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September 23, 2019

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia  — Maiden, a film about the all-female crew that shocked the establishment in 1989 by entering the Whitbread Round the World Race, sailed away with the two top honours at Lunenburg Doc Fest this year. As winner of the juried Best Feature Documentary Award and the Audience Award, Maiden was the consensus favourite of insiders and audiences alike, earning a cash prize of $2000 with the accolades.

Co-directors Nance Ackerman, Ariella Pahlke and Teresa MacInnes received the Atlantic Filmmaker Award for their film Conviction, an honest, eye-opening examination of the lives of incarcerated women in Canada.

The film was made with the collaboration of a group of women within the prison system, whether as prisoners or correctional officers, and its emotional Lunenburg Doc Fest screening earned a standing ovation.

“It is such an honour to receive this award at this really unique festival,” said Ackerman. “To be given this award, usually granted to a single filmmaker, is particularly special as this film had so many women coming together as filmmakers, collaborators and partners. It was a creative collaboration that presented many challenges but even more rewards. We are touched by the recognition!”

Tungrus—the charming tale of one family, one cramped Mumbai apartment, and one hell-raising pet rooster—received LDF’s Short Film Award. Directed by Indian filmmaker Rishi Chanda, the film screened as part of the festival’s annual Short Films From Around the World program.

“I hope [this film] will open up informed conversations around our relationship with the food we eat. More power to chickens!” said Chanda.

Festival passes sold out faster than ever this year, and rush tickets before highly anticipated screenings had lines extending down the street. Lunenburg Doc Fest provided the very first place in Atlantic Canada to see some of the world’s most talked-about documentaries, including the historic TIFF-opener Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band.

“Being in Lunenburg feels like a warm hug,” director Daniel Roher told the audience on Opening Night. “I’m glad you’ll be the second audience to ever see the film.”

Faces of Lyme: Ambivalence & Controversy, created by twelve first time Lunenburgers 55+, proved another audience pleaser. The film, supported by the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program, gives voice to those who struggle obtaining a diagnosis and treatment for Lyme disease on Nova Scotia’s South Shore.

With an expanded slate of industry events offered during the LDF Dock Market, Lunenburg played host to filmmakers and industry decision-makers from near and far, including Canadian and U.S. festival programmers and representatives from Bell Media, CBC Docs, CMF, RBC, Hot Docs, Mongrel Media, New York Times Op Docs and more.

The festival took place in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia from September 19–22 with most screenings in the historic Lunenburg Opera House.

Lunenburg Doc Fest will return for its seventh edition on September 24–27, 2020.

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Lunenburg Doc Fest showcases documentary films that entertain, educate, and inspire, creating a cultural experience and place of connection between filmmakers and film enthusiasts in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. The festival is presented with generous support from Canadian Heritage, The Government of Canada, Telefilm and Nova Scotia Communities, Culture and Heritage.

For more information contact Pamela Segger at:


Phone:         902-523-3456

Mail:             Box 1497, Lunenburg, NS  B0J 2C0  Canada



Twitter:       @LunenburgDocFes