Walrus and the Whistleblower, The: Nathalie Bibleau’s about Whistleblower, Winner of Hot Doc Fest

Nathalie Bibeau’s The Walrus and the Whistleblower, about a former trainer at Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ontario-turned-whistleblower, on Sunday picked up the top Audience Award at the Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival, which was forced online this year by the coronavirus pandemic.


The first runner-up was Elizabeth St. Philip’s 9/11 Kids, which follows 16 students now in their 20s and who were in the room with President George W. Bush when he was told about the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The second runner-up is David France’s Welcome to Chechnya documentary for HBO about activists confronting Russian leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s anti-gay purges.

This year’s festival from May 28 to June 6 streamed over 140 films, including 69 virtual Q&As with the directors. The 2020 audience winners were unveiled during a virtual presentation ceremony on Sunday night.

Also in the audience poll, the top mid-length documentary was Keyboard Fantasies: The Beverly Glenn-Copeland Story, by director Posy Dixon, and the top short documentary was director Aicha Diop’s Nancy’s Workshop.