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by Peter Knegt
March 27, 2012 11:18 AM
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Hot Docs Announces Projects For This Year's Forum; Finalists For Doc Fund

The scene at the Toronto Documentary Forum last year. Photo courtesy of Hot Docs/Joseph Michael.
The Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival has announced 25 projects that will be presented in this year's Hot Docs Forum -- part of North America's largest documentary market.  Taking place May 2 and 3, the projects were selected from 150 submissions from 15 different countries.

“The increasingly direct filmmaker-audience relationship is a new aspect of our industry which we are eager to see enhance the broadcaster funding model at the Forum,” says Hot Docs Forum and market director Elizabeth Radshaw, in a statement. “With a selection of projects from around the world, the 2012 Forum will be two days of dynamic pitches and feedback, with intense networking and professional development opportunities for all in attendance.”
 
Attended by over 500 leading industry professionals, the Forum is focused around a schedule of pre-selected international project presentations made to a roundtable of key international commissioning editors and an observers gallery composed of fellow producers, distributors, sales agents, funders and other buyers. Participating buyers confirmed to date include ARTE, Autlook Filmsales, BBC, CBC/SRC, China Central Television, E1 Entertainment, Ford Foundation, HBO, High Fidelity HDTV, Impact Partners, NHK, Participant Productions, PBS, RAI, SBS, SVT, TVOntario, YLE, ZDF and others.
 
The Shaw Media-Hot Docs Funds Hot Docs Forum Pitch Prize will be awarded to the best Canadian pitch at the 2012 event, as determined by a committee of international (non-Canadian) commissioning editors in attendance. The winner will receive a $40,000 cash prize to be used toward the production and completion budget for their project.
 
The Cuban Hat Award will return to the 2012 Hot Docs Forum, continuing with their “real cash, no strings attached” prize. All the money raised over the two days of the event will be given to the observers’ favourite pitch, as determined by ballot. The Entertainment One “Mounties’ Hat” gives two Hot Docs Forum observers the chance to secure a last minute presentation slot during the event. Two business cards will be drawn and each individual will be granted one of two available 2012 pitch slots.
 
The following projects will be presented at this year’s Hot Docs Forum:
 
112 WEDDINGS, 112 Weddings, LLC (USA); AN HONEST LIAR, Left Turn Films (USA); THE AUDACITY OF LOUIS ORTIZ, Saving Daylight Productions/Trilogy Films (USA); THE BATTLE FOR RIO, Pumpernickel Films / FORTIES BB ltc (France, USA); CAUGHT IN THE NET, Know Productions (USA); ELEPHANT SOLDIERS, Bars Media (Armenia); HOLY GHETTO, OneWorld Group (Israel); HUMANIA, Momento Film/Adomeit Films (Sweden, Denmark); INDIAN SPACEMEN, Sequoia Films (UK); INSIDE JOKE: HOW HUMOUR INVENTED THE JEWS, Cave 7 Productions/Ventana Film-Und Fernsehproduktionsgesellschaft MBH (Canada, Germany); LEONE STARS, Mattru Media (Canada); LET THE FIRE BURN, The George Washington University (USA); MEN'S CHOICE, Ethnogeographic Research Foundation (Russia, Norway); MERKATO, A Dopest Ethiopian Productions (USA); THE PLEASURES OF THE SCENTS, Lowik Média Inc. (Canada); SAND WARS, La Compagnie des Taxi Brousse/Rappi Production (France); SANDS OF THE SKEI QUEEN, Marie-Vérité Films (South Africa); SECRET DAUGHTER, Lotus Films (USA); SHADOW GIRL, Storyline Entertainment Inc./Maremoto Productions (Chile, Canada); SHATTERED PIECES OF PEACE, Nonhlanhla Dlamini (Swaziland); SVALKA: YULA'S JOURNEY, Hanna Polak Films/Goats Hill (USA); THESE BIRDS WALK, Paperbag Rider Films (USA); TREND BEACONS, Markell Productions/Spier Films (Iceland, UK); VIDAL V. BUCKLEY, Tremolo Productions/Media Ranch Productions (USA); ZANTA, Tripod Media LLC (USA).
 
The festival also announced that six projects have been chosen to receive a total of $115,000 in development and production grants from the Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund in its first round of disbursements. Two projects will receive development funds and four projects will receive production funds, selected from 140 submissions from over 29 different countries in Africa. The Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund is a $1-million production fund that provides financial support to independent filmmakers based in developing African countries, with the goal of increasing the quality and quantity of social, cultural and political documentaries produced on the continent.
 
Grant recipients will also be attending Hot Docs 2012, and will participate in International Co-Production Day on April 30, and take part in the filmmakers’ lab on April 28 and 29.
 
Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund Development Grant
 
BUDDHA OF AFRICA
Director and Producer: Nicole Schafer
Production Company: Thinking Strings Media
Country: South Africa/Malawi
 
BUDDHA OF AFRICA explores China’s rise in Africa through the story of a Malawian orphan being raised at a Chinese Buddhist orphanage near the country’s economic capital, Blantyre.
 
FIFIRÉ EN PAYS CUBALLO (FIFIRÉ IN CUBALLO’S LAND)
Producer: Sellou Diallo
Director: Mame Woury Thioubou
Production Company: Les Films de l’Atelier
Country: Senegal
 
In the past, the Fifiré celebration featured crocodile hunts, but no longer since the beasts have disappeared from Senegal River. Now young people, with no crocodiles to hunt or fish to catch, live facing cultural upheaval, caught between tradition and modernity.
Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund Production Grant
 
THE CHILDREN'S WIZARD ACCUSED
Producer: Nadège Ndembo
Director: Camille Mouyeke
Production Company: Horten’s Films
Country: Congo
 
Allegra, Thierry, and Mara are child witches, who have been driven from their families. In the streets and cities in Central Africa there are thousands like them, ages 2 to 16, who are accused of witchcraft and who, left to fend for themselves, stretch the limits of human dignity and the rights of the child.
 
JUST A BAND: THE MOVIE
Producers and Directors: Wanuri Kahiu & Anjali Nayar
Country: Kenya
 
JUST A BAND: THE MOVIE is a kaleidoscopic portrait of four artistically eclectic twenty-somethings who form Kenya’s super nerdy Afro-electro-pop group Just A Band. The film follows them through projects and performances – from their out-of-control street parties in downtown Nairobi to the making of their blaxploitation music-mentry HA-HE, which became Kenya’s first Internet meme.
 
NORWEGIAN CRIME IN CONGO
Producer and Director: Djo Tunda Munga
Production Company: Suka! Productions
Country: Democratic Republic of Congo
 
Tjostolv Moland and Joshua French, two Norwegians citizens, were found guilty by a Congolese military tribunal of the death of a taxi driver in Kisangani, Democratic Republic of Congo, in September 2009. Behind the crime, thriller and investigation, the documentary will look at how the Congolese population is trapped in an environment where justice, the State, Western diplomacy and almost everything are dysfunctional.
 
WHOSE COUNTRY
Director and Producer: Mohamed Siam
Production Company: Arthkhana
Country: Egypt
 
Egyptian filmmaker Mohamed Siam fervently seeks to expose the dark underbelly of the police through the uninhibited accounts of two assistant police officers who have served, for more than a decade, the old Egyptian regime. Enabled and encouraged by their police superiors to exercise power unjustly, the characters in the film recount stories of how Egyptian citizens have been harassed, kidnapped, tortured and, in some cases, even killed.
 

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