John Kastner’s Out of Mind, Out of Sight, triumphs at Hot Docs

The film about patients at the Brockville Mental Health Centre earned the best Canadian feature documentary award during prize-giving on Friday night.
John-Kastner

John Kastner’s film about patients in the Brockville Mental Health Centre, Out of Mind, Out of Sight, has earned the best Canadian feature prize at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival.

The film, which had its world premiere at Hot Docs, also earned a $10,000 cash prize for a documentary applauded by the festival jury for “finding deep empathy and humanity in one of the most physically and emotionally harrowing environments imaginable.”

There was also a special jury prize, and $5,000 in cash, in the Canadian feature section for Before the Last Curtain Falls, Thomas Wallner’s portrait of six aging Belgian transvestite and transsexual performers.

The Hot Docs jury also gave the emerging  Canadian filmmaker award to Grant Baldwin for Just Eat It: a Food Waste Story, about waste generated by our food-obsessed culture.

The prize went to a film by a first- or second-time filmmaker with a documentary in the festival’s Canadian Spectrum section.

The same competition gave honourable mention to director Amar Wala for The Secret Trial 5, about people caught up in Canada’s little-known War on Terror.

The Hot Docs jury gave the best international feature award to Waiting for August, Teodora Ana Mihai’s Belgian film about a teen who is abruptly left to take care of her six siblings.

The Hot Docs festival runs through Sunday.