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RECIPIENTS OF CANWEST-HOT DOCS FUNDS ANNOUNCED

$279,500 IN COMPLETION GRANTS AND DEVELOPMENT LOANS AWARDED TO TOP DOCUMENTARY PROJECTS

Toronto, December 10, 2009 – Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and Canwest are pleased to announce that 11 projects have been chosen to receive a total of $279,500 in grants and no-interest loans from the Canwest-Hot Docs Funds in its fourth disbursement. Established in April 2008, the Funds consist of a $3-million completion fund and a $1-million development fund that aim to provide documentary filmmakers with much needed financial support at critical stages in their projects.

“While an ever-expanding and receptive audience awaits the completion of these new docs, we know the funding climate remains difficult,” comments director of programming Sean Farnel. “But ‘tis the season, and it was the Committees’ pleasure to play Santa Claus and offer support to these deserving projects.”

Canwest-Hot Docs Completion Fund

The Canwest-Hot Docs Completion Fund Selection Committee consisted of: Nick Crowe, Production Executive, Canwest Media Inc.; Sean Farnel, Director of Programming, Hot Docs; and David Paperny, President, Paperny Films. The Committee awarded five completion grants totaling $222,000 to the following projects:

BEHIND THE SCENES AT KINNGAIT STUDIOS
Producers: David Craig, Katherine Knight
Director: Annette Mangaard
Production Company: Site Media Inc.
Set in the Canadian Arctic, the film weaves together many voices in a first hand account of how the remote settlement of Cape Dorset, Nunavut, has become the capital of the Inuit art world.

GRINDER
Producers: Cornelia Principe, Matt Gallagher
Director: Matt Gallagher
Production Company: Border City Productions
GRINDER is the director’s journey into the unconventional – and often bizarre - underground world of those who play poker for a living.

RAW OPIUM
Producer: Robert Lang
Director: Peter Findlay
Production Company: Kensington Communications Inc.
RAW OPIUM travels the world to offer an intimate and broad-ranging exploration of a commodity that has gone from being a “gift of the gods” to a scourge on society.

THE REAL MAS*H
Producer: Ed Barreveld
Director: Min Sook Lee
Production Company: Storyline Entertainment
THE REAL M*A*S*H traces the original stories and the people behind them that inspired the fictional TV series and feature film about the Korean War.

A STRANGE BREW - THE END OF ADDICTION
Producers: Amanda Handy, Robin McKenna
Directors: Mark Johnston, Mark Ellam
Production Company: Nomad Films Inc.
Guided by botanist Dr. Adam Brown, a man with a keen sense of curiosity and a taste for adventure, A STRANGE BREW takes us on a fascinating journey in an effort to unlock the secrets of plants that could play an important role in our common future.

Canwest-Hot Docs Development Fund

The Canwest-Hot Docs Development Fund Selection Committee consisted of: Lynne Carter, Production Executive, Factual Content, Canwest Media Inc.; Charlotte Engel, Production Executive, Documentaries & Alternative Programming, CTV; and Sean Farnel, Director of Programming, Hot Docs. The Committee awarded six no-interest development loans totaling $57,500 to the following projects:

9.79: THE RISE AND FALL OF BEN JOHNSON
Producer: Damon D’Oliveira
Director: Clement Virgo
Production Company: Conquering Lion Pictures
9.79 chronicles the legendary rise and fall of Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson. With the emergence of new evidence on the widespread use of performance enhancing drugs in competitive sport, was Johnson set-up when he tested positive for steroids during the 1988 Olympics?

ARIEL
Producer/Director: Laura Bari
Executive Producer: Mila Aung-Thwin
Production Company: EyeSteelFilm
Three years after undergoing a double amputation following a work accident, Ariel, a 33-year-old Argentine man, decides to design and build his own prosthetic legs, strengthening his will to survive and persevere.

GREEN TO THE END
Producer: Julia Bennett
Director: Kim Harris
Production Company: Pink Job Inc.
GREEN TO THE END follows two feisty sisters who, determined to spend no money and leave no footprint, go on the road to find a carbon-zero funeral.

INVISIBLE WAR: SECRETS OF THE HO CHI MINH TRAIL
Producer: Linda Stregger
Executive Producer: Barbara Barde
Director: Michael Maclear
Production Company: Take 3 Productions Inc.
America’s decade of combat in Vietnam centred on the so-called Ho Chi Minh Trail, yet no armies confronted each other there. INVISIBLE WAR will take an in-depth look at the legendary Trail and those who endured eight years of continuous U.S. saturation bombing.

OPERATION SOAP
Producer/Director: James Wood
Executive Producer: Jerry McIntosh
Production Company: 21D Productions Inc.
On February 5, 1981, at 11 pm, Toronto police conducted simultaneous raids, dubbed Operation Soap, on four gay bathhouses. With first person accounts, archival footage and dramatic re-enactments OPERATION SOAP examines the raids and the 48 hours after in which the Canadian gay movement was born.

TAXI SCHOOL
Producers: Wendy Champagne, Denis McCready
Executive Producer: Sylvie Van Brabant
Director: Wendy Champagne
Production Company: Producions du Rapide-Blanc
Set in Montreal, TAXI SCHOOL will explore the lives of recent immigrants to Canada through the window of a taxi school, where they end up after exhausting their search for work in their own fields.

The next deadline for Canwest-Hot Docs Funds will be in May 2010. Applications will be available mid-April at www.hotdocs.ca

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Canwest Global Communications Corp. (www.canwest.com), (TSX: CGS and CGS.A,) an international media company, is Canada’s largest media company. In addition to owning the Global Television Network, Canwest is Canada’s largest publisher of paid English language daily newspapers and owns, operates and/or holds substantial interests in conventional television, out-of-home advertising, specialty cable channels, web sites and radio stations and networks in Canada, Australia, Turkey, Indonesia, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Hot Docs (www.hotdocs.ca), North America’s largest documentary festival, conference and market, will present its 17th annual edition from April 29 – May 9, 2010. An outstanding selection of 170+ documentaries from Canada and around the world will be presented to Toronto audiences and international delegates. Hot Docs will also mount a full roster of conference sessions and market events and services for documentary practitioners, including the renowned Toronto Documentary Forum, May 5 & 6, and The Doc Shop.

Media Contact
Virginia Kelly
V Kelly & Associates, Inc.
Telephone: 416-466-9799
Email: info@vkpr.ca

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