The Guantanamo Trap Wins Hot Docs Special Jury Prize


For immediate release

Toronto, May 6, 2011 – Hot Docs is pleased to announce the winners of the Festival’s 2011 awards. Award winners were announced at a reception on Friday, May 6, at the Windsor Arms Hotel. Nine awards and over $72,000 in cash prizes were presented to Canadian and international filmmakers, including awards for Festival films in competition and those recognizing emerging and established filmmakers. The Hot Docs Awards Presentation was hosted by Jian Ghomeshi, host of Q on CBC Radio One. The Best Canadian Feature and Best International Feature winners will have encore screenings on Sunday, May 8.

The award for Best Canadian Feature was presented to FAMILY PORTRAIT IN BLACK AND WHITE (D: Julia Ivanova; P: Boris Ivanov, Mike Jackson), which visits a ramshackle house in Ukraine where supermom Olga Nenya is raising 16 abandoned mixed-race children. Sponsored by the Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation and Documentary Organization of Canada, the award includes a $15,000 prize courtesy of the Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation. Jury statement: “The award for Best Canadian Feature goes to an intimate, poetic film that bravely confronts nuance and complexity in its characters and its world.” FAMILY PORTRAIT IN BLACK AND WHITE will screen again on Sunday, May 8, at 11:00 a.m. at the Isabel Bader Theatre.

The Special Jury Prize – Canadian Feature was presented to two films, AT NIGHT, THEY DANCE (D: Isabelle Lavigne, Stéphane Thibault; P: Lucie Lambert), which sweeps us into the chaotic world of a family of voluptuous female belly dancers in working class Cairo as they struggle to practice an art in danger of disappearing, and THE GUANTANAMO TRAP(D: Thomas Selim Wallner; P: Thomas Kufus, Amit Breuer, Marcel Hoehn, Christoph Jorg), which follows four lives forever changed by the infamous U.S. detention camp. Sponsored by the Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation, the award includes a $10,000 prize courtesy of the Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation. Jury statement: “The special jury prize is shared between two films, a powerful film that mobilizes compelling characters who face uncomfortable truths, piecing together the anatomy of a broken system – THE GUANTANAMO TRAP by Thomas Selwin Wallmer, and a beautifully filmed, haunting and evocative documentary that invites us into a world we would never be able to enter otherwise – AT NIGHT, THEY DANCE by Isabelle Lavigne and Stephane Thibault.”

The Canadian Features Jury also acknowledged the film WIEBO’S WAR (D: David York, P: David York, Nick Hector, Bryn Hughes, Bonnie Thompson; EP: David York, David Christensen) with an honourable mention.

The award for Best International Feature was presented to DRAGONSLAYER (D: Tristan Patterson; P: John Baker, EP: Christine Vachon), about Californian skate-punk Skreech who stretches out his adolescence by riding empty pools, getting wasted and road-tripping. Sponsored by A&E, the award includes a $10,000 prize courtesy of Hot Docs. Jury statement: “We were captivated by a non-hero, in a capitalistic, nihilistic society in decline. We were drawn to the funky connection between the structure and content, the freshness of filmmaking and original non-linear storytelling. For these reasons we stand by DRAGONSLAYER.” DRAGONSLAYER will screen again on Sunday, May 8, at 11:00 a.m. at the ROM Theatre.

The Special Jury Prize – International Feature was presented to THE CASTLE (D: Massimo D’Anolfi, Martina Parenti; P: Massimo D’Anolfi, Martina Parenti; EP: Massimo D’Anolfi, Martina Parenti), in which rigorous observational filmmaking exposes the ennui and heightened tensions of today’s border security via Milan’s Malpensa Airport. Sponsored by the Ontario Media Development Corporation, the award includes a $5,000 prize courtesy of Hot Docs. Jury statement: “For portraying a liminal space in both humor and pain; for the uncompromising camera which sees it all; for noticing the hardship of a system trapped by its own obsession of security, turning a regular terminal into an intrusive checkpoint into Europe; for not neglecting those who resist; for us who look but don’t see.”

The International Features Jury also acknowledged the films GRANDE HOTEL (D: Lotte Stoops; P: Ellen De Waele, Co-Producer Denis Vaslin, Volya Films; EP: Ellen De Waele) and HELL AND BACK AGAIN (D: Danfung Dennis; P: Mike Lerner, Martin Herring; EP: Dan Cogan, Karol Martesko Fenster, Gernot Schaffler, Thomas Brunner, Maxyne Franklin) with *honourable mentions**.

