Powerful portrait of Orlando Bowen wins the TVO Today Short Doc Contest

24-year-old filmmaker Riel Flack takes first place in juried competition plus the People’s Choice Award

Toronto, Ontario, June 20, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The TVO Today Short Doc Contest announced the winning filmmakers in its 2022-2023 competition. The annual initiative celebrates excellence in short documentaries created by Ontario filmmakers. This year’s first place winner is Riel Flack, whose film “They Can’t. So I Must: The Orlando Bowen Story” was also named the People’s Choice Award winner after receiving the most online votes during a three-week period. 

Flack’s film is a powerful portrait of Orlando Bowen, the former CFL player whose professional athletic career was cut short after a beating by Peel Regional Police officers in 2004. Bowen is now the executive director of One Voice, One Team, a charity he founded to support youth leadership. 

A 24-year-old filmmaker, Flack attended the University of Toronto and Sheridan College. As top winner of both the juried competition and the People’s Choice Award, she will receive $3,000 in cash prizing, all-access passes to Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and Reel World Film Festival, plus a pitch session with TVO Today Docs. All finalists for the People’s Choice Awards will appear on TVO’s broadcast channel and the TVO Today Docs YouTube channel.

“The short documentary format is such a versatile medium for storytellers, as the many thousands of visitors to shortdocs.tvo.org have discovered this past year,” says John Ferri, VP of Programming and Content at TVO. “Congratulations to all winners, finalists and entrants who made this year’s contest such a challenge and pleasure for our esteemed jury.”

Full list of winners:

The 2022-2023 TVO Today Short Doc Contest jury included Jane Jankovic, former executive producer of TVO Today Docs, Saloon Media senior producer Elizabeth St. Philip (9/11 Kids) and Min Sook Lee, documentary filmmaker (Tiger Spirit) and associate professor at OCADU.

As a multi-platform hub for award-winning current affairs journalism, podcasts and documentaries, TVO Today is a trusted source of insight and information about life in Ontario and beyond. Its website, mobile apps, broadcast programming and streaming services are all ad-free. Subscribe to the weekly TVO Docs Newsletter to get the latest on documentary programming.

Watch a short video celebrating this year's winners.


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Sean Minogue, TVO

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