The Mountains | Made in Copenhagen/Søren Einshøj

The Mountains, I Lost My Mom Lead Hot Docs Award Winners

Festival awards $80,000 in cash and prizes

4 mins read

The Mountains and I Lost My Mom are the big winners at Hot Docs this year. The awards were announced today in a lengthy ceremony hosted by Garvia Bailey at TIFF Bell Lightbox and handed out $80,000 in cash and prizes. The Mountains took home two prizes for Danish director Christian Einshøj: Best International Feature and Best International Emerging Filmmaker. As the winner for Best International Feature, The Mountains is now eligible in the Oscar race for Best Documentary Feature provided it meets all other requirements. The film is a tragicomic exploration of a family’s journey towards healing,

On the Canadian front, Denys Dejardins won the Best Canadian Feature Documentary Award for his portrait of losing his mother amid COVID-19 lockdowns. The award carries a cash prize of $10,000, courtesy of DOC and Telefilm Canada. “In a time of closures he made a handmade work of art that opens empathy,” remarked the jury. “This is a work of difficult love.  This is deeply heartbreaking work.”

Hot Docs introduced two new awards this year: the John Kastner Award and the Bill Nemtin Award for Best Social Impact Documentary. The John Kaster Award went to Jean-Philippe Marquis for his study of the B.C. forestry industry. The award hnours a film that continues four-time Emmy winner Kastner’s legacy for bold storytelling. The Bill Nemtin Award, meanwhile, was awarded to Someone Lives Here producers Matt King and Andrew Ferguson for their portrait of Toronto’s housing crisis and carpenter Khaleel Seivwright’s mission to build shelters for the homeless. Director Zack Russell accepted the award on their behalf.

On the shorts front, Megan Durnford’s Last Respects and Marjan Khosravi’s Mrs. Iran’s Husband won the prizes for Canadian and international short, respectively. Both films are now Oscar eligible in the category for Best Documentary Short. Last Respects is a portrait of a Montreal priest who bids adieu to unclaimed bodies, while Mrs. Iran’s Husband is a study of family dynamics in Iran. Both films received cash prizes of $3,000. Audience award winners will be announced Sunday with a free screening of the Rogers Audience Choice Award winner at Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema at 7:00pm.

The full list of 2023 Hot Docs award winners is as follows:

Best Canadian Feature Documentary Award: I Lost My Mom – Denys Desjardins

DGC Special Jury Prize – Canadian Feature Documentary: Caiti Blues – Justine Harbonnier

Best International Feature Documentary Award: The Mountains – Christian Einshøj

Honourable mention: A Wolfpack Named Ernesto – Everardo González

Special Jury Prize – International Feature Documentary: Name Me Lawand – Edward Lovelace

John Kastner Award: Silvicola –Jean-Philippe Marquis

Bill Nemtin Award for Best Social Impact Documentary: Someone Lives Here – Matt King and Andrew Ferguson

Earl A. Glick Emerging Canadian Filmmaker Award: Veranada – Dominique Chaumont

Emerging International Filmmaker Award: The Mountains – Christian Einshøj

Betty Youson Award for Best Canadian Short Documentary: Last Respects – Megan Durnford

Best International Short Documentary Award: Mrs. Iran’s Husband – Marjan Khosravi

Honourable mention: Dear Ani – Micah Levin

Best Mid-Length Documentary: Being in a Place – A Portrait of Margaret Tait – Luke Fowler

Honourable mention: Scala –  Ananta Thitanat

Lindalee Tracy Award: Gaëlle Graton

Scotiabank Docs for Schools Student Choice Award: Invisible Beauty – Bethann Hardison, Frédéric Tcheng

Don Haig Award: Bonnie Thompson

Focus On: Elizabeth Klinck

Outstanding Achievement Award: Christine Choy

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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