'Film Unfinished' wins at Hot Docs fest

'The Oath' director Laura Poitras receives special prize

TORONTO – Israeli director Yael Hersonski's "A Film Unfinished" on Friday night grabbed the best international feature award at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in Toronto.

Hersonki's Holocaust documentary, which exposes Nazi manipulation of cinematic images of Jewish life in the Warsaw Ghetto, earlier won the best world cinema editing award at Sundance.

"Yael Hersonski's film is a profound exploration of the testimonial value of the cinematic image, based on found footage of a Nazi propaganda film shot in a Warsaw Ghetto," the Hot Docs jury said as it honored the Israeli film.

The festival also gave Israeli director Tomer Haymann the trophy for best mid-length documentary for his film about a love story between himself and German dancer Andreas Merk.

And Hot Docs' international feature film jury gave a special prize to U.S. filmmaker Laura Poitras for "The Oath," a portrait of former Osama bin Laden bodyguard Abu Jandal.

Poitras' documentary is the second in a trilogy of post-September 11, 2001 films, following "My Country, My Country."

Elsewhere, the best Canadian feature award in Toronto went to veteran filmmaker Shelley Saywell for "In the Name of the Family," a film that probes the killing of young Muslim girls in North America in the name of family honor.

The Canadian film jury included a special prize for Oscar-winning director John Zaritsky's "Leave Them Laughing," a portrait of a young comic determined to make the most of her battle with Lou Gehrig's disease.

The best short doc award went to Swedish animator Jonas Odell's "Tussilago," while the best emerging artist trophy went to U.S. director Jeff Malmberg for "Marwencol."

Also Friday, the Toronto Documentary Forum best Canadian doc pitch prize went to indie producer EyeSteelFilm for Yung Chang's "The Fruit Hunters," an upcoming feature documentary about the global exotic fruit market.

The Hot Docs festival will wrap on Sunday.
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