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‘Eternal Spring’ Takes Rogers Audience and Hot Docs Audience Awards

Hot Docs has wrapped its 11-day hybrid edition, handing out three more cash prizes, announcing audience top picks, and tipping the hat to the 225 films from 63 countries that screened during the festival.

The animated documentary “Eternal Spring,” by Jason Loftus, won the Rogers Audience Award for Best Canadian Documentary, which comes with Cdn. $25,000 cash, and also claimed the top spot in the overall audience poll of cinemagoers and online doc-watchers.

“Eternal Spring,” which had its North American premiere at Hot Docs and has racked up other awards this year at European festivals, mixes 3D and new live footage to trace the story of comic-book illustrator Daxiong (“Justice League,” “Star Wars”), a Falun Gong practitioner, who fled China after police began cracking down on members of the outlawed spiritual group.

Mark Bone’s “Okay! (The ASD Band Film),” which follows four autistic musicians as they prepare for their first live gig, is the second Roger Audience winner and received a Cdn. $15,000 cash prizes.

“Unloved: Huronia’s Forgotten Children,” Barri Cohen’s account of abuse inside Ontario government-run home for disabled children, placed third and was awarded Cdn. $10,000.

The audience favorite medium-length documentary was “Sexual Healing” by Elsbeth Fraanje, while auds chose “Dad Can Dance” by Jamie Ross and their top short doc.

“The past 11 days have been an exhilarating and deeply rewarding experience after a three-year pause to our in-person festival,” commented Hot Docs president Chris McDonald. “We are proud of the multitude of rich, important, and timely stories that were shared at Hot Docs 2022, proving that documentary cinema matters more than ever. We are thankful to our volunteers, filmmakers, industry stakeholders, and partners who helped make this year such a success, and we look forward to celebrating 30 years of Hot Docs at next year’s festival.”

Here is the Hot Docs Audience Top 20:
1. “Eternal Spring” (Dir: Jason Loftus, Prod: Jason Loftus, Masha Loftus, Yvan Pinard, Kevin Koo, Canada)
2. “Okay! (The ASD Band Film)” (Dir: Mark Bone, Prod: Gregory Rosati, Amalie Bruun, Canada)
3. “Unloved: Huronia’s Forgotten Children” (Dir: Barri Cohen, Prod: Craig Baines, Canada)
4. “Beautiful Scars” (Dir: Shane Belcourt, Prod: Corey Russell, Canada)
5. “The Smell of Money” (Dir: Shawn Bannon, Prod: Shawn Bannon, Jamie Berger, U.S.)
6. “Navalny” (Dir: Daniel Roher, Prod: Odessa Rae, Diane Becker, Melanie Miller, Shane Boris, U.S.)
7. “Handle with Care: The Legend of the Notic Streetball Crew” (Dir: Jeremy Schaulin-Rioux, Kirk Thomas, Prod: Ryan Sidhoo, Canada)
8. “Hunting in Packs” (Dir: Chloe Sosa-Sims, Prod: Hannah Donegan, Ann Shin, Canada)
9. “The Kids in the Hall: Comedy Punks” (Dir: Reg Harkema, Prod: Nick McKinney, Kim Creelman, Canada, U.S.)
10. “Batata” (Dir: Noura Kevorkian, Prod: Paul Scherzer, Noura Kevorkian, Canada, Lebanon, Qatar)
11. “Returning Home” (Dir: Sean Stiller, Prod: Andrew Lovesey, Gilles Gagnier, Canada)
12. “The Quiet Epidemic” (Dir: Lindsay Keys, Winslow Crane-Murdoch, Prod: Daria Lombroso, Lindsay Keys, Chris Hegedus, U.S.)
13. “Category: Woman” (Dir: Phyllis Ellis, Prod: Phyllis Ellis, Howard Fraiberg, Canada)
14. “In the Eye of the Storm: The Political Odyssey of Yanis Varoufakis” (Dir: Raoul Martinez, Prod: Sol Tryon, Amir Amirani, U.K.)
15. “How Saba Kept Singing” (Dir: Sara Taksler, Prod: Sara Taksler, U.S.)
16. “The Unsolved Murder of Beverly Lynn Smith” (Dir: Nathalie Bibeau, Prod: Tara Jan, Canada)
17. “Dad Can Dance” (Dir: Jamie Ross, Prod: Jamie Ross, Canada)
18. “Who We Will Have Been” (Dir: Erec Brehmer, Angelina Zeidler, Prod: Erec Brehmer, Germany)
19. “Alis” (Dir: Nicolas van Hemelryck, Clare Weiskopf, Prod: Alexandra Galvis, Radu Stancu, Nicolas van Hemelryck, Clare Weiskopf, Colombia, Romania, Chile)
20. “Relative” (Dir: Tracey Arcabasso Smith, Prod: Tracey Arcabasso Smith, Laura Poitras, Jenya James Hamidi, U.S.)

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Monica has a BA in Journalism and English from the University of Massachusetts and an MS in Journalism and Communications from Quinnipiac University. Monica has worked as a journalist for over 20 years covering all things entertainment. She has covered everything from San Diego Comic-Con, The SAG Awards, Academy Awards, and more. Monica has been published in Variety, Swagger Magazine, Emmy Magazine, CNN, AP, Hidden Remote, and more. For the past 10 years, she has added PR and marketing to her list of talents as the president of Prime Entertainment Publicity, LLC. Monica is ready for anything and is proudly obsessed with pop culture.

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