Festivals, Events & Awards

Slots and screenings at Hot Docs; Hong Kong market cancelled; a new home for TIFF
April 3, 2003

Commissioning editors, filmmakers and industry players mingled over strawberries and croissants at the Hot Docs press conference April 2, during which the organizers of ‘North America’s largest documentary festival’ announced its film lineup. A total of 122 docs from 30 different countries and regions will screen at the event, which takes place from April 25 to May 4 in Toronto, Canada. Of these, 21 will be world premieres. Also, to celebrate Hot Doc’s 10th anniversary, a number of screenings will be free to the public, including the opening and closing-night films. My Flesh and Blood, by Jonathan Karsh (U.S.), will kick off the event and The Last Round, by Joseph Blasioli (Canada), will end it. Other titles screening include: Men of the Deeps, by John Walker (Canada); Poles Extremity, by director Zero Chou (Taiwan); Beckham and the Battle with Argentina, by Dermot Lavery (U.K.); and Afghanistan-Collateral Damages, by directors Fabrizio Lazzaretti and Alberto Vendemmiati (Italy).

Hot Docs also released the list of projects that will be pitched at its fourth annual Toronto Documentary Forum (April 30 to May 1). More than 120 entries from around the globe were received (roughly the same as last year) and of these, 36 made the cut. This year the selection team included John Lindsay, executive VP of Carlton Productions (USA); Catherine Olsen, commissioning editor for the ‘Passionate Eye’ strand on CBC Newsworld (Canada); and Steve Seidenberg of Café Productions (UK).

Among the 36 pitch projects are: Onward Muslim Soldiers, Hilton Cordell Productions (Australia); Kunuk Family Reunion, Igloolik Isuma Productions (Canada); Russia’s High Noon, Alegria (France); The Junction, AT Media (Israel); and Gypsy Caravan, Little Dust Productions (U.S.). For a complete list of projects and pitchers, go to

Organizers of Sportel Asia, the international TV sports program market, announced the cancellation of this year’s event. The market was to have been held from April 30 to May 2, in Hong Kong. It was cancelled due to the continuing spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in that part of the world. Various refund options are available to registrants. For more information, please contact

Canada’s Toronto International Film Festival Group (TIFFG) unveiled its ambitious plans to build a permanent home in the heart of Toronto’s ‘entertainment district’. Currently dubbed ‘Festival Centre’, the space will house theaters, exhibition halls, archives and all of the group’s programs (including the Toronto International Film Festival, which features docs in its Real to Reel program, and Sprockets, the international film festival for children). Construction is scheduled for completion in September 2006.

The fifth annual One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival in Prague, Czech Republic, gets under way on April 8, running until April 16. This year’s main competition jury, which will choose the best film and best director, includes industry consultant Jane Balfour (UK), War Photographer director Christian Frei (Switzerland), Sundance Documentary Program director Diane Weyermann (USA), and indie doc director Peter Wintonick (Canada). For more information, visit

The inaugural Chicago International Documentary Film Festival came to an end on March 30. Beating out 22 competition docs for the Chicago Doc Grand Prix prize was director Jose de Putter of the Netherlands with The Damned and the Sacred (Dans, Grozny, Dans). Other winners include Finland’s Markku Lehmuskallio, who took home the cinematography award for Mothers of Life; Brazil’s José Padilha (Bus 174) and the U.S.’s Travis Wilkerson (An Injury to One), who shared the innovation award; and San Francisco, U.S.-based Dierdre Lynch (Photos to Send) and Boston, U.S.-based Robb Moss (The Same River Twice), who jointly won the audience award. For more information, visit the festival website at

The prestigious Peabody Awards for programs produced for television and radio have been announced. Among the 31 winners were ‘Frontline’: Shattered Dreams of Peace: The Road From Oslo (Boston, U.S.-based WGBH); Bringing Down a Dictator (Washington, D.C.-based WETA); How High is the Mountain (Taipei, Taiwan-based Public Television Service Foundation); and ‘Nightline’: Heart of Darkness (New York, U.S.-based ABC News). This year’s awards ceremony will be broadcast for the first time in June on U.S. cablecaster A&E Networks. For a full list of the awards, visit


Entries for the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (July 4 to 12) in Prague, Czech Republic, are due April 14. Both short and full-length documentaries are accepted. Please visit for further information.

The extended deadline for entry to the Revelation Perth International Film Festival (June 19 to 29) is approaching: April 18. Details can be found at

The Moscow International Film Festival (June 20 to 29) in Russia is accepting entries until April 20. For regulations and an entry form, go to

The San Diego Film Festival (September 17 to 21) has issued a call for entries. The early deadline is June 1; all applications must be received by July 1. To download an entry form, go to

The deadline for entries to the International Documentary Film Festival in Marseille, France, has passed, but if you’re a filmmaker, organizers are still accepting film synopses and information on where your films can be seen (at festivals and on TV) by fax or email. (Send emails to Fabienne Moris, program coordinator, at Festival information can be found at

Entries for the National Association of Television Program Executives’ (NATPE) Educational Foundation-sponsored Student Video & Film Production Awards must be received by May 5. For more information on these awards, visit

The deadline for entries for NaturVision 2003 (September 11 to 14) – an international nature and wildlife film festival that takes place in Freyung and Neuschönau, Germany – is June 16. For an English application form, go to and click on ‘FILMANMELDUNG’ (at the top of the page).

The Los Angeles, U.S.-based International Documentary Association has issued a call for entries for its InFACT Film Series (formerly DOCtober). Films screen once a day for seven days in L.A, allowing them to qualify for Academy Award consideration. Submissions are due by April 25. For more info, go to

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