The award for Best Mid-Length Documentary was presented to OUR NEWSPAPER (D: Eline Flipse; P: Eline Flipse; EP: Eline Flipse), in which a disgruntled journalist quits The Leninist and starts Our Newspaper in a remote Russian village. Sponsored by Canada Council for the Arts, the award includes a $3,000 prize courtesy of Hot Docs. Jury statement: “This is a portrait of a place and a people receding into history. Alternately poignant and wary in tone, it is the compelling story of a man attempting to find meaning and purpose within a fatalistic environment.”

The Short and Mid-Length Films Jury also acknowledged the film PEOPLE I COULD HAVE BEEN AND MAYBE AM (D: Boris Gerrets; P: Pieter van Huystee) with an honourable mention.

The award for Best Short Documentary was presented to FLYING ANNE (D: Catherine van Campen; P: Joost Seelen), a three-dimensional portrait of a girl with Tourette’s looking for love, acceptance and understanding. The award includes a $3,000 prize courtesy of Hot Docs. Jury statement: “This is a film that impressed the jury because of its ability to bring viewers into the world of its young subject with great sensitivity and skill. Through bold camera work we’re drawn into a visceral and moment to moment experience of her emotions and struggles. It achieves a genuine sense of transcendence through its balance of vérité elements and lyrical imagery.”

The Short and Mid-Length Films Jury also acknowledged the film SOMETHING TO TELL YOU (D: Pete Gleeson; P: Pete Gleeson; EP: Yvette Coyne) with an honourable mention.

The HBO Documentary Films Emerging Artist Award was presented to director Michal Marczak for the film AT THE EDGE OF RUSSIA (P: Marianna Rowinska), in which a young recruit arrives at his Arctic post, hundreds of miles from the nearest human settlement, and is charged with an absurd task: patrolling the nothingness. The HBO Documentary Films Emerging Artist Award is sponsored by HBO Documentary Films. Jury statement: “Incredible storytelling of an initiation ceremony turning a young recruit into a real soldier. At the end of Russia, the end of the world perhaps, this film stunningly portrays five men as they protect their country in the icy snow against an invisible enemy. We unanimously salute this powerful debut in cinema.”

The Hot Docs Board of Directors acknowledged the Terence Macartney-Filgate as the recipient of the 2011 Hot Docs Outstanding Achievement Award, which was presented to the influential Canadian filmmaker at an event earlier in the day.

documentary’s Don Haig Award*, presented annually to a Canadian documentary filmmaker, was awarded to Toronto-based writer and director **Rama Rau. Awarded by the Don Haig Foundation, the prize includes a $20,000 cash prize generously sponsored by documentary.

The Lindalee Tracey Award, which honours an emerging Canadian filmmaker with a passionate point of view, a strong sense of social justice and a sense of humour, was presented to Quebec-based documentary filmmaker Alexandre Hamel. As part of the award, Hamel will receive a $6,000 cash prize and $3,000 in film stock donated by Kodak Canada.

The 2011 awards were determined by three juries, each consisting of three jury members.

The Canadian Features Jury was made up of Nathalie Barton (President of InformAction Films), Caroline Libresco (Senior Programmer for Sundance Film Festival), and Alan Zweig (Filmmaker); the International Features Jury was made up of Luciano Barisone (Director of Visions du Réel), Marianne Khoury (Filmmaker), and Philippa Kowarsky (Managing Director of Cinephil); and the Short and Mid-Length Films Jury was made up of Jason Anderson (Film Critic, Journalist, Teacher), Sarah Goodman (Filmmaker), and Malcolm Pullinger (Filmmaker).

The Sundance Channel People’s Choice Award and audience top ten favourite films of the 2011 Festival, determined by audience ballot, will be announced on Monday, May 9. Also announced on this day is the Filmmaker Award, determined by ballots cast by Hot Docs 2011 filmmakers.

Hot Docs is North America’s largest documentary festival, conference and market. From April 28 to May 8, 2011, Hot Docs will present an outstanding selection of over 190 documentaries from Canada and around the world to Toronto audiences and international delegates. Hot Docs will also mount a full roster of conference sessions, market events and services for documentary practitioners, including the renowned Hot Docs Forum, May 4 and 5, and The Doc Shop.

The Hot Docs documentary Box Office, newly located at 131 Bloor Street West, is open for advance ticket and pass sales. Tickets can be purchased in person, online at, or by phone at 416-637-5150. Single tickets to screenings are $14 each. Late night screenings (after 11 p.m.) are $5 each or $10 for an All-You-Can-Eat Late Night Pass (one ticket to each screening). A Festival Pass (10 tickets) is $98, a Bloor Cinema All Access Pass is $120, a Premium Pass (one ticket to every screening, excluding those running concurrently) is $190, and a Premium Pass for Two is $300. Free tickets for all screenings before 6 p.m. are available for seniors (60+) and students with valid photo I.D. at the venue box offices on the day of the screening (subject to availability).

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Media Contact:
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Phone: 416-466-9799

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