Extra: Hot Docs funds Canadian music docs; Espresso brews trio of sales in Asia

Hot Docs awards funding to Canadian music doc projects Five Canadian music documentary projects will receive a total of CA$145,000 in funding from the Hot Docs-Slaight Family Fund. The production and development ...
November 5, 2021

Hot Docs awards funding to Canadian music doc projects

Five Canadian music documentary projects will receive a total of CA$145,000 in funding from the Hot Docs-Slaight Family Fund.

The production and development fund, first established in 2020, was crated through a gift from the Slaight Family Foundation and is the first of its kind in Canada. The funding is committed to filmmakers telling high-quality stories that embrace musical forms and artists, and demonstrates Canadian music’s role around the world.

The fund has so far supported 11 projects and disbursed $262,500. The Slaight Family Foundation was established in 2008 by John Allan Slaight.

“From unveiling the story of an unsung guitar virtuoso to the meteoric rise to fame for Canada’s Broken Social Scene, this year’s fund recipients really showcase the nuances of Canada’s exciting music scene, shining a light the wealth of talent, as well as the curiosity and love that Canadians have for music, in all its forms,” said Hot Docs’ acting industry programs director, Lisa Valencia-Svensson, in a news release.

Development funds were awarded to In Search of… Divine Styler – from First Generation Films, directed by Peter Mishara and Omar Majeed, produced by Christina Piovesan – about a hip-hop zine a writer began to discover what happened to his favorite rapper; and Young Canadian – from 52 Media Inc., directed by Alan Zweig, produced by David York – about Art Bergmann, the still active godfather of 1970s punk music in Vancouver who was battling addiction and arthritis by 2000.

Production funds were awarded to Goddess of Slide – from Soul Flicker Films Inc., directed and produced by Alfonso Maiorana, produced by Agata De Santis – about slide guitar virtuoso Ellen McIlwaine; Smoke & Gifts – from Fathom Film Group, directed by Stephen Chung, produced by Ann Shin, Hannah Donegan and Michelle Mama – about the trailblazing 2000s indie rock band Broken Social Scene; and Lhasa – from Metafilms Inc., directed by Sophie Leblond, produced by Audrey-Ann Dupuis-Pierre – about Lhasa de Sela’s life and career before her death from cancer at age 37.

Espresso Media makes sales in Asian markets

Espresso Media International announced a trio of sales to Asian broadcasters on Thursday (Nov. 4). The company licensed packages to public service broadcasters NHK in Japan and PTS in Taiwan, as well as a documentary to Discovery Asia.

India’s Forgotten People will premiere on Discovery Asia this week. The documentary is actor Deana Uppal’s filmmaking debut. Uppal, a former Miss India UK and Big Brother star, also produced the film, which is about the history of India’s Gadia Lohar community. Uppal witnessed the lifestyle of this community while immersing herself in it.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Discovery Asia on India’s Forgotten People, a documentary which sensitively investigates the history of India’s proud but largely forgotten Gadia Lohar community,” said Jessica Reilly, senior sales and acquisitions executive at Espresso Media International.

Espresso also announced a new partnership with PTS, Taiwan’s public service broadcaster. The company licensed three documentaries to the broadcaster: Amazonia Undercover and End of the Line: The Women of Standing Rock, both of which are about Indigenous activists, and My Beautiful Stutter from executive producer Paul Rudd about five kids with a stutter who enter a life-changing program.

NHK in Japan also acquired My Beautiful Stutter, as well as the space documentary A Message to the Stars and the cryptocurrency film Dead Man’s Switch.

Stellify and Final Straw partner on VR game show for YouTube

Stellify Media has partnered with YouTube presenter and author Joe Sugg, and his production company Final Straw Productions, on a new VR game show, Virtually Impossible.

Stellify, a joint venture formed by Kieran Doherty and Matthew Worthy with Sony Pictures Television announced the deal with Sugg on Thursday (Nov. 4). Sugg will launch the show on his YouTube channel, as he hosts 12 contestants through a childlike assault course as quickly as possible. But the contestants are in VR and face challenges including monsters and zip wires to complete the course.

The VR has been curated and custom built for the project by AiSolve Limited, an immersive tech company led by Prajay Kamat.

FactualWest awards Andrew Johnson with Impact Award

Organizers of the Vancouver-based FactualWest unscripted and non-fiction content conference announced on Thursday (Nov. 4) that Andrew Johnson will receive its inaugural Impact Award.

Johnson is the executive in charge of production, original content and factual for Corus Entertainment. He helped develop and commission factual programming for Corus channels such as History and Global including Big Timber, Rust Valley Restorers and Cheating Hitler: Surviving the Holocaust, and has previously produced CBC docuseries such as The Lens and Rough Cuts.

Johnson will be presented with the award on Friday, November 5, followed by a reception to honor his work. On Nov. 5 and 6, FactualWest will bring together top broadcasters, creators and producers for a group of sessions that will include panels, interviews and masterclasses for people working in unscripted TV.

About The Author