Hot Docs issues $266,000 in grants via Shaw Media, Blue Ice

Canadian festival Hot Docs has awarded grants to 16 documentaries, with CAD$125,000 (US$127,000) issued via its Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund, and $141,000 granted via the Shaw Media-Hot Docs Funds.
December 13, 2012

Canadian festival Hot Docs has awarded grants to 16 documentaries, with CAD$125,000 (US$127,000) issued via its Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund, and $141,000 granted via the Shaw Media-Hot Docs Funds.

The festival and financier the Blue Ice Group have selected eight African films to receive grants, with three projects receiving development grants, three receiving production grants, and two receiving special completion grants from the Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund, in its second round of disbursements.

In addition, the Shaw Media partnership will see eight docs receive a total of $141,000 in grants and no-interest loans from the Shaw Media-Hot Docs Funds, in its tenth round of disbursements. With these latest eight films, a total of 102 projects have received funding via Shaw Media-Hot Docs Funds to date, with funding totaling $2.32 million in grants and loans.

The Blue Ice-backed films were chosen from 76 submissions, which came from 27 different African countries. “We are excited to support this round’s talented filmmakers who come from nearly every corner of the continent,” said Elizabeth Radshaw, Hot Docs’ director of industry programs. “Their creative storytelling skills are boundless.”

She added of the Shaw grantees:  “This announcement comes at a time when the Shaw Media-Hot Docs Funds are seeing the fruit of its support in the successes of past recipients – Nisha Pahuja’s The World Before Her won Best Documentary Feature at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival, Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell will screen at Sundance 2013, and both films were listed as Canada’s Top Ten Films of 2012.”

Blue Ice development and production grant recipients will also be attending Hot Docs 2013, where they will take part in a creative filmmakers’ lab, and attend Hot Docs screenings, conference sessions, the Hot Docs Forum and various networking events.

Grant recipients will also receive support to attend and participate in the Durban International Film Festival and Durban Film Market. To date, the Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund has awarded a total of CAD$240,000 to 14 projects.


Descriptions for the eight Blue Ice projects, provided by Hot Docs, follow below:

Development grants:


Producer: Jean Meeran
Director: Sarah Ping Nie Jones
Production Company: Team Tarbaby
Country: South Africa

In apartheid-era South Africa, every aspect of life was determined by skin color, from toilets to trains and dignity to destiny. Blindness explores what is left of race when the ability to see skin color is taken out of the equation.

Mother of the Unborn

Producer: Hala Lotfi, Fawzi Saleh
Director: Nadine Salib
Production Company: AlBatrik Art Production, Hassala
Country: Egypt

Mother of the Unborn is a tale of a neglected world located in the remote land of Upper Egypt, told through the eyes of barren women yearning to conceive, and what happens when their dream becomes a job.

The Photograph

Producer: Victor Viyuoh, Miramu Amadou
Director: Victor Viyuoh
Production Company: Fintu Films
Country: Cameroon

The Photograph explores why 25 rural Cameroonian Muslim girls posed for their first group picture at the 1981 Eid al Adha, who was left out, and what has happened to these women who came of age as HIV became a widespread global issue.

Production grants:

Bukom Fighter

Producer: Makafui Zimrani, Odette Geldenhuys
Director: Makafui Zimrani
Production Company: Village Boy Productions, Frank Films
Country: Ghana, South Africa

Bukom Fighter tells the inspirational story of how a nine-year-old boy from a shanty town in Ghana tries to create hope for himself and his family using the power of his fists.


Producer: Rubén Monsuy Ndong Andeme, Gabriel Amdur
Director: Rubén Monsuy Ndong Andeme
Production Company: ACIGE, Talatala
Country: Equatorial Guinea

Feguibox tells the story of Salvador, a member of Equatorial Guinea’s national boxing team, as he struggles to make it to the 2012 London Olympics.


Director and Producer: Mayenzeke Baza
Production Company: Mandela Bay Pictures
Country: South Africa

Ndiyindoda explores the complexities of male initiation ritual in South Africa and whether it’s still relevant in the modern society.

Completion grants:


Producer: Steven Markovitz
Director: Eddie Edwards
Production Company: Big World Cinema
Country: South Africa, Ghana

Rollaball is a feature-length documentary about Ghana’s skate soccer team, all polio survivors, who play a skateboard-inspired version of soccer adapted to suit their disability.

The Devil’s Lair

Producer: Neil Brandt
Director: Riaan Hendricks
Production Company: Fireworx Media, A Season of Film
Country: South Africa

The Devil’s Lair follows a former murder convict and current Cape Flats gang leader as he comes to terms with a lifetime of choices. He confronts his violent past in a troubled community and must decide what is best for his young family, while leading his men through a deadly drug turf war.


Edited descriptions for the eight Shaw Media projects, provided by Hot Docs, follow below:

Completion grants (totaling $86,000):

Arctic Mosque

Director: Saira Rahman
Producers: Joanne T. Levy
Production Company: Snow Angel Films

A little mosque overcomes great odds during its 4,000km journey by road and water from Winnipeg to Inuvik, a small arctic town with about 80 Muslims. Its opening is an unprecedented celebration for the town, the diversity of which offers a microcosm of communities in Canada and across the globe.


Director and Producer: Karen Shopsowitz
Production Company: 2304030 Ontario

Grandparenting takes an intimate look at the lives of several grandparents who have taken full legal custody of their grandchildren because their own children’s problems, ranging from drug abuse to physical and mental disorders, make them unfit to do so.

Living Dolls

Director and Producer: Maureen Judge
Production Company: Makin’ Movies

Living Dolls is a whimsical and moving journey into the lives of five doll lovers. Fanciful, feisty, cantankerous and capricious, the personal needs of these obsessed subjects are mirrored and amplified by their dolls, revealing the dynamic relationships between the collector, doll and the outside world.

Development grants (totaling $55,000):


Director and Producer: Theresa Wynnyk
Production Company: Company of Women on the Screen

From the point of view of two families, Homegrown looks at the increasing phenomenon of homegrown extremism within Canada, exploring the roots of this right-wing element, its growth, and what the future holds for these groups and for the country.

Keepers of the Magic

Director: Vic Sarin
Producer: Tina Pehme, Kim Roberts
Production Company: Sepia Films

As the majority of today’s filmmakers move to digital, Keepers of the Magic speaks with the most celebrated cinematographers from around the world to uncover untold stories of working with film while shooting some of the most memorable cinematic moments in history.

Michael Shannon Michael Shannon John

Director: Chelsea McMullan
Producer: Nadia Tavazzani
Production Company: One Thousand and One Productions

Twelve years ago, well-respected Canadian police officer John Hanmer died mysteriously in the Philippines after getting caught up in drugs and bikers gangs. His surviving children – from two separate families – share memories of their complicated father.

Tomb with a View

Director and Producer: Ryan J. North
Production Company: Fifth Town Films

In a São Paulo suburb, the tallest building is a condominium tower and all its occupants are dead.  Memorial Necrópole Ecumênica is a trendsetting vertical cemetery where tombs are sold like condo units and owners angle for the best view in their eternal resting place.

Two on Five

Director: Craig Jackson, Joshua Weinstein
Producer: Craig Jackson
Production Company: Kings Point Productions

On Valentine’s Day 1992, sports history was made on a high-school basketball court in Stevenson, Alabama, as an underdog team with only two remaining players beat their opponents with all five. For the two victorious stars, the national headlines offered hope of escape from the bleak future they faced in their economically depressed town.

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.