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Two Norwegian documentaries win at Hot Docs in Toronto


- Aslaug Holm’s Brothers snagged Best International Feature, while Pål S Refsdal’s Dugma – The Button took home the Best Mid-Length Documentary Award at the showcase

Two Norwegian documentaries win at Hot Docs in Toronto
Brothers by Aslaug Holm

The Norwegian Film Institute had sent five documentaries along to the official programme of Toronto’s Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival (21 April-8 May), and two of them came home with prizes: Aslaug Holm’s Brothers [+see also:
film profile
returned with $10,000 for Best International Feature, and Pål S Refsdal’s Dugma – The Button came back with $3,000 for Best Mid-Length Documentary.

“Just the participation with five titles, not to mention the prizes, will strengthen the international position of Norwegian documentaries,” commented the institute’s head of international relations - shorts and documentaries, Toril Simonsen

Holm’s Brothers, which opened Oslo’s Eurodok – European Documentary Festival last year, portrays the director’s own sons – Markus and Lukas, now 14 and 11 years old – whom she filmed for 450 hours over a period of eight years for the Tore Buvarp (Fenris Film) production, “to delve into the children’s real world and discover truth and original life”.

Presented at this year’s Eurodok in March, Refsdal’s Dugma – The Button follows the daily lives of four al-Qaeda martyrdom seekers (or suicide bombers) in Syria, who are waiting for their turn to embark on the ultimate mission. Revealing an unprecedented glimpse into the hearts and minds of the young jihadists, the film was produced by Ingvil Giske for Medieoperatørene.

Scottish director Mike Day was awarded $3,000 as Emerging International Filmmaker; his The Island and the Whales is about the Faroe Islands, where the traditional hunting of seabirds and pilot whales still provides food to put on the population’s tables, but it will be difficult for it to continue. The Intrepid Film production was co-produced by Denmark’s Radiator Film (Henrik Underbjerg and Stefan Frost).

Toronto’s Hot Docs screened approximately 200 recent documentary productions from Canada and the rest of the world to 190 international broadcasters and distributors, who also participated in the Hot Docs Forum, and international co-production and co-financing conventions.

Here is the complete list of winners:

Best Canadian Feature Documentary Award
KONELĪNE: Our Land Beautiful – Nettie Wild

Special Jury Prize – Canadian Feature Documentary
The Prison in Twelve Landscapes – Brett Story 

Emerging Canadian Filmmaker Award
Sébastien Rist and Aude Leroux-Lévesque – Living With Giants
Honourable Mention: Ali Kazimi – Random Acts of Legacy 

Best International Feature Documentary Award
Brothers [+see also:
film profile
– Aslaug Holm 

Special Jury Prize – International Feature Documentary
God Knows Where I Am – Todd and Jedd Wider

Emerging International Filmmaker Award
Mike Day – The Islands and the Whales

Best Mid-Length Documentary Award
Dugma: The Button – Pål S Refsdal
Honourable Mention: Aaron Schock – La Laguna

Outstanding Achievement Award
Steve James

Doc Mogul Award
Iikka Vehkalahti 

Don Haig Award
Ed Barreveld 

Don Haig Award Pay It Forward Prize
Shasha Nakhai

Lindalee Tracey Award
Michael Chen

Basque Cannes
Ex Oriente Film
Jihlava Film Fund

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