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Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund Guidelines

The mission and outcomes of the Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund will be reviewed annually and these guidelines are subject to change. Please consult the website for updates.

Financial Support

The Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund (HDBI) offers grants in two separate categories Development and Production.

Development Category

The Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund will provide successful applicants with a development grant of between $3,000 and $8,000 CDN which could reflect up to 100% of the development budget. Grant money must be spent in the region on development activities and pre-production. Eligible costs include research, development of a script and story proposal and production of a teaser or trailer. Other eligible costs may include production of pitch and marketing materials, community engagement strategy research as well as distribution strategy research.

Production Category

The Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund will provide successful applicants with a production grant of between $5,000 and $40,000 CDN to maximum of 50% of the production budget. Eligible costs include those that are standard in the industry during production and post-production.

At the discretion of the selection committee, projects applying to the production fund category may be awarded a completion grant in lieu of a production grant. Completion grants may be awarded to projects at the end of their production or post-production process. Completion grants are cash grants only, and do not include the accompanying mentorship programs or travel support to Hot Docs or Durban International Film Festival.

Eligibility

In order for an applicant to be eligible for support, the applicant must:

  • Be the primary rights holder of the project;
  • Be the director or producer attached with the film project.

In all cases both the director and producer must:

  • Hold citizenship, primary residence and work primarily in Africa. A complete list of funded countries can be found in our FAQ section;
  • Have at least one previous professional credit to their name.

In order for a project to be eligible for support, the project must:

  • Be produced and shot in Africa;
  • Be either a feature or broadcast length documentary (shorts, series and fiction pieces are not eligible);
  • Be of high quality and suitable for theatrical release and/or television broadcast to audiences both locally and internationally.

If there is a registered production company associated with the project, that company must be registered in a country off the list of funded countries in our FAQ section.

Please note:

  • A producer/filmmaker can apply with one project, per fund, per deadline;
  • If its application is unsuccessful, a project cannot be resubmitted to the same fund at a later deadline unless invited to do so by our selection committee;
  • A project can be submitted to the Development Fund and, at a later deadline, submitted to the Production Fund, whether or not its Development Fund application was successful;
  • Applicants who have misrepresented their primary residency on the application and/or in written or verbal correspondence with Hot Docs will not be considered for the grant selection and may have their grants revoked.

The selection committee may invite a particular project to be resubmitted for a later deadline. This decision is made solely by the selection committee. These candidates will be notified directly.

Additional Professional Development Support

Grantees in both categories will also have a number of non-financial means of support from Hot Docs and in conjunction with Hot Docs’ partners. These resources are intended to support film production, to enhance professional development for grantees and to increase access to the international documentary marketplace and community.

Support may include and is not limited to the following activities:

HDBI Peer mentorship program

  • Grantees will have access to peer to peer mentorship with international or regional partners.

Support and resources from Hot Docs Industry Programs team

  • Via regular Skype meetings;
  • Travel, accommodation and accreditation for the eligible director to attend Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and the Hot Docs-Blue Ice Film Filmmakers Lab;
  • Travel, accommodation and accreditation for the eligible director to attend the Durban International Film Festival.

For grantees that have completed their film these additional support elements are possible:

  • Opportunity for an invitation to screen in a special program at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and/ or at the Hot Docs Bloor Cinema;
  • Inclusion in Hot Docs Doc Shop under a specific Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group channel.

Application Process and Evaluation

After reading the Guidelines and FAQ, complete the application form. The form and supporting materials listed in the Required Documents section should only be submitted via email and will not be accepted by regular post. Trailers/footage may be submitted as an online link or as a DVD via post.

Applicants will be informed of the Selection Committee’s decision, approximately three months after the submission deadline. The length of the evaluation period will be determined by the volume of submissions received.

Applications will be reviewed by Hot Docs staff for completeness and eligibility. Applications deemed complete and eligible will be submitted to the Hot Docs Blue Ice Group Advisory made up of documentary industry professionals and selections will be made thereafter in conjunction with representatives from Hot Docs and Blue Ice Group.

The number of successful applicants will be determined by the quantity and quality of projects submitted, the amount of funding available, and the decisions of the Selection Committee.

Decision Criteria

Applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Strength, style and originality of the subject matter and the treatment;
  • Experience, vision and ability of the creative team;
  • Feasibility of the project with respect to its budget, financing, schedule and scope.

Fund Recognition

Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund support is to be acknowledged with a prominent logo on the end credits of the film as well as on all publicity and promotional materials relating to the production. More specific credit requirements will be described in the Agreement.

Agreement, Drawdowns, Delivery and Reporting Requirements

Successful applicants will receive a conditional commitment letter from the Fund. The applicant must provide, for Hot Docs’ approval, proof of full financing for the relevant stage of the project. The conditions will have to be met before a Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund agreement will be entered into. If the conditions have not been met within 90 days of the date of the commitment letter, the Fund may rescind its commitment.

Development Fund

The drawdown schedule will be more clearly described in the Agreement, but following is a general description that should help successful applicants to plan their cash flow. The first payment, of 70 per cent, will be issued upon execution of the Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund agreement.

The second and final payment, of 30 per cent, will be issued upon submission and acceptance of:

  • The final draft of the documentary treatment;
  • A development status report;
  • A final development cost report;
  • If available, a demo reel.

Recipients of development financing will be required to provide Hot Docs with annual project status reports.

Production Fund

The drawdown schedule will be more clearly described in the Agreement, but following is a general description that should help successful applicants to plan their cash flow. The first payment, of 80 per cent, will be issued upon execution of the Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund agreement.

The second and final payment, of 20 per cent, will be issued upon submission and acceptance of deliverables listed in the Agreement, including the following:

  • Upon completion of the production budget;
  • Upon completion of principle photography.

Submission Requirements

Please review the Guidelines and ensure that you and your project are eligible.

The application form and supporting materials must be completed and submitted to the Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund by 5:00 pm EST on the date of the application deadline. The submission form and required supporting documents will be accepted by email only.

Trailers/Footage

Whenever possible, trailers and sample footage should be sent via an online link such as Vimeo or YouTube. Where this is not possible DVDs can be forwarded to:

Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund
Attn: Stephanie McArthur
110 Spadina Avenue, Suite 333
Toronto, ON
M5V 2K4
Re: [insert project name]

Materials postmarked with the deadline date but received after the deadline will not be accepted.

Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund Required Documents

Please refer to the Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund application guidelines above and complete the application form before submitting any documents.

The following materials must all be included with the application form, and submitted on or before the deadline date, to be deemed a complete application.

Ownership of Content

  • Please provide option agreements, or project chain of title agreements.

Government issued incorporation documents of Production Company (if applicable)

  • History of Corporate Ownership;
  • Company Chain of Title.

Signed copy of Co-Production Agreement

  • Applicable only if the project is a co-production.

All materials must be received by 5:00 pm EST on or before the deadline date. Materials postmarked with the deadline date but received after the dates will not be accepted. All materials received by Hot Docs are confidential. Documentation must be submitted in English or with accompanying English translation.

Questions? Please review the Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund FAQ.

Production Funds Dates

The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema

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