Hot Docs: Mexican Refugee Crisis Film Takes Top Jury Prize

Courtesy of Intactes
'The Other Side of the Wall'

North America's largest documentary festival named Pau Ortiz's 'The Other Side of the Wall' the winner of the best international feature prize.

The Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival on Friday night handed its top jury prize to a film about Mexico's immigration crisis.

Mexican director Pau Ortiz's The Other Side of the Wall, a film about two undocumented Honduran immigrants forced to fend for themselves after their mother is jailed in Mexico on trumped-up charges, nabbed the best international feature doc prize.

Irish filmmaker Chris Kelly's A Cambodian Spring, a documentary about land rights in Cambodia, earned a special jury prize in the international feature doc category. The prize-giving at North America's biggest documentary festival follows 230 films from 58 countries, of which 48 percent were directed by women, unspooling in Toronto over an 11-day run.

A special jury prize in the Canadian feature documentary category went to Carlo Guillermo Proto's Resurrecting Hassan, a film about a family make a living singing a cappella ballads in the Montreal subway system. That came before the best Canadian feature documentary trophy went to Charles Officer's Unarmed Verses, a film about young black women and race issues in a Toronto social housing complex facing relocation.

The trophy for best short doc went to Tamta Gabrichidz's Sovdagari, while the best mid-length documentary prize went to Death in the Terminal, directed by Asaf Sudry and Tali Shemesh. The Israeli film won the same best mid-length doc trophy at IDFA.

Elsewhere, Hot Docs tapped Norwegian filmmaker Egil Håskjold Larsen to receive its 2017 emerging international filmmaker award for his feature directorial debut, 69 Minutes of 86 Days. The film about the Syrian crisis follows a three-year-old refugee from Greece to Sweden.

And Francois Jacob was named winner of the best emerging Canadian filmmaker for A Moon of Nickel and Ice, his film about a closed-off Siberian town.

Hot Docs opened April 27 with a world premiere of Lana Slezik's debut feature documentary, Bee Nation, a film about an indigenous spelling bee. The festival also gave its top audience award to Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World, by directors Catherine Bainbridge and Alfonso Maiorana.    

The film about native American guitarist Link Wray and other indigenous artists was also voted best Canadian documentary by Hot Docs audiences.

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