New DOC Institute Awards for Established and Emerging Canadian Talent

Right now is a great time to be in documentary film. New technologies and new uses of existing ones are giving rise to tremendous potential for doc filmmakers today, and ideas are sprouting up as fast as people can plunk a camera (or cellphone, or webcam) in front of them. The possibilities, as they say, are endless.

The funds, unfortunately, are not, so the announcement of a new pair of annual awards celebrating Canadian documentary filmmakers, producers, directors and other key members of the Canadian documentary community is very welcome news indeed.

The DOC Star Award and the New Vision Award were created by the DOC Institute in Toronto, an offshoot of the Documentary Organization of Canada (DOC), Toronto chapter,  which supports emerging filmmakers through special programs and opportunities.

In a press release sent out on October 15 announcing the new awards, renowned Canadian documentary filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal said,

“Documentary continues to be perhaps the most salient form for Canadians to share their stories with and about the world. The DOC Star Award acknowledges and celebrates an individual’s record of excellence and service in the documentary industry.”

The DOC Star Award is aimed at recognizing documentary filmmakers, producers and other key figures who have contributed greatly through both their work and their support of those in the industry, particularly emerging filmmakers.

The New Vision Award, on the other hand, will go towards an emerging talent who displays the potential to become a next generation leader in the field of documentary film.

“The New Visions Award highlights the industry’s next generation of documentary talent—those early in their career who are following in Canada’s internationally renowned tradition, while continuing to push the genre’s creative boundaries,” said Adam Shamoon, Director of the DOC Institute.

The two annual awards will be a community-led effort, with nominations being put forward by the 600-plus members of the Documentary Organization of Canada (DOC), which includes filmmakers, craftspeople, and production companies from across the country. A jury made up of industry peers will then select the two recipients of the awards, and the winners will be announced in December.

“In the rapidly changing documentary landscape, DOC Institute has filled a gap in supporting our national industry,” said Michael McMahon, co-chair of DOC Toronto, which created the institute. “These awards are reflective of the Institute’s commitment to our fellow Canadian doc-makers.”

What do you think? Personally, I believe Canadian documentary makers are definitely innovators in the field, and I think a little recognition goes a long way.

Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments!