‘Eternal Spring’ wins Hot Docs’ top audience prize


TORONTO — An animated documentary that explores the story of an exiled Chinese activist was named the audience favourite of the Hot Docs Film Festival.

Director Jason Loftus won the Rogers Audience Award on Sunday for best Canadian documentary, which recognizes the most beloved local film as determined by an audience poll.

Loftus received a $25,000 cash prize for the story of illustrator Daxiong, who fled China amid police raids on members of the spiritual group he belonged to.

Mark Bone’s “Okay! (The ASD Band Film),” which offers a backstage look at a group of four autistic musicians as they prepare for their first live show, placed second and received a $15,000 prize.

Finally, Barri Cohen’s “Unloved: Huronia’s Forgotten Children,” which examines the history of abuse that happened inside Ontario’s oldest government-run home for disabled children, placed third and was awarded a $10,000 prize.

Meanwhile, “Sexual Healing,” director Elsbeth Fraanje’s portrait of a middle-aged disabled woman exploring intimacy, picked up the Audience Award for best mid-length documentary, and Jamie Ross’s “Dad Can Dance,” which tells the story of a young son who discovers his father’s secret love of ballet, won the Audience Award for best short documentary.

Sadaf Ahsan, The Canadian Press



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