The Hot Docs Forum concluded Wednesday afternoon (May 3) with the presentation of several pitch prizes.
Twenty projects were presented at the forum over the course of the two days, half of which were directed by women.
The Corus-Hot Docs Forum Pitch Prize was given to Blue Box, the untold story of the massive takeover that led to the creation of Israel told through the diaries of the man who orchestrated it. The $10,000 CDN cash prize is given to the best Canadian doc concept as selected by a committee of international buyers.
The Cuban Hat Award, which is presented to the favorite pitch at the event, funded and selected by forum observers, went to 306 Hollywood, a tale of two siblings who undertake an archaeological excavation of their late grandmother’s house.
Meanwhile, winning best Decision Maker honors was Marie Nelson, VP news and public affairs, PBS.
Hot Docs also unveiled two new pitch prizes this year as part of Hot Docs First Look, a new program for philanthropic supporters of and investors in documentary film.
The inaugural Firstlook program’s top prize of $75,000 CDN was awarded to 93Queen, which follows a group of Hasidic women who create the first all-female volunteer ambulance corps in NYC.
The program’s second prize of $25,000 CDN went to The Feeling of Being Watched, where a filmmaker investigates rumors of surveillance in her Arab-American neighborhood in Chicago.
The Firstlook prizes are the newest — and largest — cash awards up for grabs at the Forum.
Elsewhere, Hot Docs and BravoFACT presented the Hot Docs Short Film Pitch, giving six Canadian filmmaking teams the opportunity to pitch their short documentary projects to a live audience and a panel of judges to win cash prizes totaling $75,000 CDN, courtesy of BravoFACT.
First place was prize was given to Sherien Barsoum‘s Ride For Promise, where a young black man overcomes personal, social and familial struggles to cross Canada in a journey inspiring new narratives on race, privilege and poverty.
Second place was given to Boko Haram: Between Good and Evil and 36 Hitchin Road took third.