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Hot Docs Forum & Deal Maker Wrap with Over $83,000 in Cash Prizes Awarded

The Hot Docs Forum, Hot Docs’ key international co-financing market event, and Hot Docs Deal Maker, Hot Docs’ curated one-on-one pitch meeting program, have wrapped after two days of brisk pitching, networking and deal-making. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the Forum saw a total of 21 projects representing 18 countries presented to a room of over 300 key funders and decision makers as well as filmmakers, producers, and other observers. Women were remarkably represented at this year’s Forum, with 14 of the 25 directors and 30 of the 56 producers associated with projects being female. A total of 56 projects were pitched at approximately 800+ pre-arranged meetings during Hot Docs Deal Maker, while Distribution Rendezvous facilitated approximately 635 meetings for 119 projects.

Over $83,000 in cash prizes was awarded to projects at this year’s Hot Docs Forum.

The first look program’s first prize of $30,000 CDN went to Midwives [EyeSteelFilm Inc (Canada), AMA FILM GmbH (Germany), Snow Film]. Pitched by director Hnin (aka Snow) Ei Hlaing, and producers Ulla Lehmann and Mila Aung-Thwin, Midwives tells the incredible story of two midwives who work side by side in a makeshift medical clinic. The award’s second prize of $20,000 CDN went to Colour of the Wind [Tortuga Films (Canada), Alias film und sprachtransfer GmbH (Germany), Mouka Filmi Oy (Finland)]. Pitched by director Claire Sanford, producer Adam Pajot Gendron and co-producer Dagmar Jacobsen, Colour of the Wind is a cinematic portrait of monstrous dust storms that travel from the deserts of China to the shores of California, and the people in their path. Hot Docs first look is a curated access program for philanthropic supporters of, and investors in, documentary film, and first look participants vote on prize recipients and generously provide prize money.

The Surprise Prize winner of $20,000 CDN, presented on behalf of Toronto documentary supporters by Elizabeth Radshaw, was awarded to Twice Colonized [Ánorâk Film (Greenland), Ánorâk Film (Denmark), Unikkaat Studios (Canada)]. Pitched by director Lin Alluna and producers Alethea Arnaquq-Baril and Emile Hertling Péronard, Twice Colonized is a film that reveals one of the most important voices of the Indigenous Arctic, Inuit activist Aaju Peter, who takes us behind the curtains of her political work, sharing the personal battles that motivate her.

The Corus-Hot Docs Forum Pitch Prize was also awarded to Twice Colonized. Disbursed from the Corus-Hot Docs Funds, the $10,000 CDN cash prize is awarded to the best Canadian pitch at the Forum as voted on by attending international buyers. Corus’ Andrew Johnson and Hot Docs’ Dorota Lech presented the award to the pitch team.

This year’s Forum saw the introduction of the new Promise Prize, a $1,000 CDN cash prize awarded to a current Doc Accelerator or CrossCurrents Canada fellow who is a racialized emerging Canadian filmmaker. The prize recognizes a filmmaker who is dedicated to building a long-term documentary filmmaking career, has shown a demonstrated commitment to supporting their cohort of peers, and whose work shows a strong creative vision and distinct voice. The prize is generously sponsored by Scarborough Pictures in recognition of the challenges facing racialized emerging Canadian filmmakers in establishing a sustainable career. This year’s Promise Prize was presented to Jade Baxter (Canada) by Amar Wala, Scarborough Pictures; Stephanie McArthur, Hot Docs; and Jalana Lewis, producer and Doc Accelerator alumna.

The Cuban Hat Award, which offers “real cash, no strings attached” support for powerful and unique projects, was presented by Guilia Frati and Diego Briceño. Awarded to the best pitch as decided by Forum attendees, the Award went to Socks on Fire: Uncle John and the Copper Headed Water Rattlers [Hitbird Productions LLC., (USA)], and was pitched by director Bo McGuire and producer Tatiana Bears. Established in 2009 in an impromptu display of collegial support, the Cuban Hat Award is decided by ballots collected from Hot Docs Forum Observers, and the cash prize is raised by passing the hat. This year’s collection brought in $896.65 CDN, $135.80 USD, €40.1, 18 Turkish Lire, 5 British Pounds, and 1,000 Chilean Pesos. Hot Docs will add $1,000 CDN, bringing the total amount to $2,113.29 CDN. The prize also included two All-Access Passes to Hot Docs 2020; one Observer Pass for IDFA; two All-Access Passes to RIDM; two Toronto Raptors “We The North” t-shirts; $2,500 CDN in camera rental or post-production services from CineGround in Montreal; a discussion with Terranoa about distribution; $50, to be emailed by Noah Bingham; a homestay in Copenhagen and two rough cuts and viewings from The Why Foundation; one night homestay, a rough cut session and dinner from EyeSteelFilm; public relations consultation and strategy from GAT PR; one month of production space in Greece from Exile Production; distributor/marketing consultation from Hybrid Cinema; consultation and marketing session from Films Transit; two free days of videography services from Colin Scheyen, owner of Evenings & Weekends Productions; a tin of ginger mints; and two TTC tokens.

Cuban Hat Project awarded the Best Decision Maker Award to Noland Walker from ITVS from USA.



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