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Hot Docs Fest and Blue Ice Film Announce $1 Million Fund for African Docs

Hot Docs Fest and Blue Ice Film Announce $1 Million Fund for African Docs

It was announced today at Toronto’s Hot Docs Forum, held in conjunction with the festival, that Hot Docs would be teaming with Toronto-based Blue Ice Films to provide $1 million in grants over the next five years to African documentarians. The fund seeks to foster documentaries by Africans to come out of the continent.


For Immediate Release

May 4, 2011, Toronto – At this morning’s opening of the renowned international co-financing pitch event, the Hot Docs Forum, it was announced that Hot Docs and Blue Ice Film have partnered to establish the Hot Docs-Blue Ice Film Documentary Fund. The $1-million production fund will provide financial support to independent documentary filmmakers based in developing African countries, with the goal of increasing the quality and quantity of social, cultural and political documentaries produced in the region. Generously established by Toronto-based Blue Ice Film, the Fund will be administered by Hot Docs and disbursements will be made over the next five years.

“There are countless documentaries made about Africa, but not enough are made by Africans,” says a Blue Ice Film principal. “The goal of the Fund is to enable more Africans to tell their own stories and contribute to a new generation of African filmmakers.”

The Hot Docs-Blue Ice Film Documentary Fund will disburse six to ten grants each year to successful applicants for projects in various stages of production. Grants will range from $10,000 to $40,000. In addition to financing, the initiative will also offer valuable resources and industry connections. Through an accompanying mentorship program, selected African producers will team with international production partners to bring their projects to international markets, festivals, broadcast and online audiences.

“A central part of our mission is to help filmmakers make great docs, and now we’re doing it in one of the most storied parts of the world,” says Hot Docs executive director Chris McDonald. “The marketplace has changed and traditional funding sources for docs have become increasingly scarce. Blue Ice Film is joining us to create innovative solutions. This new initiative joins the Shaw Media-Hot Docs Funds in what we hope will be an ever-widening portfolio of production funds to support filmmakers, both in Canada and abroad.”

Currently, Hot Docs administers the highly successful Shaw Media-Hot Docs Funds, which over the past three years has provided 54 Canadian documentary projects with over $1-million in completion grants and $359,000 in no-interest development loans. These films have since earned critical and commercial success with leading festivals and broadcasters around the world. The Hot Docs-Blue Ice Film Documentary Fund is the first international documentary fund administered by Hot Docs. Over the past two years, Hot Docs has been actively fostering the participation of foundations, NGOs, philanthropists and other potential third-party funders in the Hot Docs Forum, with an aim to stimulate interest in the sector and in the medium as powerful social force.

The first application deadline for the Hot Docs-Blue Ice Film Documentary Fund will be in the fall of 2011 and guidelines will be available in September. The five-member selection committee will consist of representatives from Hot Docs and Blue Ice Film, in addition to other international industry professionals.

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