Hot Docs to fete helmer Leacock

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TORONTO -- Cinema verite pioneer Richard Leacock will receive the 2008 outstanding achievement award at the upcoming Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, organizers said Tuesday.

Hot Docs, North America's largest documentary festival, also will stage a retrospective for Leacock, the British-born filmmaker who headed up a film production house during the 1960s with fellow documentarian D.A. Pennebaker.

During the 1970s and '80s, Leacock was head of the film department at MIT in Massachusetts.

"As a pioneering filmmaker, Richard Leacock has made an essential contribution to the documentary form. And as an inspiring teacher that contribution has been extended to new generations of filmmakers, including those to whom we look forward to introducing this remarkable man at Hot Docs 2008," Hot Docs' director of programming Sean Farnel said in a statement.

Leacock will receive his tribute April 25 in Toronto.

Also this year, Hot Docs will showcase the work of Canadian documentary-maker Jennifer Baichwal ("Manufactured Landscapes") as part of its Focus On retrospective for a mid-career filmmaker.

And the festival will present its 2008 Doc Mogul Award to the BBC's Nick Fraser for his contribution to the documentary form.

Michaelle McLean, director of the Toronto Documentary Forum at Hot Docs, said that Fraser, who has been commissioning editor for BBC's award-winning Storyville series since 1997, "is a passionate advocate for engagement with the world, one of the best reasons people make and watch documentaries."

The 2008 Hot Docs festival is set to run April 17-27 in Toronto.
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