Hot Docs and Blue Ice partner with The New York Times Op-Docs to support African documentary filmmakers
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Wed, 04 May 2016 10:37
The New York Times Op-Docs

At a reception held on 2 May 2016 during the Hot Docs Festival, Hot Docs and Blue Ice Group announced an exciting new collaboration with The New York Times Op-Docs to commission short documentary films from African filmmakers that will be showcased on The Times’s Emmy Award-winning online forum.

“The New York Times Op-Docs is dedicated to giving a platform to a diverse and global range of emerging and established filmmakers, “said Kathleen Lingo, commission editor for opinion video, The New York Times. “We couldn’t be happier to collaborate with the Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund to present the work of African filmmakers.”

“The Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund has attracted hundreds of vital and compelling stories seeking support and we’re thrilled to work with our partners to help filmmakers realise them in such a unique way,” said Hot Docs industry programmes director Elizabeth Radshaw. “Blue Ice Group’s commitment to African filmmakers is outstanding, and there is no better platform than The New York Times Op-Docs to celebrate and share these voices with the world.”

Over the next 12 months five to eight projects will be selected for the initiative from hundreds of past submissions received by the Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund, Fund Alumni and from those that will be received in the 2017 round of disbursements. Established in 2010, the Fund aims to assist African filmmakers living and working on the continent in telling their stories, and to contribute to the professional development of the next generation of Africa’s documentary community. Filmmakers of selected projects will be commissioned to craft new short documentary works inspired by the stories and themes of their feature film, which will then be published first on The New York Times Op-Docs webpage.

Launched in the fall of 2011, Op-Docs is The New York Times’ editorial department’s forum for short, opinionated documentaries, produced with wide creative latitude and a range of artistic styles, covering current affairs, contemporary life and historical subjects.

To date, the Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund has awarded grants totaling US$626 000 to 40 projects from 15 African countries. It has provided professional development to filmmakers through the Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Filmmakers Lab as well as offering travel, accommodation and accreditation support to attend international festivals and markets, including Hot Docs, the Durban International Film Festival and Durban FilmMart.

Recipient highlights include The Devil’s Lair (D: Riaan Hendricks), an official selection at Hot Docs 2013 and IDFA 2013; Mother of the Unborn (D: Nadine Salib), an official selection at IDFA 2015 and winner of the Peter Wintonick IDFA Award for First Appearance; Nasser (D: Jihan El-Tahri), an official selection at TIFF 2015; The Shore Break (D: Ryley Grunenwald), an official selection at Hot Docs 2015; The Revolution Won’t Be Televised (D: Rama Thaiw), an official selection of Berlinale 2016 and Whose Country?, which will have its world premiere at Hot Docs 2016.

Earlier this year, it was announced that the US$1 million CAD fund was generously replenished with an additional US$1.25 million CAD by the Blue Ice Group.

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