Canadian producer Alison Duke is set to receive the prestigious Don Haig Award, a testament to her distinguished creative vision and significant role in mentoring upcoming filmmakers in Canada. The award, which is both an acknowledgment of her entrepreneurial spirit and contribution to cinema, will be accompanied by a monetary prize from the Don Haig Foundation.

A Mother Apart Producer Alison Duke to Receive Don Haig Award at Hot Docs

Alison Duke has left an indelible mark in the documentary film industry through her work. Her collaboration with Laurie Townshend culminated in the production of “A Mother Apart,” a poignant narrative that follows Staceyann Chin, a Jamaican American poet and LGBTQ+ activist, as she embarks on a profound journey of exploring motherhood.

The Oya Media Group, co-founded by Duke and Ngardy Conteh George in 2018, was established with a mission to portray Black experiences in a genuine light through impactful, community-driven storytelling. Duke’s trajectory in the realm of documentaries began with her first feature, “Raising Kane: A Rapumentary,” which garnered critical acclaim and set the stage for her ongoing contributions to social justice filmmaking.

A host of documentaries bear Duke’s signature, including insightful narratives centered on Canadian women living with HIV and diverse stories spotlighting the lives of influential Black Canadian social advocates. Her direction of the educational series known as the Akua Benjamin Legacy Project stands as testimony to her dedication to elevating Black voices and history.

The multifaceted producer also undertook the CBC POV documentary “Mr. Jane and Finch,” highlighting the activism of Winston LaRose, which led to multiple Canadian Screen Awards—including the esteemed Donald Brittain Award.

Alison Duke’s foray into dramatic filmmaking is highlighted by her directorial work in short films, such as “Promise Me,” which has been lauded with numerous accolades and festival screenings. Beyond documentaries, Duke continues to explore new territories, her talent recognized by Canadian Screen Awards nominations for series such as “Evil by Design: Surviving Nygard” and “Black Community Mixtapes.”

In her recent endeavors, Duke has tackled themes of music industry injustice, further solidifying her reputation as a versatile and impactful storyteller. Her commitment is also evidenced by her work with the National Film Board of Canada and involvement in the production of “Bam Bam: The Story of Sister Nancy,” slated for a world premiere at Tribeca.

Alison Duke’s affiliation with nurturing young talent led to the genesis of the OYA Emerging Filmmakers program. This initiative aims to catalyze the careers of Black youths in the Canadian entertainment industry, a clear reflection of Duke’s investment in the future generation of filmmakers.

The Hot Docs Awards presentation will honor Alison Duke’s contributions to the world of documentary filmmaking and her unwavering commitment to representation and mentorship within the industry.

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  1. It’s quite fascinating to see Alison Duke receiving the Don Haig Award. Her influence through Oya Media Group, particularly in storytelling that brings Black experiences to the forefront, underscores a significant shift in the documentary film landscape.

    1. Alison Duke’s recognition with the Don Haig Award is indeed a testament to her impactful work through Oya Media Group. Her dedication to highlighting Black experiences in documentary filmmaking is truly inspiring and reflects a significant and positive shift in the industry. Her contributions not only enrich storytelling but also pave the way for more diverse and authentic narratives.

  2. Just read about Alison Duke’s award and her work with the Oya Media Group. Does anyone know how filmmakers like me could possibly get involved or learn from her and her team? This kind of mentorship is exactly what I’ve been looking for.

    1. Great question! Alison Duke’s Oya Media Group runs the OYA Emerging Filmmakers program, which supports Black youths in the film industry. This could be a fantastic opportunity for filmmakers like you to gain mentorship and experience. I recommend checking out their official website or social media pages for more information on how to get involved and learn from Alison and her team. Good luck!

  3. Alison Duke’s journey is a testament to the power of documentary filmmaking as a vehicle for social change. Her narrative through ‘A Mother Apart’ offers such a unique lens on motherhood and identity.

    1. Totally agree with you. ‘A Mother Apart’ was a breakthrough. It’s refreshing to see documentaries that are not only informative but deeply personal and moving.

  4. Alison Duke winning this is huge, especially in a space that’s still learning how to authentically tell Black stories. Looking forward to seeing more from her and the team at Oya Media Group.

  5. I’ve followed Duke’s work for a while now. Her ability to connect and tell stories is unmatched. This award couldn’t have gone to a more deserving individual.

  6. While I admire Alison Duke’s work, I think it’s important to discuss how the cinematic community can further support and uplift voices like hers. It’s not just about one award or one filmmaker; it’s about creating an inclusive industry.

    1. Absolutely, it’s about setting a precedent. Awards are great, but the real win is when we see a shift towards more inclusivity across the board in cinema.

  7. Jay, you’ve captured the essence of Alison Duke’s accomplishments eloquently. Her role in shaping the future of documentary filmmaking, especially around Black narratives, is both necessary and commendable. The industry stands to learn much from her approach.