Doc Pomus, a documentary project about the legendary American songwriter from Toronto’s Clear Lake Historical Productions, has won the CAD$40,000 Shaw Media-Hot Docs Pitch Prize at the Hot Docs Forum in Canada today.
The project, presented at the Forum by producer William Hechter, looks at the life of the American icon, starting with a childhood stricken with polio, through to life as a teenage blues singer and finally as the songsmith behind classics such as Save The Last Dance For Me, Viva Las Vegas and This Magic Moment.
The doc is being made on a USD$895,000 budget, with $475,000 sought and $420,000 already in place. The project was pitched yesterday, on the first day of the Forum, and was well received by commissioners.
Among those expressing interest was Naomi Boxer, documentary programmer at Canadian net TVO. “It would be perfect for us,” she said of the documentary. “It’s an amazing personal story.” Also expressing support was Nick Fraser, editor of BBC strand ‘Storyville’. “I think it would be a good purchase for BBC4,” he said, “as they purchase a lot of music documentaries.”
Shaw Media’s Sarah Jane Flynn presented the award, given to the best Canadian pitch at the Forum, to Hechter. Elsewhere at the Forum, the Cuban Hat Award, a communal pot consisting of donations from attendees, was presented to two projects: The Jungle Prescription (Nomad Films) and A Whole Lott More (Flying V Films/The Channel 4 Britdoc Foundation).
This year close to CAD$3,500 was raised from the hat, including $1,000 from Jan Rofekamp of Films Transit, $1,000 from Montreal’s EyeSteelFilm, $500 from the Hot Docs Forum, and the remainder from miscellaneous donations. The Jungle Prescription was pitched near the end of the Forum via the Entertainment One ‘Mounties’ Hat,’ which gives Hot Docs Forum observers the chance to secure a last minute presentation slot.