DOXA Documentary Film Festival Announces 2023 Award Winners


DOXA 2023 winners

The DOXA Documentary Film Festival is pleased to announce the winners of the 2023 DOXA Award with another full-day screening.

Elaine McMillion’s Sheldon King Coal is this year’s winner of the Nigel Moore Award for Youth Programming. According to jurors Olivia Moore, Maya Biderman, Teagan Dobson and Anna Hetherington, King Coal offers “a nuanced and compassionate look at a community at the intersection of history and progress.” They hailed its hopeful and imaginative approach, declaring it “a spectacularly beautiful, deeply moving film that reshapes what we think of as a documentary”.

The jury members give a special mention and recognition to We Will Not Fade Away: “The existence of this film captured on the threshold of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the work of filmmaker Alisa Kovalenko is both brave and defiant. It shows the spirit and determination of youth, and includes the sincerity of feeling limited by circumstances and age. It’s a film that connects with Nigel’s strong sense of justice and social awareness.”

The jurors Eva Anandi Brownstein, Kinga Binkowska and Rylan Friday are delighted to present it

this year’s short documentary award goes to the film Apró by Ritchie Hemphill and Ryan Haché. The judges were moved by the storytelling, the well-done animation and the obvious care that the filmmakers put into creating this story. Elder Coleen Hemphill’s memories are beautifully brought to life by sound design and animation in this compelling and compassionate film.

The jury gave Nicolas Lachapelle’s Island of Zug special recognition for its impressive cinematography, sound design and humanistic lens. This short film is “brilliantly executed”, artfully depicting human folly and resilience in a dystopian landscape.

Presented by the Directors Guild of Canada, the Colin Low Award for Best Canadian Director went to Khoa Lê (Má Sài Gòn (Mother Saigon)). Judges Elad Tzadok, Lindsay McIntyre, and Nisha Platzer recognize Lê’s “impeccable balance between her powerful and unwavering visual aesthetic, her delicate connections with the community, and her on-screen empathy.”

Among the 2023 DOXA awardees, the jury gave a special mention to Rodrigue Jean and Arnaud Valade in the film 2012/Through the Heart (2012/Dans le coeur), who unflinchingly brought to light an ugly and undervalued part.

Jurors Dina Al-Kassim, Kent Donguines and Nadia Shihab were delighted to select Khaled Jarrar’s Notes on Displacement as the winner of this year’s DOXA Documentary Award. “Jarrar’s courage and compassion provide a deeply human look at individuals forced to migrate in search of safety.”

The 2023 DOXA Award Jury would like to give a special mention to Nishtha Jain’s The Golden Thread for its “meditative observation of jute mills and dignified portrait of low-wage workers who have worked in factories for decades”. Theo Montoya’s Anhell69 also received a special mention for “its hypnotic hybrid approach to storytelling and the power it portrays for queer communities”.

Finally, judges Jaewoo Kang, Shasha McArthur and Soloman Chiniquay proudly present the Elevate Award presented by Elevate Inclusion Strategies to Ritchie Hemphill and Ryan Haché for Tiny. Jurors applaud the film’s innovative stop motion animation and filmmaker Colleen Hemphill Sr.’s caring celebration of the land and waters of Alert Bay. The jury is excited to amplify the diverse stories and storytellers that brought this film to life.

The jury gives special recognition to Khaled Jarrar’s Notes on Displacement, which is “a timely and sensitive exploration of the lives of migrant families” [that] it reminds us of the human beings at the center of the news.”

The jury’s statements can be read in full HERE.

Committed to nurturing curiosity and critical thinking, DOXA 2023 presents the best of contemporary documentary film over 11 days. The DOXA Documentary Film Festival runs from 4th to 14th May 2023 and offers an exceptional selection of films, filmmaker Q+A’s and industry events. Selected films will be available for online streaming after the festival date, between May 15 and 24, unless otherwise specified. Online movies are geo-blocked in Canada and virtual tickets will be limited. Selected screenings include live and pre-recorded film Q+A and extended discussions. Festival tickets and passes are available from Wednesday, April 5; visit for details. For more information, call the DOXA office at 604.646.3200.

DOXA is presented by The Documentary Media Society, a not-for-profit charity based in Vancouver. DOXA is presented in the unpermitted territory of xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh).

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