Festivals, Events and Awards

Hot doc-makers to attend Hot Docs; Bus 174 honored in Miami; giving indies a pat on the back
March 7, 2003

Toronto, Canada’s Hot Docs (April 25 to May 4) announced that doc-makers Nick Broomfield (Kurt and Courtney, Biggie and Tupac) and Alanis Obomsawin (Kanehsataki – 270 Years of Resistance) will lead two of its 2003 Master Class sessions. The workshops offer participants the chance to learn from the experience of veteran filmmakers as well as get feedback on their own projects. They are part of the festival’s industry program. For details, visit

Awards were handed out at the closing ceremony of the Miami International Film Festival, which ran from February 21 to March 2, 2003. Brazilian doc Bus 174, by director Jose Padilha, won the grand jury prize for best documentary. Mexican director Juan Carlos Martin took home the jury prize for best Iberoamerican documentary for Gabriel Orazco. And, the FedEx Express audience award for best documentary was won by Josep Domenech and Carles Bosch of Spain for Balseros. The Miami event is helmed by festival director Nicole Guillemet, formerly of the Sundance Film Festival.

On the other side of the pond, the 2003 Indie Awards honoring the independent production sector were held on March 6 at the BBC Television Centre. The Indie Award went to 19 Television. Other winners were Endemol UK (global indie); RDF Media‘s format Faking It (factual award); and Talkback/Fresh One‘s Jamie’s Kitchen (documentary award). Visit for the full list of awards.

The Royal Television Society handed out its 2002 journalism awards on February 27 in London, U.K. Among the winners were Dodge Billingsley and Damien Degueldre (for camera operator(s) of the year, formerly television technician) for House of War, a Diverse Production for Channel 4; Avenging Terror, a Brook Lapping production for Channel 4 (for current affairs, international); and Panorama: The Corruption of Racing, BBC1 (for current affairs – home).

Ten Russian companies are expected to exhibit their wares at MIPTV (March 24 to 28), including Malaya Asia, a Moscow-based company that specializes in the production, coproduction and distribution of documentary programming. During a special conference entitled ‘Focus on Russia’ on March 26, there will be screenings and a discussion of post-Communist docs that reportedly examine the activities of the country’s infamous secret service.

The deadline for submissions to the second DocLisboa, the Lisbon International Documentary Festival (May 31 to June 8), is coming up: March 31. Last year’s inaugural event featured 68 docs from 25 countries. All docs must have been completed after January 2002 to be considered. For application details, go to

At the 53rd Berlin International Film Festival, documentary channel PLANET and weekly magazine stern announced the second contest for the PLANET & stern Documentary Film Prize. The prize offers filmmakers the chance to develop their documentary projects with funding from Planet, which will also broadcast the film in German-speaking countries. Projects must be received by April 15. For more information, go to

The Innoversity Open Door Pitch Competition is holding its second annual event. Finalists will have the chance to pitch their projects and win development money from major Canadian broadcasters at the Innoversity Creative Summit 2003 in Toronto, Canada, May 22 to 23. Innoversity is seeking pitches in the categories of lifestyle (sponsored by Alliance Atlantis) and documentaries (sponsored by the CBC). The competition is open only to Canadians. For more information, visit

Another deadline for Hot Docs is imminent. CyberPitch, the pitching slot is aimed at giving new-media producers the chance to wax poetic about their interactive or convergent media doc. The winning pitch will receive CDN$5,000 (US$3.400) in development funds. The online entry form should be completed by March 14. For details, visit the Hot Docs website

March 14 is also the deadline for CTV Fellowships. The Canadian broadcaster-sponsored program encourages the professional development of emerging TV producers, writers and directors by enabling them to attend the 2003 Banff Television Festival (June 8 to 13). Winners will be notified in April. For more information, go to

On March 1, the Directors Guild of America Awards were handed out in Los Angeles, U.S.. The recipient of the outstanding directorial achievement in documentary was Tasha Oldham for The Smith Family.

In January, the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies launched a traveling exhibition called ‘The Best of Full Frame’ that screens award-winning international docs and gives audiences across the U.S. the opportunity to speak with some of the films’ directors. The final set of screenings will take place March 15 to 17 in New York. For a schedule of events (which will include Q&As, panel discussions and parties), visit

About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.