I had planned on last week's column being my lone 2010 love letter to Hot Docs, but then something pretty phenomenal happened: Hot Docs announced its awards for this year's festival. At first, I was just jazzed because for the first time, my fest favorite grabbed the top prize. (I've grown quite accustomed to none of my favorites making the winners circle, you see.) When I actually read through the names, however, a better revelation emerged: Female filmmakers nabbed the top three prizes -- Best International Feature, Special Jury Prize for International Feature, and Best Canadian Feature. In fact, almost half of the winning filmmakers were women -- a feat impressive not only considering the filmmaking world at large, but also the fact that only about 30% of the films were directed by women. There were four female-led wins, five male-led wins, and one that had both a male and female winner.
Unfortunately, as I write this, the male numbers have upped a bunch with the announcement of the Audience Award and Filmmaker's Award (an audience award picked by attending filmmakers). Nevertheless, this a big achievement I cannot ignore, and in the aftermath of the femme-free Cannes announcements, a nice bit of news for women in cinema.