Burlington filmmaker Sarah Gonyea wins TVO Short Doc Contest 2018

TVO is pleased to announce that Burlington, Ontario filmmaker and Sheridan College student Sarah Gonyea is the winner of the seventh annual TVO Short Doc Contest, for her short film A Voice For Change: The Laura Hillier Story. Sarah’s film also won the People’s Choice Award, chosen by audiences in an online vote.

Under the theme DIY docs, TVO Short Doc Contest  2018 invited people from all walks of life to tell their own stories, and to document the work of individuals who are creating an impact in the world.

In A Voice For Change: The Laura Hillier Story, Sarah makes her directorial debut to share the experiences of her good friend Laura, who suffered from acute myeloid leukemia. The film highlights Laura’s passionate advocacy for life-saving stem cell treatment, and outlines how complications in the Ontario healthcare system delayed her treatment.

“This is a documentary very close to my heart, as Laura and I started this together before she passed,” says Sarah Gonyea. “She was a close friend and when her situation started to spiral, we both knew that this had to be documented. Unfortunately, she became too ill to continue working on the film. With help from my peers at school, we were able to complete it this year.”

Matthew Aitia, a recent Centennial College graduate, won the second place prize for his film Silverworks; and Ryerson University student Jesse Caplan won third place prize for Sister in Silence. Ottawa’s Samantha Pope won the first-ever Short Short category of films 90 seconds or less for One Hand Wonder, profiling an athlete who knows no bounds.

“We were inspired by the entries we received for TVO Short Doc Contest 2018”, says Hannah Sung, TVO Manager, Digital Video. “All of the winning short docs demonstrated ways that individuals can create impact through their actions.  We congratulate the winners and are honoured to share their stories.”

These winners were selected from a group of 10 finalists by a jury that included award-winning filmmakers Alanis Obomsawin (Our People Will Be Healed), Shasha Nakhai (Take Light), Lewis Gordon (2017 TVO Short Doc Contest winner), and Linda Fong, independent production officer at TVO. As the winner, Sarah Gonyea will see her film air on TVO and will also receive $2000, a one-year membership to the Documentary Organization of Canada, a one-year membership to Hot Docs Cinema, and a pitch session with TVO’s Executive Producer of Documentaries, Jane Jankovic.

To view all of the the TVO Short Doc Contest 2018 winners and learn more about this annual contest, visit tvo.org/shortdoc.