AMPD professor and alumni win big at 2021 Hot Docs Festival

Still Max, a documentary by Professor Katherine Knight in York University's Department of Visual Art & Art History, School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD), was the recipient of a Rogers Audience Award at the 2021 Hot Docs Festival, which ran from April 29 to May 9.

Still Max film still

A still from Professor Katherine Knight's award-winning documentary Still Max

Knight's sixth film, Still Max follows Canadian artist Max Dean and his exploration of his cancer diagnosis through his artistic practice. Dean is an engaging subject and a prime example of the creative mind and the relationship of art to both the self and our understandings of the world (and bodies) we inhabit.

"The film prioritizes the individual artist's perspective, experience and expertise," says Knight. "In the film we learn about Max's art and his journey through cancer, primarily through his first-person dialogue and immersive visuals that follow his creative process."

Still Max was featured in the Canadian Spectrum category of this year’s festival, along with Cinema & Media Arts Professor John Greyson’s short International Dawn Chorus Day.

Also recognized at the festival were York film MFA alumni Lisa Jackson and Cailleah Scott-Grimes.

Jackson received the Canadian Forum Pitch Prize for her next project, Wilfred Buck, as well as the peer-nominated DOC Vanguard Award, which honours a mid-career filmmaker for advancing the documentary craft and elevating the next generation. While accepting the award, Jackson shared insight into her experience as an Indigenous filmmaker, while also taking time to acknowledge her family and community, and reflect on the impacts of colonialism on Indigenous, Black and racially diverse creatives.

“I wanted to take this moment right now to honour that my resilience, my skills, everything that I am has come from my family, has come from my community,” said Jackson in her speech. “I hope to keep honouring our people and this community with the work that I’m doing.”

Between Us film still

A still from York alumna Cailleah Scott-Grimes' short film Between Us

Scott-Grimes received the Lindalee Tracey Award for her film Between Us, which is inspired by the close relationships she developed within the LGBTQ+ community while living in rural Japan. The award honours an emerging Canadian filmmaker with a passionate point of view and a strong sense of social justice.

"The Lindalee Tracey Award is a generous reminder to persevere, to have faith, and to approach filmmaking with love, empathy and humour," said Scott-Grimes. The runner-up for the award was her fellow York alum Meelad Moaphi.

Between Us is currently screening online as part of the Inside Out LGBT Film Festival's Local Heroes program, alongside Professor Greyson's film International Dawn Chorus Day. The festival runs from May 27 to June 6.

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