Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and Blue Ice Docs have revealed the eight African film projects chosen to receive CA$120,000 in development and production grants from the Hot Docs-Blue Ice Docs Fund.
The projects were selected from 83 submissions from 24 different African countries. A total of four projects will receive development grants and four will receive production grants.
In addition to funding, five of the grant recipients will also receive support by way of a creative filmmakers’ lab and professional development activities throughout the year, including online peer-to-peer mentorship program and direct access to industry mentors, networking opportunities, Hot Docs screenings, the Hot Docs Forum, and support to attend a festival/market in Africa.
Blue Ice Docs is additionally renewing its support of the fund — now in its 10th round of disbursements — contributing CA$1 million over four years to its previous $2.35 million commitment.
The Hot Docs-Blue Ice Docs Fund was created in 2011 to help enable more African documentary filmmakers to tell their own stories, and contribute to the African documentary community’s next generation.
To date, the fund has awarded grants to 78 projects from 24 countries. Application dates for the next round of disbursements will be announced later this year.
Hot Docs-Blue Ice Docs Fund Development Grants recipients include (with synopses provided by the Fund):
Director: Erige Sehiri
Producers: Erige Sehiri, Estelle Robin You
Production Companies: Henia Production, Les films du Balibari
Country: Tunisia, France
With Last Call, director Erige Sehiri dives into the dual life of a woman willing to do anything to save her captive brother in Syria.
The Mother of All Lies (pictured)
Director: Asmae El Moudir
Producers: Asmae El Moudir, Silvana Santamaria
Production companies: INSIGHTFILMS, Soils Films
Countries: Morocco, Germany, Qatar
A young Moroccan woman’s search for truth tangles with a web of lies in her family’s history. As a daughter and filmmaker, Asmae fuses personal and national history as she reflects on the 1981 Bread Riots, drawing out connections to contemporary Morocco.
The Wall of Death
Director: Amine Sabir
Producers: Merième Addou, Nadège Labé, Alexis Taillant
Production companies: IRIS Production, Wendigo Films
Countries: Morocco, France
For 40 years, Hassan and Khadra have been making a living off their motorcycle acrobatics show called “The Wall of Death.” They refuse to let their 27-year-old daughter Zahra take over the business, who herself is torn between solidarity with the family tribe and a desire to choose another path.
We, People of the Islands
Directors/Producers: Elson Santos, Lara Sousa
Production companies: Kulunga Filmes, Soul Comunicações
Country: Mozambique, Cape Verde
In 1965, a secret operation brought a group of 31 young Cape Verdeans to Cuba where they received anti-colonial military training. Theirs is a history of ideals, convictions and betrayals, and a portrait of the youth who launched a utopian adventure.
Hot Docs-Blue Ice Docs Fund Production Grants recipients include:
Eat Bitter 吃苦
Directors: Pascale Appora-Gnekindy, Sol Sun
Producers: Mathieu Faure, Pascale Appora-Gnekindy, Sol Sun, Orphée Zaza Emmanuel Bamoy
Production companies: Kea Kwis Production, OAZ Picture Entertainment, Rad Angel Productions
Countries: Central African Republic, United States
Against the backdrop of civil war in the Central African Republic, a Chinese construction manager and local African labourer work on opposite ends of the spectrum to construct a sparkling new bank. As deadlines loom, unexpected twists threaten their jobs, relationships and plans for a better life.
The Nights Still Smell of Gunpowder
Director: Inadelso Cossa
Producers: Inadelso Cossa, Emilie Dudognon, Thomas Kaske
Production companies: 16mmFILMES, IDA.IDA, KASKE Film
Countries: Mozambique, France, Germany
Concerned with the fragmented memories of his childhood during the civil war in Mozambique, filmmaker Inadelso Cossa returns to his grandmother’s village to reveal the untold stories that still haunt his generation.
Rising Up at Night
Director: Nelson Makengo
Producers: Dada Kahindo Siku, Rosa Spaliviero
Production companies: Mutotu Productions, Twenty Nine Studio & Production
Countries: Democratic Republic of Congo, Belgium
As Congo launches the construction of Africa’s largest power plant on the Congo River, Kinshasa finds itself in darkness and its people struggle for access to light.
What’s Eating My Mind
Director: Noella Luka
Producers: Sam Soko, Don Edkins, Tiny Mungwe
Production company: LBx Africa, STEPS
Countries: Kenya, South Africa
While studying filmmaking in the U.S., Noella wakes up in a psychiatric hospital. Confused and diagnosed with unspecified bipolar, she returns home to Kenya. She turns the camera on herself, as well as her friends Nick and Tabitha, as she tries to grapple with her new reality, entangled in family, religion and African tradition.
Hot Docs-Blue Ice Docs Fund alumni with official selections in this year’s Hot Docs Festival include:
The Colonel’s Stray Dogs
Director: Khalid Shamis
Producers: Steven Markovitz, Khalid Shamis
Countries: South Africa, Libya, Qatar
Recounting his father’s dangerous life as an exile in London with a million-dollar bounty on his head, the director questions the cost of his decades-long opposition to Muammar Gaddafi and eventual return to an unrecognizable Libya on the brink of civil war.
The Last Shelter
Director: Ousmane Zoromé Samassékou
Producers: Estelle Robin You, Andrey S Diarra, Don Edkins, Tiny Mungwe
Countries: France, Mali, South Africa
Weary refugees from Burkina Faso, Togo and Benin, in search of promising futures, stop over at the House of Migrants in Mali, where staff offer basic necessities, warm beds and legal advice for their long journeys ahead.
Photo courtesy Hot Docs