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CrossCurrents Doc Funds Recipients

Below are the recipients, to date, of the CrossCurrent Doc Fund.

Fall 2020 Interactive/Short Stream
Reading committee: Robert Lang (president and executive producer, Kensington Communications), Hot Docs and Robinder Uppal (filmmaker, Lost Time Media).

Director: Yihwen Chen
Producer: Alex Lee
Production company: Locke Films Sdn Bhd
Production country: Malaysia
In a predominantly Islamic Malaysia, a Muslim queer punk band Shh…Diam!, led by transman Faris Saad, are rebels with a cause, fighting for acceptance and a space to exist through their music against conservative traditions and religious boundaries.

Fall 2020 Theatrical Stream
Reading committee: Caroline Birks (treasurer/board member, Panicaro Foundation), Deepti Gupta (filmmaker, Omgrown Music), and Hot Docs.

Director/Producer: Sarvnik Kaur
Producer: Koval Bhatia
Production company: Snooker Club Films Pvt Ltd.
Country: India
A tale of love, brotherhood and resentments against the backdrop of an adoring sea, which is turning adverse under the menacing effects of an all-pervading calamity called climate change.

Directors/Producers: Sara Khaki & Mohammad Reza Eyni
Production company: Gandom Films Production
Country: Iran
Logline withheld

Fall 2020 CrossCurrents Canada Doc Fund
Reading committee: Adriana Chartrand (institute manager, imagineNATIVE), Kadon Douglas (board chair, Reelworld Film Festival), Melanie Hadley (program director, Global Access Programs, WarnerMedia), Hot Docs, Jalana Lewis (producer & lawyer), Lulu Wei (director & cinematographer)

Development Funds

Director: Carol Nguyen
Producer: Audrey-Ann Dupuis-Pierre
Production company: 9424-6899 Québec inc.
A girl visits her parents’ motherland, Vietnam, for the first time, trying to find answers to their war-torn past. Through unexpected revelations and a series of identity crises, she is forced to confront questions of belonging, home and cultural legacy.

GAWLO (feature)
Director/Producer: Aïcha Diop
Production company: Studio Tokosel Inc.
A mind-bending journey that supposes a world where modern day science and ancient West-African practices work together to unite African American slave descendants with their African history, saving its traditions from extinction.

IN THE WAKE (feature)
Director: Lyana Patrick
Producers: Jessica Hallenbeck, Tyler Hagan   Production company: Lantern Films, Experimental Forest Films
In the wake of the damming of the Nechako River and a looming court decision, two Chiefs form an unlikely alliance to rebuild their communities.

Director/Producer: Marlene Edoyan
Production company: Fauve Film Inc.
A small group of teenagers realize that their futures are suddenly full of possibility when they start to question the centuries-old patriarchal values that govern gender roles in their small rural village of Gandza in southern Georgia.

WILLIAM’S WILL (feature)
Director: Pascal Huynh
Producer: Adam Pajot Gendron
Production company: Tortuga Anima Films Inc.
A gay man who has dreamt of adopting questions the legitimacy of the practice after meeting with an adoptee whose last wish before dying of brain cancer was to get un-adopted.

Production Funds

AKI (feature)
(formerly Atikameksheng Anishnawbek Non-Verbal)
Director/Producer: Darlene Naponse
Producers: Jamie Manning, Justine Pimlott
Production companies: Baswewe Films, Night Market, National Film Board of Canada
Blending the natural world, an original soundtrack and contemporary movement, this film explores narrative through a non-verbal, visual approach as it documents a year of survival, sovereignty, land-based traditions, family, ceremony, and destruction of Atikameksheng Anishnawbek, an Ojibway community in Northern Ontario.

Director/Producer: Yasmine Mathurin
Producer: Monica Mwangi
Production company: Hope Song Inc.
An animated short about a mother and her daughter moving out of their childhood home in Canada. Through documented sound recordings between them and poetic imagery, we explore their emotional and conflicting realities.


Director: Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers
Producers: Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Lori Lozinski, David Christensen
Production company: Seen Through Woman Productions Inc., National Film Board of Canada
In 2014, the synthetic opiate Fentanyl claimed over 20 lives on the Blood Reserve, leading tribal authorities to declare a state of emergency. Working alongside Dr. Esther Tailfeathers and community members committed to healing, Dr. Tailfeathers’ daughter, filmmaker Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, documents this critical moment for the Blood Tribe.

