DOC Institute Awards



Breakthrough Award

The DOC Institute is pleased to announce the winners of the second annual DOC Institute Breakthrough Development Award, sponsored by the Rogers Group of Funds and the CBC.

The 2020 Breakthrough Development Award was presented to filmmakers Shazia Javed and Aïcha Diop. Selected by a jury of industry experts, Javed and Diop each received a $20,000 cash prize from the Rogers Group of Funds, a development deal from the CBC, and mentorship and professional development support from the DOC Institute.

Shazia Javed won for her film “Sister Don’t Go That Far’ about a woman who pushes the boundaries of defined gender roles and challenges the status quo that is maintained in the name of God. Aïcha Diop’s “Gawlo” is a story about complete strangers finding connections by tracing family ancestry.

The DOC Institute Breakthrough Lab is made possible by the generous support of our founding partner Ontario Creates. Participants have gone on to successfully launch their careers and have been associated with prestigious accolades, winning Canadian Screen Awards, landing on the Academy Award shortlist, and receiving the Rogers Best Canadian Feature from the TFCA, the richest film prize in Canada. These exceptional filmmakers include Hugh Gibson (The Stairs), Shasha Nakhai (Take Light), and Sherien Barsoum (Babe, I Hate to Go).


DOC Institute Honours Awards

The DOC Institute Honours recognizes and celebrates the community of professionals working in the Canadian documentary field. The annual Honours are community-driven, with nominations that are submitted nationally by current DOC members, and a jury of industry professionals selecting the recipients.

Robin Mirsky presented the Rogers-DOC Luminary Award to Canadian documentary/industry veteran and Indigenous cinema icon, Alanis Obomsawin. One of the most acclaimed Indigenous directors in the world, Alanis Obomsawin directed her first documentary for the NFB, “Christmas at Moose Factory” in 1971. Since then, she has created more than 50 films with the NFB-including landmark documentaries like “Incident at Restigouche” (1984) and “Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance” (1993). The Abenaki director was named a Companion of the Order of Canada – its highest distinction – in 2019.

The BMO-Vanguard Award is reserved for mid-career creatives and previous winners include Millefiore Clarkes, Amar Wala, Victoria Lean, and Alethea Arnaquq-Baril. We will have an update on the Vanguard Award recipient in the new year.

We are looking forward to another strong pool of nominations from across the country in future years!




The Rogers-DOC Luminary Award recognizes a person working in documentaries or is associated with the documentary industry. This person not only excels in their position but also is actively involved in supporting Canada’s robust documentary community. The Rogers-DOC Luminary Award is given to an individual who embodies the creative spirit of the Canadian documentary tradition and displays generosity by supporting the next generation of doc-makers through mentorship, working behind the scenes to ensure that the genre remains strong for generations to come.

Rogers-DOC Luminary Award is generously supported by the Rogers Group of Funds



The BMO-DOC Vanguard Award is given to an emerging or mid-career professional filmmaker, who demonstrates a keen artistic sensibility and forward-thinking approach to the craft, with the potential to lead the next generation of doc-makers.

BMO-DOC Vanguard Award is generously supported by the Bank of Montreal.