DOXA 2013 award winners: Fire in the Blood, The Great Hip-Hop Hoax, and more

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      The 2013 edition of the DOXA Documentary Film Festival wrapped up on May 12 with a closing gala and awards presentation at the Rio Theatre at a screening of Good Ol' Freda.

      Dylan Mohan Gray’s Fire in the Blood won the Feature Documentary Award. The film takes a look at how a coalition of activists, doctors, and politicians fought against pharmaceutical companies to make AIDS drugs available and affordable in Africa in order to save lives. Jury members said they chose the film for its strength as a piece of cinematic art as well as a call to action.

      Gray responded with the following statement: “I have been deeply moved by the messages and feedback I have received from numerous friends and strangers in Vancouver, even before winning this prize, and it is an absolutely thrill to know that our film has touched such a nerve there...The characters of Fire in the Blood are living proof that it is possible to do the unthinkable, to take on the most powerful governments and corporations on the planet, and—if the cause is just—to change the world.”

      Meanwhile, another pharmaceutical-related documentary, Antoine BourgesEast Hastings Pharmacy about the routine of methadone dispensing, won the Colin Low Award for Canadian Documentary. The jury stated that "this extraordinary work requires us to confront the expectations we have of documentaries and question the demands we make of filmmakers.”

      Poland's Kacper Czubak won the short documentary award for "18 kg", about a boy in a Zambian orphanage who is fighting HIV with the help of nuns. The jury stated that although many films have depicted issues of AIDS in Africa, they chose this film because it "deals with large themes of faith, terminal illness and desperation but always stays centered in the heart.” 

      Youth Jury members awarded the inaugural Nigel Moore Award for Youth Programming to Jeanie Finlay’s film The Great Hip Hop Hoax, about two Scottish rappers who fake their way into the music industry. Director Jeanie Finlay, reached in England, said “I am utterly gobsmacked, thrilled and thankful... DOXA is a very special festival and it was wonderful to share my film with the warm Vancouver audience earlier this week. To unexpectedly win this award is the icing on the cake.”

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      harry grunsky

      May 13, 2013 at 5:20pm

      "fire in the blood" blaming western anti-aids activists for campaigning against cheap drugs for africa must be challanged. Gray provided no proof nor gave examples where people objected. furthermore, to smear all us activists for supporting one theory is dishonest! he did not explore the leadership in africa which ignored the plague or denied it existed while they were lavishly spending on themselves and the arms industry! the best part of the film was the role of india.

      Jp Comeau

      May 14, 2013 at 2:01am

      @harry grunsky

      where in the film is it ever said that western AIDS activists campaigned against cheap drugs for Africa? one contributor, James Love, mentions in passing that a lot of his fellow activists were initially opposed to the idea because they feared drug resistance and many others "didn't really care" because it didn't directly affect them... that is hardly the same as campaigning against it.

      while some in the west were slow to get on board with the idea of treatment in Africa, in my view AIDS activists such as James Love, Zackie Achmat, Edwin Cameron, Eric Goemaere and various people from MSF along with numerous others are the true heroes of 'Fire in the Blood'...