By Peter Knegt | Indiewire May 11, 2009 at 6:19AM
Hot Docs wrapped up its most successful festival to date this weekend in Toronto, with audience numbers reaching an estimated 122,000. This marks a rather astounding 42% increase over 2008's fest. Hot Docs, which ran April 30 to May 10, featured 266 public screenings of 171 films. A record number of screenings - 107 - went rush and the box office saw a 25% increase in public pass sales.
"Our guest filmmakers consistently rave about what great audiences we have in Toronto, and we are thrilled that record numbers turned out to see their great films," said Chris McDonald, executive director of the festival.
After the final screening yesterday, votes were tallied for the Hot Docs Audience Award. Louie Psihoyos' "The Cove" - a powerful and gripping intervention to end the dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan - was named the winner (just as it was at Sundance). Here's the full top ten audience choices that Hot Docs released this afternoon:
1. The Cove (D: Louie Psihoyos; USA)
2. 65_RedRoses (D: Philip Lyall, Nimisha Mukerji; Canada)
3. Inside Hana's Suitcase (D: Larry Weinstein; Canada, Czech Republic)
4. Best Worst Movie (D: Michael Paul Stephenson; USA)
5. A Hard Name (D: Alan Zweig; Canada)
6. Over The Hills and Far Away (D: Michel Orion Scott; USA)
7. Winnebago Man (D: Ben Steinbauer; USA)
8. Burma VJ (D: Anders Hogsbro Ostergaard; Denmark)
9. Rough Aunties (D: Kim Longinotto; UK)
10. Prom Night In Mississippi (D: Paul Saltzman; Canada)
For a list of Hot Docs' juried award winners, and links to indieWIRE's coverage of Hot Docs, click here.