Film about Marineland whistleblower takes the audience award at Hot Docs

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TORONTO – A film about a “trainer-turned-whistleblower” at Ontario’s Marineland Water Park won first public prize at Hot Docs, which was held online this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Canadian festival says “The Walrus and the Whistleblower” won the Hot Docs Audience Award for feature film, which is awarded based on the votes of the public.

The documentary directed by Nathalie Bibeau also shares the Rogers Audience Award with four other filmmakers, each earning $10,000.

Among the winners is Elizabeth St. Philip’s “9/11 Kids,” about the lives of 16 schoolchildren who were in the room with then-President George W. Bush when he received news of the September 11 attack.

The other winners were “The Forbidden Reel,” directed by Ariel Nasr, about Afghanistan’s rich national cinema, and Suzanne Crocker’s “First We Eat,” about a mother who challenges her family to eat local food at their remote home 300 kilometres from the Arctic Circle.

The final winner was “There’s No Place Like This, Anyplace,” by director Lulu Wei, about the Mirvish Village community in Toronto affected by the closure of Honest Ed’s.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on June 7, 2020.

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