Être Cheval (Horse-Being) , a French film about a 51-year-old transgender woman who allows herself to be turned into a fetish object, has won the Feature Documentary prize at Vancouver's DOXA Documentary Film Festival.
"Within this nonsexual relationship of submission and dominance and couched between lyrical observations by filmmaker Jérôme Clément-Wilz, Karen offers up revealing insights about the true nature of love as she progressively gives up her human identity over the course of her sessions," wrote Straight reviewer Craig Takeuchi. "An unusual yet illuminating watch."
Honourable mention in this category went to Petra Lataster-Czisch and Peter Lataster's Miss Kiet's Children. It's a Dutch film about a classroom full of Syrian refugees.
"The kids are at once brave, timid, and adorable as they navigate their new surroundings, occasionally speaking to one another in their native Arabic and snapping back to broken strings of Dutch once confronted by their kind teacher," wrote Straight reviewer Lucy Lau. "Amazingly, they seem completely unaware of the camera’s presence."
Julia Ivonova's Limit Is the Sky won the Colin Low Best Canadian Documentary Award (presented in partnership with William F. White). This National Film Board production tells the story of six people, including refugees from the Middle East and Africa, who move to Fort McMurray, Alberta.
Honourable mention for the Colin Low prize went to François Jacob's A Moon of Nickel and Ice. It looks at life in the remote and treeless Russian mining town of Norilsk.
The Short Documentary Award went to Vers la tendresse. Alice Diop's documentary offers the perspectives of four Parisians about relationships. Honourable mention went to UBC grad Cat Mills' Fixed!, which showed how volunteers at a Toronto repair café help folks extend the lives of broken items.
The Nigel Moore Award for Youth Programming went to Olivier Babinet's Swagger, which is about 11 teenagers living in an underprivileged Parisian suburb. David Goldberg's The Caretakers received honourable mention in this category.
Yan Chun Su's Dropka captured the Alliance of Women Film Journalists EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Film. It tells the story of nomads in Tibetan grasslands who must cope with the impact that climate change is having on their way of life.
The Best Female-Directed Film (short) was Life at a Snail's Pace by Alexandra Gaulupeau. The film aims to change the public's view of, you guessed it, snails.