cuban hat 2014 bnr by Joseph Michael Howarth

Hot Docs Forum Pitch Prizes


A $10,000 cash prize to be used by the winning team for the production and completion budget for their project. The winner is selected by a jury of international buyers.

Projects must be:

  • Pitched at the Forum in the regular pitch or rough cut program
  • Produced by a Canadian-control corporation, based in Canada

To claim the prize, the project must go into physical production within 12 months of receiving the prize.

Past Winners

  • 2017: Blue Box (Norma Productions Ltd., Intuitive Pictures, Breakthrough Films)
  • 2016: Showgirls of Pakistan (Nomad Films Inc.)
  • 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)


Providing “real cash, no strings attached” support for powerful and unique films, the winner of the Cuban Hat Award receives money raised during the Hot Docs Forum. The winner is determined by observer ballot.

The Award was conceived by Diego Briceño (Cuibafilms/Pimiento, Montreal) and Giulia Frati (Zelectra Productions, Montreal) at the 2009 Hot Docs Forum.

Past Winners

  • 2017: 306 Hollywood (El Tigre Productions LLC, Laokoon Filmgroup, Preferred Content)
  • 2016: Happy Winter (Indyca, Zenit Arti Audiovisive)
  • 2015: Searching for Mercury (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)
  • 2009: Town of Runners (Met Film Productions)

first look Pitch Prizes
At the 2017 Festival, the new first look program, a curated access program for philanthropic supporters of and investors in documentary film that grants behind-the-scenes access to the industry, awarded $100,000 to two projects. The prizes are underwritten and awarded by participating first look partners.

  • First prize of $75,000: 93QUEEN (Malka Films LLC)
  • Second prize of $25,000: The Feeling of Being Watched (Multitude Films, LLC, Watched Film LLC, Naked Edge Films Inc.)

All >

Presenting Platinum Partner

  • logo Scotia Wealth Management

Signature Partner

  • logo documentary-Channel

Presenting Partners

  • logo Bell-Media
  • logo Netflix
  • logo Rogers
  • Logo Samsung

Major Supporters

  • logo Celebrate-Ontario
  • logo telefilm