Media Room

Pitch Prizes

“[Hot Docs Forum] pitching has been one of the most fun and profitable blood sports I’ve ever played.”
- Jamie Kastner, Cave 7 Productions

Shaw Media-Hot Docs Forum Pitch Prize

Established in 2008, the Shaw Media-Hot Docs Funds aim to increase the quantity and quality of social, cultural and political one-off documentaries produced in Canada by Canadian-based production companies. In nurturing Canadian talent and giving voice to a diversity of viewpoints, the Funds will ultimately help Canadian documentaries reach new audiences.

The winner of the Shaw Media-Hot Docs Funds Hot Docs Forum Pitch Prize receives a $10,000 cash prize to be used toward the production and completion budget for their project.

In 2013, the Shaw Media-Hot Docs Deal Maker Prize was introduced. The $10,000 cash prize is awarded to the best Canadian pitch at Deal Maker, and the prize money is intended to go toward the production and completion of the winning project.


In order for a project to be eligible for the Shaw Media-Hot Docs Forum Pitch Prize it must:

  • Be pitched at this year’s Hot Docs Forum in the regular pitch program or the rough cut program.
  • Be produced by a Canadian-controlled corporation based in Canada.

In order to claim the prize funds the project must go into physical production within 12 months of being awarded the prize.

Selection Criteria

A jury of international buyers attending the Hot Docs Forum will select a winner from the eligible projects.

The winning project will be announced during the Hot Docs Forum’s closing remarks.Upon awarding of the prize terms and conditions will apply.

Past Winners - Forum

  • 2015: LIVING WITH GIANTS (MC2 Communication Media)
  • 2014: TEMPEST STORM (Shot Glass Productions)
  • 2013: SOME KIND OF LOVE (Screen Siren Pictures Inc.)
  • 2012: SHADOW GIRL (Storyline Entertainment/Maremoto Productions)
  • 2011: DOC POMUS (Clear Lake Historical Productions)
  • 2010: THE FRUIT HUNTERS (EyeSteelFilm)
  • 2009: THE TEAM (White Pine Pictures)

The Cuban Hat Award

Conceived by Diego Briceño (Cuibafilms/Pimiento, Montreal) and Giulia Frati (Zelectra Productions, Montreal) at the 2009 edition of the Forum, the Cuban Hat Award was established in an impromptu display of collegial support as Hot Docs Forum delegates passed the hat to raise close to $1400 in support their favourite pitch at the Forum.

Continuing with their “real cash, no strings attached” support for powerful and unique films, the organizers have since presented the Cuban Hat Award at the 2009 IDFA Forum and will be returning to the Hot Docs Forum in 2012. All the money raised over the two days of the Hot Docs Forum will be given to the Observers’ favourite pitch, as determined by ballot, and the Cuban Hat will be award to the favourite broadcaster.

Visit the Cuban Hat Project’s Facebook page for more information.

Past Winners

  • 2015: SEARCHING FOR MERCURY 13 (Fine Point Films)
  • 2014: THE BLUE ID (MOXIE, ARTvoltage)
  • 2013: FRACTURED LAND (Two Islands Films Ltd.)
  • 2012: SVALKA: YULA’S JOURNEY (Hanna Polak Films/Goats Hill)
  • 2011: (Tie) THE JUNGLE PRESCRIPTION (Nomad Productions), A WHOLE LOTT MORE (Flying V Films)
  • 2010: THE HOUSE THAT HERMAN BUILT (Storyline Entertainment, Canada)
  • 2009: TOWN OF RUNNERS (Met Film Productions, UK)

Deadlines & Reminders

  • April 28 - May 8, 2016
    Hot Docs Festival, Conference and Market
The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema
Hall Webber LLP
Documentary Organization of Canada

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