Winter 2020 Interactive/Short Stream
Selection Committee: Robert Lang (president and executive producer, Kensington Communications), Shasha Nakhai (filmmaker, Compy Films), Elizabeth Radshaw (Industry Programs Director, Hot Docs) and Heidi Tao Yang (Industry Funds Manager, Hot Docs).

Director/Producer: Sisa Bueno
Production company: Abstract Nomadic Media, LLC
Production country: USA
For Venida, For Kalief is an empathetic cinematic essay film that pays homage to New York City, to the tragic story of Kalief Browder, and to the visual poetry of his mother, Venida, to explore criminal justice reform in NYC.

2020 Theatrical Stream
Selection Committee: Caroline Birks (Board Member, Panicaro Foundation), Karen Chapman (filmmaker, Smallaxx Motion Pictures), Elizabeth Radshaw (Industry Programs Director, Hot Docs), Heidi Tao Yang (Industry Funds Manager, Hot Docs), Olena Decock (Industry Programmer for Conference & Funds, Hot Docs), and Zana Shammi (filmmaker).

Director: Hà Lệ Diễm
Producer: Phuong Thao Tran, Swann Dubus
Production company: Varan Vietnam Co. Ltd.
Country: Vietnam
In the misty mountains of North Vietnam, a teenage Hmong girl walks the thin line between childhood and adulthood. Over a period of two years, girls in her minority are forced to lose their innocence, discover the traps of seduction, or fight for their independence.

Director: Hemen Kurda
Producer: Hanna Sköld, Hemen Kurda
Production company: Tangram Film
Country: Sweden
Diab is growing up in a refugee camp in Kurdistan and dreams of becoming a soldier and killing ISIS—that is, until the day he receives a camera from the former refugee, film director Hemen Kurda.

Winter 2020 CrossCurrents Canada Doc Fund
Awarded $150,000 to 10 projects

Selection Committee: Chris Beaver (Indigenous Affairs Video Journalist, TVO), Loc Dao (Co-founder NFB/Interactive & CBC Radio 3), Olena Decock (Industry Programmer: Funds & Conference, Hot Docs), Huw Eirug (CEO, Nunavut Film Development Corporation), Yu Gu (filmmaker, Rooster & Pig Productions), Dominique Léger (Responsable de la programmation, FICFA), Justina Neepin (doc producer & co-founder, Indigenous Film Summit), Elizabeth Radshaw (Industry Programs Director, Hot Docs) and Heidi Tao Yang (Industry Funds Manager, Hot Docs).


INSPIRARE (feature)
Director/Producer: Yuqi Kang
Producer: Dana Kalmey 
Production company: Blue Goat Films Inc.
An intimate and unyielding journey of female freediving champion Jessea Lu as she faces her biggest fear and attempts to dive to over 90 meters in one single breath.

LOINTAIN (short)
Director/Producer: Aziz Zoromba
Producer: Carol Nguyen
Production company: Independent
An observational portrait of Omar, a young gay man in the year following an estrangement from his family, that watches from afar as he navigates his solitude and attempts to reconnect with his mother.

OJIIBIKAAN (feature)
Directors: Rémy Huberdeau & Sean Stiller
Producer: Lisa Jackson & Lauren Grant
Production company: Earth City Films Ltd.
Follow five Anishinaabe change-makers whose life passions center on revitalizing relationships with local plants and animals in order to heal and strengthen community. This knowledge may be important for all of us in the face of climate change.

Director/Producer: Hoda Elatawi
Production company: GAPC Entertainment Inc.
In a tender and humorous blend of observational doc and intimate interviews, unexpected Muslim converts provide uncommon access into their lives, smashing stereotypes about people—especially women—who convert to Islam for unique, relatable and revelatory reasons.

Director: Amélie Hardy
Producer: Fanny Drew & Sarah Mannering
Production company: Colonelle films
In this time of anguish and agitation, Happy Life explores the spaces and rituals of decompression in which we unload the torments of the body and mind. In a meditative journey through these fantasies of letting go, this documentary essay portrays a society in search of outlets and surrender.

Post-Production Funds

Director: Émilie Serri
Producer: Audrey-Ann Dupuis Pierre  
Production company: 9377-3570 Québec Inc.
Damascus Dreams tells the story of a filmmaker’s journey to her inaccessible homeland. Weaving together her father’s memory, stories of recent newcomers, and her own imagination, Émilie composes a Syria that stands somewhere between reality and myth, dream and nightmare, truth and construct.

Director/Producer: Fazila Amiri
Producer: Lesley Johnson
Production company: Songs She Sings in Shadows Inc.
Amidst suicide attacks and Taliban death threats, Afghan global pop star Aryana Sayeed raises her voice, and the voice of other female singers, fighting for women’s rights and creating a vision of the future they hope to see.  


Director: Marie Clements  
Producer: Catherine Bainbridge
Production company: Marie Clements Media Inc.
A feature documentary reclaiming Indigenous Women’s history and authority in North America.

Director: Josiane Blanc
Producer: Dominic Desjardins
Production company: IGP Productions Inc.
After avoiding speaking at all cost for over two decades, Joze Piranian, a severe stutterer, decides to confront his fears.

2019 Interative/Short Stream
Selection Committee: Robert Lang (Kensington Communications), Nyla Innuksuk (Mixtape VR), Elizabeth Radshaw (Hot Docs), Olena Decock (Hot Docs)

Director: Tamana Ayazi and Ali Atif
Producer: Tamana Ayazi
Production Company: Independent
The Kirgiz Khan and his family struggle in the high Pamir mountains of Afghanistan, where human existence seems impossible. Their connection to their motherland grows stronger yet their lives becomes uncertain day by day.

2019 Theatrical Stream
Selection Committee: Caroline Birks (Panicaro Foundation), Nanfu Wang (Next Generation Production), Elizabeth Radshaw (Hot Docs), Olena Decock (Hot Docs).

Director: Mina Keshavarz
Producer: Mina Keshavarz, Gerd Haag, Kerstin Krieg
Production Country: Iran, Germany
Description: Withheld

2019 CrossCurrents Canada Doc Fund
Awarded $160,000 to six projects

Selection Committee: Olena Decock (Hot Docs), Samara Grace Chadwick (Points North Institute), Selwyn Jacob (NFB), Alexandra Lazarowich (filmmaker), Elizabeth Radshaw (Hot Docs), Rama Rau (filmmaker).


Director/Producer: Chris Strikes
Follow Toronto’s Caribbean Carnival’s queen, Joella Crichton, in her final year competing for the crown. Will she win for an unprecedented tenth time and make history?

GAAG.IID (short/mid-length)
Director/Producer: Kristi Lane Sinclair
The story of Gaag.iid is a story that all Haida kids grow up hearing. If you get lost in the bush or if your boat gets lost, you may become Gaag.iid. This doc looks at “What is a Gaag.iid?” There are varying stories going around Haida Gwaii—is it just a “wild man,” or is it a supernatural being or a Sasquatch? Is it all these things, or just folklore to keep kids from straying too far?

Director: Lulu Wei     
Producer: Ali Weinstein     
Follow the community of Toronto’s historic Mirvish Village as they are forced to relocate after the space is sold to developers. Through their eyes, we learn about a history of immigration, a housing crisis in the downtown core, and the power that brick and mortar buildings can have on our hearts.


BLACK ZOMBIE (feature)
Director: Maya Annik Bedward 
Producer: Kate Fraser, Maya Annik Bedward
Black Zombie is a feature doc about the most misunderstood monster of our time. Tracing its origins from Haitian folklore to Hollywood horror, the film investigates common misrepresentations of the zombie to reveal its connection to slavery and movements of resistance.

DIGITAL MEMORY (short/mid-length)
Director/Producer: Andréanne Germain
Still haunted by nightmares ten years later, an ex-reality TV contestant with no memory of the experience retraces what really happened through the show’s unedited tapes.

Director: Émilie Martel      
Producer: Kristel Viduka, Émilie Martel
Before becoming a Canadian citizenship judge, Suzanne Pinel won the heart of millions of francophone kids throughout Canada as her character Marie-Soleil. For the first time since her show, Suzanne returns to the screen to tell us untold stories and valuable life lessons.

2018 Interative/Short Stream

Director: Mira Sidawi  
Producer: Mira Sidawi
Production Country: Lebanon
Four teenage refugees, training as journalists in a Lebanese camp, hatch a crazy plan to make a film that will convince Pink Floyd to reunite and play a concert in their camp.

Selection Committee: Robert Lang (Kensington Communications), Paramita Nath (Chitra Film & Media), Ryan Harrington (Hot Docs), Heidi Tao Yang (Hot Docs)

2018 Theatrical Stream

Director: Hassan Fazili
Producer: Emelie Mahdavian, Su Kim
Production Country: Afghanistan
When the Taliban puts a bounty on Afghan director Hassan Fazili’s head, he is forced to flee with his wife and two young daughters. Capturing their uncertain journey, Fazili shows firsthand the dangers facing refugees seeking asylum and the love shared between a family on the run.

Director: Zeshawn Ali
Producer: Aman Ali
Production Country: USA
The story of a Muslim Mortician and casket-maker in Newark, NJ, who takes two young men under his wing to teach them how to build caskets, wash bodies and how to live.

Selection Committee: Caroline Birks (Panicaro Foundation), Lea Marin (NFB), Ryan Harrington (Hot Docs), Heidi Tao Yang (Hot Docs)

2017 Interative/Short Stream

KORA: A CIRCLE LIFE (formerly The Old Man)
Director: Tenzin Sedon
Producer: Ming Liu
Production Country: Tibet, China
The old man and his wife, in the face of great changes to their hometown, struggle to defend their own small happiness. Looking back at the lives of the elderly, we see the ancient city of Lhasa in the midst of transformation.

Selection Committee: Robert Lang (Kensington Communications), Stephanie Brown (CBC Indigenous), Elizabeth Radshaw (Hot Docs) and Heidi Tao Yang (Hot Docs)

2016 Theatrical Stream

MY MOM AND MY LITTLE SECRET (formerly Homowives)
Director: Runze Yu
Production Company: Runze Productions
Production Country: China
An intimate portrait of the filmmaker—a closeted gay man—and his estranged mother, living in Beijing. She desperately wants him to get married and have children. Will revealing his secret bring their family closer together or tear it apart completely?

Director: Alfredo Pourailly De La Plaza
Producers: Francisco Hervé, Alfredo Pourailly De La Plaza
Production Company: Los Olivos Cinema, Panchito Films (Chile)
The Land of Fire is a portrait of a scarcely inhabited territory on one of the most remote places on Earth, with an endless road that has been under construction for more than 100 years, where people drill for oil, hunt wild animals and worship God.

Selection Committee: Min Sook Lee (Tiger Spirit Productions Inc.), Caroline Birks (Panicaro Foundation), Elizabeth Radshaw (Hot Docs), Heidi Tao Yang (Hot Docs).

2016 Interative/Short Stream

Director: Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers
Producer: Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers
Production Country: Canada

Fentanyl—an opiate fifty times stronger than heroin—claimed 20 lives on the Blood Reserve in 2014, leading tribal authorities to declare a state of emergency. When the Dust Settles is the story of one community’s response to crisis and the long road forward.

Selection Committee: Robert Lang (Kensington Communications), Anjali Nayar (Ink & Pepper Productions), Elizabeth Radshaw (Hot Docs) and Heidi Tao Yang (Hot Docs).

2015 Interactive/Short Stream

Production Company: One Eyed Turtle Films
Director: Jayisha Patel
Producers: Ruchi Bhimani, Harini Lakshminarayan
Production Countries: India, UK

Told through the perspective of 13-year-old Kushboo, Circle weaves together her experiences of gang rape, abuse at the hands of her grandmother, and her child marriage to a man she does not know. Despite exchanging one abuser for another, Circle seeks to find hope, where there appears to be none.

Selection Committee: Robert Lang (Kensington Communications), Ann Shin (Fathom Film Group), Elizabeth Radshaw (Hot Docs) and Lisa Plekhanova (Hot Docs)

2014 Interative/Short Stream

Production Company: Chaka Studio
Directors/Producers: Maria Court, Rosemarie Lerner
Executive Producer: Sebastian Melo
Creative Technologist: Ewan Cass-Kavanagh
Country: England, Peru

Inspired by the Quipu, the knotted thread communication system of the Inca Empire, this interactive documentary shares first-hand accounts of people affected by Peru’s forced sterilization policy, which targeted over 300,000 indigenous women and men in the 1990s.

Selection Committee: Robert Lang (Kensington Communications), Nimisha Mukerji (Shot Glass Productions), Elizabeth Radshaw (Hot Docs) and Chloe Sosa-Sims (Hot Docs).

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