By Paula Bernstein | Indiewire May 5, 2014 at 3:25PM
Hot Docs, North America's largest documentary festival, wrapped its 21st edition over the weekend with record-breaking audience numbers reaching an estimated 192,000. "The Backward Class," directed by Madeleine Grant, was the winner of the Audience Award, which is tallied from audience votes throughout the festival. The crowd-pleasing "Meet the Patels" by Geeta V. Patel and Ravi V. Patel came in second, followed by Ryan White and Ben Cotner's "The Case Against 8."
"The Backward Class" is the
story of the Dalit students of Shanti Bhavan school in India as they prepare to make
history by becoming the first from their "untouchable"
caste to take high-school graduation exams.
"Meet the Patels' follows co-director Ravi V. Patel, a first-generation
Indian-American comic actor, as he decides to find love the old-fashioned way and lets his
traditional Indian parents find him a wife. "The Case Against 8" looks at the movement to strike down California's Prop 8
The winners of the festival awards were announced at an award ceremony on May 2nd.
THE BACKWARD CLASS (D: Madeleine Grant, Canada)
MEET THE PATELS (D: Geeta V. Patel, Ravi V. Patel; USA)
THE CASE AGAINST 8 (D: Ben Cotner, Ryan White; USA)
KEEP ON KEEPIN’ ON (D: Alan Hicks, USA)
VIRUNGA (D: Orlando von Einsiedel, UK)
MARINONI (D: Tony Girardin, Canada)
AN HONEST LIAR (D: Justin Weinstein, Tyler Measom; USA)
THE SECRET TRIAL 5 (D: Amar Wala, Canada)
I AM BIG BIRD: THE CAROLL SPINNEY STORY (D: Chad Walker, Dave LaMattina; USA)
THE LIFE AND MIND OF MARK DEFRIEST (D: Gabriel London, USA)
DAVID & ME (D: Ray Klonsky, Marc Lamy; Canada)
MISSION BLUE (D: Robert Nixon, Fisher Stevens; USA)
BEFORE THE LAST CURTAIN FALLS (D: Thomas Wallner; Germany, Belgium, Canada)
JUST EAT IT: A FOOD WASTE STORY (D: Grant Baldwin, Canada)
OUT OF MIND, OUT OF SIGHT (D: John Kastner, Canada)
WATCHERS OF THE SKY (D: Edet Belzberg, USA)
THE SHEIK (D: Igal Hecht, Canada)
ALFRED AND JAKOBINE (D: Tom Roberts, Jonathan Howells; UK, Canada)
RED LINES (D: Andrea Kalin, Oliver Lukacs; USA)
VESSEL (D: Diana Whitten, USA)
Also during this year's Hot Docs Festival, attending filmmakers with official selections in the Festival were invited to vote for their favorite film. The winner of this year's Filmmaker-To-Filmmaker Award is "Ne Me Quitte Pas" (D: Niels van Koevorden, Sabine Lubbe Bakker; Netherlands, Belgium), a tragicomic portrait of codependence in alcoholism and friendship. Coming in a close second place for the Filmmaker-To-Filmmaker Award is "Beyond Clueless" (D: Charlie Lyne; UK, Canada), a comprehensive visual essay on the modern teen movie genre.Here is the rest of our Hot Docs coverage: