Yintah | Photo by Amber Bracken

Yintah Wins Rogers Audience Award at Hot Docs

Award carries a $50,000 prize from Rogers

4 mins read

Yintah is the winner of the Rogers Audience Award as the Canadian film at Hot Docs this year as voted by the festival audience. The win was announced tonight ahead of a free screening at Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema. Directors Michael Toledano, Jennifer Wickham, and Brenda Michell received a cash prize of $50,000, courtesy of Rogers.

The documentary chronicles a decade-long fight by members of the Witsuwit’en First Nation to defend their land from a pipeline expansion. The film proved an early favourite with a thunderous response at festival screenings and strong word of mouth. Yintah also earned an honourable mention in the inaugural Land | Sea | Sky competition for environmental cinema. It screens next at Vancouver’s DOXA festival.

The announcement preceded the final reveal for the overall audience award at Hot Docs, which will be shared on Monday. As of press time, the film in second place in the public rankings was American Cats: The Good, the Bad, and the Cuddly.

Yintah’s announcement as the Rogers winner capped off a festival that largely saw Hot Docs rebound after a shaky start. Daytime screenings were virtually sold-out across the board and with strong attendance in the evenings at the Big Ideas screenings. The festival also noted 1,400 delegates from 69 countries participating on the Industry side.

“As I reflect on the whirlwind of the past 11 days, I am filled with gratitude for the profound connections, exhilarating stories, captivating filmmaking, and spirited discussions that took place throughout our 2024 Festival,” said Hot Docs President Marie Nelson in a statement. “Hot Docs stands tall as an essential nexus for documentary visionaries and the broader industry. It was an absolute joy to host our friends, new and old, in Toronto and to show them our warmth and support as they carve their path in our industry and shape their future creative endeavours. My heartfelt appreciation goes to our devoted Hot Docs team, our tireless and enthusiastic volunteers, and our invaluable sponsors and partners, who made this remarkable journey possible.”

“We are deeply thankful to the filmmakers from Canada and around the world, who trusted us in sharing their powerful stories, in packed cinemas, with our dedicated Hot Docs audiences,” added Heather Haynes, Hot Docs’ Festival Programming Director. “We would not be here without the incredible staff at Hot Docs who, each year, deliver this Festival with full hearts, love and courage. This year’s Festival embodied this very spirit, as our community came together to explore vital and urgent conversations. The outpour of support and encouragement from our community gave us strength and optimism as we look towards the future.”

In addition to the audience numbers, Hot Docs saw respectable turnout from filmmakers and film participants who engaged in audience Q&As with the eager crowd. Notable names among the attendees included Never Look Away director Lucy Lawless (stay tuned for our interview with her when the film opens this fall); three-time Academy Award winning film editor Thelma Schoonmaker, who was on hand to discuss the work of her late filmmaker husband Michael Powell and her collaborations with Martin Scorsese at Made in England; musician Peaches for Teaches of Peaches; Full Frontal with Samantha Bee’s resident cat lady Amy Hoggart, who serves as host of American Cats, and the committed activists from Yintah who inspired the crowds.

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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