HIGHLIGHTS: February 2023 Toronto Documentary Festival

Showcase of the best FILMS in the world today.

Audience Award Winners:
Best Short Form Short Film: ONE HAPPY VAN
Best Long Form Short Film: POWERING PUERTO RICO
Best Cinematography: LE SELECT
Best Direction: LAKE EFFECT

Watch the Audience Feedback Video for each film:

LE SELECT, 10min., Canada
Directed by Raval Alviarez
Le Sélect Bistro opened its doors on Queen St. W. in 1977. It became a community center that many residents of the city would flock to night after night in search of an experience unlike any other. Owners Frédéric and Jean-Jacques helped propel the careers of Canada’s most talented culinary workers such as Matty Matheson. Working closely together, the owners and their 80+ employees sought to deliver a soul to the heart of the city of Toronto. By touching the lives of every customer, the bistro became a landmark for the city. Unfortunately, Toronto quickly began its rise of urbanization. And 45 years later, they were forced to sell the restaurant and abandon their most cherished memories..


WATCH HERE – The audience feedback video of the film!

LAKE EFFECT, 35min., USA, Ski Film
Directed by Mike King, John O’callaghan
Lake Effect is a two-year ski film highlighting the joys of backyard adventure, and the shifting perspective of Mike King a professional skier, who for a decade has only sought adventure from the peaks of mountain tops in the far reaches of the west. In 2020 when Covid encouraged lockdowns & travel restrictions, Mike’s life on the road came to a screeching halt. This abrupt change inspired Mike to take the hurdle as an opportunity to reconnect with the unique, untapped terrain, ski culture, and the people that were thriving right here in his home state of Michigan. Over the course of filming Lake Effect Mike realized you don’t need to travel far to have an epic adventure. Rather some creativity, curiosity, and the willingness to just walk out the door to the abundance that starts right in our backyards.


WATCH HERE – The audience feedback video of the film!

ONE HAPPY VAN, 6min,. Canada
Directed by Eden Wassermann
A father and a son embark on an unforgettable road trip in a 1977 Westfalia camper van through southern Ontario, sharing memories and discovering family values that will live on past the van’s life.


WATCH HERE – The audience feedback video of the film!

Directed by Adam Fischer
Puerto Rico, 2017: It all started with a storm and a car battery.
Eugene Smotkin, a Northeastern University professor, was home in San Juan for the summer when two disasters struck: His wife had a stroke and Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico, leaving more than 3 million people without electricity. After days of powering a cell phone and a small fan with a car battery, Eugene and his wife were finally able to make it to Boston for the medical treatment she desperately needed.

WATCH HERE – The audience feedback video of the film!

Directed by Ethan Knecht
Dollar stores, death, and styrofoam.

WATCH HERE – The audience feedback video of the film!

STRIPEY SOCKS, 5min., UK, Animation/Documentary
Directed by Michelle Bailey
‘Stripey Socks’ is the true tale of Michelle Bailey as a young girl dealing with teenage pregnancy, navigating her way through secrecy, blame and catholic school. The film, shot by Diana Stefanescu, is of live illustrators by Cait Buckley which are complemented by the beautiful soundtrack by Sophie Hadlum. The film was made on the same weekend as the Irish abortion referendum which compelled the director to make this film.

WATCH HERE – The audience feedback video of the film!

THE SHOW MUST GO ON, 6min., USA, Documentary
Directed by Fahim Hamid
Is art “essential”? This is a story of how a multi-disciplinary artist of Chinese and Indian descent in New York survived the pandemic and attempts to “return to normal” when the world is now anything but.

WATCH HERE – The audience feedback video of the film!


By documentaryfestival

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