Less than two weeks ago, DOXA’s 17th annual documentary-film festival opened with screenings of some of the world’s most highly charged, reflective, and groundbreaking documentaries. Out of the dozens that were screened, four stood out and were awarded the festival’s coveted awards.
Filmmaker Mercedes Dominioni won the feature-documentary award for her film The Creator of Universes. The film follows Juan, a teenager with Asperger syndrome, who has an insatiable passion for creating amateur telenovelas with his grandmother, Rosa.
Jury members noted that the film possessed "extraordinary formal creativity" and chose it, in part, for its balance between Juan’s home movies and his real-life experiences.
“We celebrate Mercedes Dominioni’s patient and caring The Creator of Universes,” the jury said in a news release, “a layered, captivating film built around a unique collaboration between the filmmaker’s teenage brother Juan, and their grandmother Rosa....Dominioni’s love for these characters is simply transmitted.”
Laura Bari’s Primas received the Colin Low Award for Canadian Documentary. The film, which was also reviewed by the Straight, encapsulated the pain and recovery of two cousins who suffered extensive sexual abuse in their youth.
The jury felt that the film was significant given its subject matter and the violent realities of many young women today. They added that the film triumphantly captured the subject’s stories and their resulting strength with “artistic sensibility”.
Jurors for the Nigel Moore Award for Youth Programming gave Bing Liu the prestigious award for his film Minding the Gap, declaring it as a must-see for both parents and their children.
“Bing has an acute ability to extract raw emotions from his friends," the jurors said. "He portrays the cruel cycles of domestic violence, and shows the ongoing dynamic effects these have on all the relationships surrounding them. This allows him to paint a picture of harsh realities that would otherwise be masked by society’s policing of machismo ideals.”
Paloma Martinez’s Cristanto Street won the award for short documentary, with Jury members choosing the film for its depiction of the "collateral social damage" of land cartels and racism in contemporary San Francisco. They noted that they were impressed with Martinez’s "surprising tenderness and hope" in portraying these issues.
Honourable mentions in each of the aforementioned categories were given to Shevaun Mizrahi’s Distant Constellations for feature documentary, Simon Plouffe’s Those Who Come Will Hear for Canadian documentary, Jules Koostachin and Rick Miller’s Butterfly Monument in the youth-programming category, and Michelle Latimer's Nuuca for short documentary.