Tiny images ‘Nakwaxda’xw elder Colleen Hemphill’s history through animation. Rounding out the winners was Elaine McMillion Sheldon’s King Coal, which won the Nigel Moore Award for Youth Programming. King Coal is a docufiction hybrid about Appalachian mining country and the artistic voices that flourish in the landscape.


The full list of 2023 DOXA Documentary Festival award winners is as follows:

DOXA Feature Documentary Award: Notes on Displacement – Khaled Jarrar
Special mention: The Golden Thread – Nishtha Jain; Anhell69 – Theo Montoya

Colin Low Award for Best Canadian Director: Má Sài Gòn (Mother Saigon) – Khoa Lê
Special mention: 2012/Through the Heart (2012/Dans le coeur) – Rodrigue Jean and Arnaud Valade

Short Documentary Award: Tiny – Ritchie Hemphill and Ryan Haché
Special mention: Zug Island – Nicolas Lachapelle

Nigel Moore Award for Youth Programming: King Coal – Elaine McMillion Sheldon
Special mention: We Will Not Fade Away – Alisa Kovalenko

Elevate Award: Tiny – Ritchie Hemphill and Ryan Haché
Special mention: Notes on Displacement – Khaled Jarrar


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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