Montreal’s Mila Aung-Thwin wins Hot Docs’ Don Haig Award

The Canadian producer and co-founder of EyeSteelFilm is featured at the festival with Midwives.

M idwives Canadian producer Mila Aung-Thwin has won this year’s Don Haig Award from the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival.

A jury of independent filmmakers selects the winner of the award, which comes with a $5,000 cash prize from the Don Haig Foundation and goes to an outstanding Canadian independent producer with a feature-length film at the festival.

The honour also recognizes the recipient’s creative vision and entrepreneurship, as reflected in their body of work, as well as their track record of mentoring emerging Canadian filmmakers. The award will be presented at the Hot Docs Awards presentation on May 7 at TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto.

Midwives (pictured; EyeSteelFilm, AMA Film, Snow Films) is making its Canadian premiere at Hot Docs, which runs through May 8 in Toronto. It’s produced by Aung-Thwin as well as Bob Moore, Ulla Lehmann, and Snow Hnin Ei Hlaing, who also directs. Aung-Thwin also co-edited.

The film follows two midwives, one Buddhist and one Muslim, over a period of five years as they work in a makeshift clinic in western Myanmar, providing medical services to the Rohingya of Rakhine State.

Aung-Thwin is co-founder of the Montreal doc prodco EyeSteelFilm and has produced more than 30 feature documentaries, including two-time Emmy Award winner Last Train Home, and Independent Spirit Award-nominated Up the Yangtze. He’s worked with broadcasters including National Geographic, BBC and PBS, and served for five years as president of RIDM – Montreal International Documentary Festival.

In a statement, Aung-Thwin said he’s been wanting to make a film in Myanmar throughout his 20-year career and “couldn’t be prouder of the result.”