The Hot Docs Forum international co-financing market event, which took place at last week’s Hot Docs International Documentary Festival in Toronto, Canada, wrapped after two days of brisk pitching, networking and deal-making. In total, 25 projects representing 14 countries were presented to a panel of over 170 key commissioning editors and other funders.
“The past two days showcased a collection of exceptional projects,” says Hot Docs Forum and market director Elizabeth Radshaw. “And despite global changes in doc industry financing, the filmmakers and their projects were met with enthusiasm, excitement and keen interest from international buyers.’
Over $41,000 in cash prizes were awarded to projects at this year’s Hot Docs Forum.
The Shaw Media- Hot Docs Forum Pitch Prize was awarded to Storyline Entertainment/Maremoto Productions’ Shadow Girl, a feature-length story of a filmmaker who is losing her sight. Disbursed from the Shaw Media-Hot Docs Funds, the $40,000 cash prize is awarded to the best Canadian pitch at the Forum as voted on by attending international buyers. Shaw Media’s Sarah Jane Flynn presented the award to pitch team members Lisa Valencia-Svensson and Maria Teresa Larrain.
The Cuban Hat Award, which offers “real cash, no strings attached’ support for powerful and unique projects, was presented to Svalka: Yula’s Journey (Hanna Polak Films/Goats Hill), pitched by Hanna Polak and Jan Rofekamp.
Established in 2009 in an impromptu display of collegial support, the Cuban Hat Award is decided from ballots collected from Hot Docs Forum Observers and the cash prize is raised by passing the hat. The founders of the Cuban Hat Award, Diego Briceno (Cuibafilms/Pimiento, Montreal) and Giulia Frati (Zelectra Productions, Montreal) announced the winner at the Hot Docs Forum’s closing reception on 6 May.
The Hot Docs Forum is regarded as the most effective international co-production market in North America for the documentary industry with invaluable market intelligence and excellent opportunities for exclusive industry networking. It aims to stimulate international co-production financing for feature, series and interactive documentary projects at various levels of completion. Selected documentary producers publicly pitch their projects to a round-table of international commissioning editors, distributors, foundations, charities and cross media platforms, while accredited observers look on. For buyers, the Hot Docs Forum offers a slate of pre-selected projects in development or production by elite international filmmakers. Observers gain both direct industry intelligence and networking opportunities with financiers and other filmmakers. For pitchers, this experience and exposure can catapult their project into the market and complete their financing.