The eleventh edition of the Toronto Documentary Forum (TDF), Hot Docs’ international co-financing market event, wrapped yesterday after two days of pitching, networking and deal making. In total, thirty projects representing 12 countries were presented to a panel of over 120 key commissioning editors and other funders and a gallery of over 450 industry observers (check out indieWIRE‘s report on the projects).
“This year’s projects soared in quality, ambition and scale,” says TDF and Market Director Elizabeth Radshaw, in a statement. “It was a dynamic slate that balanced cinematic projects with those tailored for other platforms, and which saw animated, experimental, 3D and interactive work flourish. Both traditional broadcast and new third sector partners, such as War Child and Right to Play, were overwhelmingly enthusiastic and vocal in their support for these films.”
Over $55,000 in cash prizes were awarded to projects at this year’s TDF.
The Canwest-Hot Docs TDF Pitch Prize was awarded to EyeSteelFilm’s The Fruit Hunters, a feature documentary and potential series that will explore the vast hidden universe of exotic fruit and what it can tell us about humankind’s place in the natural world. Disbursed from the Canwest-Hot Docs Documentary Funds, the $40,000 cash prize is awarded to the best Canadian pitch at the Forum as voted on by attending international commissioning editors. Michael Kot, vice president of factual content for Canwest, presented the award to pitch team members Yung Chang, director, and Mila Aung-Thwin, producer.
New this year, the NFB Digital Development Deal was offered to Storyline Entertainment’s The House That Herman Built, the story of the friendship between an artist and Herman Wallace, a Black Panther activist who’s been in solitary confinement for 38 years – longer than anyone in the history of the American penal system. The $15,000 cash development deal is intended to stimulate interactive, cross-media projects in the industry. The winning project was selected by NFB representatives from pre-selected projects pitched at TDF and during Rendezvous, Hot Docs’ pitch meeting service. Rob McLaughlin, director of digital content and strategy for the NFB, presented the deal to Angad Bhalla, director, and Lisa Valencia-Svensson, producer.
The Cuban Hat Award, which offers “real cash, no strings attached” support for powerful and unique projects, was also presented to Storyline Entertainment’s The House That Herman Built. Established at the 2009 TDF in an impromptu display of collegial support, the award is decided from ballots collected from TDF Observers and the cash prize is raised by passing the hat. This year $1013.67 CDN was raised, which includes a generous $500 gift from Montreal’s EyeSteelFilm, along with $18 US, 5 Czech koruna, 2 Israeli new sheqel, 38 Malaysian cents, 20 pence and a Toronto transit token. The Cuban hat in which the prize money was collected was presented to Iikka Vehkalahti of YLE (Finland), named favourite commissioning editor also by TDF Observer ballot. The founders of the Cuban Hat Award, Diego Briceno (Cuibafilms/Pimiento, Montreal) and Giulia Frati (Zelectra Productions, Montreal) announced the winner at the TDF’s closing reception.