TORONTO - A film about a “trainer turned whistleblower” at Ontario's Marineland aquatic park has won the top audience prize at Hot Docs, which was held online this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Canadian festival says “The Walrus and the Whistleblower” won the Hot Docs Audience Award for a feature film, which is awarded based on audience votes.
The documentary directed by Nathalie Bibeau also shares the Rogers Audience Award with four other filmmakers, each of whom get $10,000.
Among the winners is Elizabeth St. Philip's “9/11 Kids,” about the lives of 16 schoolchildren who were in the room with then-president George W. Bush when he received news of the 9/11 attack.
Other winners were “The Forbidden Reel,” directed by Ariel Nasr, about the rich national cinema in Afghanistan, and Suzanne Crocker's “First We Eat,” about a mother that challenges her family to only eat local food at their remote home 300 kilometers from the Arctic Circle.
The final winner was “There's No Place Like This, Anyplace,” from director Lulu Wei, about the Mirvish Village community of Toronto affected by the closure of Honest Ed's.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 7, 2020.