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7th Lunenburg Doc Fest Announces Record Audience and Award Winners



Lunenburg Doc Fest expanded to a seven-day program online, September 24-30, and saw a 50% increase in pass holders. The festival presented feature and short documentaries from around the world, plus virtual filmmaker Q&As, and a growing industry market.

Softie, the story of Boniface Mwangi’s fight for political change in a Kenyan election, won a hard-fought victory for the $1000 Best Feature Documentary Award. After an award win at Sundance Film Festival and opening Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival, Softie struck the Lunenburg Doc Fest jury as a, “beautifully crafted and edited documentary that highlights the extraordinary dreams of a young Kenyan activist.” The film is a powerful and poignant depiction of resilience in the face of injustice.

Softie director Sam Soko states, “It’s an amazing feeling, witnessing different audiences react to your labour of love. We are honoured by this award. Thank you for having our film. We are inspired to continue telling our stories and will keep encouraging others, like us, to keep sharing their narratives.”

Bloodless: The Path To Democracy, directed by Bared Maronian, won the $1000 Audience Award. "The professionalism and warmth I experienced at the Lunenburg Doc Fest was beyond gratifying. I would like to dedicate this 2020 Audience Choice Award to the peaceful people of Artsakh struggling for self-determination,” said Maronian. Bloodless captures the 2018 ‘Velvet Revolution’ in Armenia and a nation in protest against the corrupt oligarchy that had ruled Armenia since its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

The award for Best Atlantic Filmmaker went to Nova Scotian animator Carter Thurber for his short film What If I Choke?, a darkly comedic short about the fear of choking at home alone during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In The Shadow of the Pines, an animated short doc about a difficult father-daughter relationship by director Anne Koizumi, screened as part of the In Search of Ourselves: CBC Short Docs program and won Best Short Film. Honourable mentions go to A Radiant Sphere (Director: Sara Wylie) and Healing the Nation (Directors: Jack Major, Ernest W. Matton — Elder Little Brown Bear, Athehsa Niohkwá:rita:a).

Executive director Pamela Segger states, “The Doc Fest team is overwhelmed by the remarkable support from our community, patrons and industry partners. We were thrilled that our lineup of inspiring and thought-provoking documentaries engaged the festival’s largest audience to date.”

With an expanded slate of industry events offered during The Dock Market, Doc Fest played online host to international filmmakers and industry experts including decision-makers from Bell Media, Blue Ice Docs, CBC, Corus Entertainment, the Documentary Organization of Canada, Hot Docs International Documentary Festival, the National Film Board, RBC, Sunny Side of the Doc, Telefilm Canada, The Film Collaborative, and more.

Lunenburg Doc Fest will return for its eighth edition in September 2021.



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