Jason Loftus’ Eternal Spring, an animated doc about Chinese activists taking over a state TV station to control the media’s message, picked up the top audience award at the Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival on Sunday.

The first runner-up was Okay! (The ASD Band Film), a backstage look by director Mark Bone at a band of four talented autistic musicians as they prepare for their first live show. And the second runner-up was director Barri Cohen’s family secrets documentary Unloved: Huronia’s Forgotten Children, as the film reveals abuse inside Ontario’s oldest government-run home for disabled children.

Eternal Spring, where exiled Chinese illustrator Daxiong collaborated with Loftus to recreate the TV station hack, also picked up the audience award for best Canadian documentary.

The top audience award for a mid-length film went to Sexual Healing, director Elsbeth Fraanje’s doc about a middle-aged disabled woman exploring what intimacy means to her.

The top short film audience award went to Dad Can Dance, director Jamie Ross’ story of a son who discovers his father’s long-buried secret passion for ballet.

The 2022 Hot Docs festival ran from April 28 to May 8 with an in-person event in Toronto after a two-year, socially distanced hiatus that saw the Canadian festival go online.

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