20 Projects Tapped for Hot Docs Forum

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20 projects will compete at this year’s Hot Docs Forum. The festival announced the working titles today for projects pitching at its marquee industry event. The pitches represent 19 countries and include a number of co-productions. Projects on the Canadian front include the latest film from The Hottest August director Brett Story, who will pitch a doc about workers’ efforts to unionize in an Amazon fulfilment centre. The untitled US-Canada co-pro credits Mars Verrone and Samantha Curley as producers. Also pitching at the Forum is Bob Moore of Montreal’s EyeSteelFilm. Moore will be at Hot Docs with the Kenyan-Canadian co-pro Matabeleland, directed by Nyasha Kadandara and produced with Sam Soko, whose film Softie opened the 2020 festival.

Two of the names included in the first wave of Special Presentations titles will also be at the Forum. Reid Davenport, whose Hot Docs selection I Didn’t See You There won the directing prize at Sundance, will pitch Life After with producers Jessica Devaney and Colleen Cassingham. The film explores conversations about assisted suicide from the perspectives of people with disabilities. Meanwhile, Sara Dosa, whose Hot Docs selection Fire of Love previously won the Forum, will pitch Heaven through the Back Door as a producer with directors Anna Fitch and Banker White and producer Heidi Fleisher.

This year’s slate of Forum projects achieves gender parity and 15 of the 26 projects credit filmmakers who identify as Black, Indigenous, or People of Colour. 35 additional projects will be announced for the one-on-one Hot Docs Deal Maker programme on April 13.

“The 2022 selected Hot Docs Forum projects are a celebration of a breadth and dynamism of documentary film styles,” said Elizabeth Radshaw, Hot Docs Industry Programs Director, in a statement from the festival. “Also, celebrated are the cultural bounty of storytellers and story perspectives. Hot Docs is proud and excited to feature these talented teams and their film projects at the 2022 Hot Docs Forum,” said Elizabeth Radshaw, Hot Docs Industry Programs Director.

The 2022 Forum will occur online with teams offering seven-minute pitches to delegates from various pockets of the industry. At stake is over $100,000 via the first look prize in which philanthropists may award up to three projects to split the pit. The CMF-Hot Docs Forum Canadian Pitch Prize, presented in partnership with Canada Media Fund, awarded a $10,000 cash prize to the best Canadian pitch. Confirmed decision-makers in the forum include, but are not limited to, Al Jazeera English, Amazon, Bell Media, Chicken & Egg, Discovery Channel, Disney+, Doc Society, Field of Vision, First Look Media, Fork Films, The Guardian, Hulu, National Geographic, Netflix, The New York Times – Op Docs, Participant Media, Sandbox Films, and the Sundance Film Institute.


The full list of 2022 Hot Docs Forum projects is as follows:


A Woman’s Path

Production Company: Seven Spring Pictures (Iran), Lukimedia (Spain)

Director: Marjan Khosravi

Producers: Milad Khosravi, Stephanie Von Lukowicz

Golbahar is betrayed by her family and forced to abandon her nomadic lifestyle. Climate change, personal and political issues make the traditional migrating activities of the Bakhtiari tribe diminish drastically.


Brief Tender Light

Production Company: One Day I Too Go Fly Inc. (USA)

Director: Arthur Musah

Producers: Arthur Musah, Brook Turner

At the elite MIT, four African students strive to graduate into agents of change for their home countries. But what changes come from living in two different worlds?



Production Companies: CHUNK Filmproduktion GmbH (Germany), Avalia Studios GmbH (Germany), Tantor Films LTDA (Chile), Saboteur Media LLC (USA)

Director: Daniel Carsenty

Producers: Nicklas Krüger, Laia Gonzalez, Ingrid Bragemann

Executive Producer: David Kennedy

The new 36-year-old president of Chile, Gabriel Boric, will never be able to change his country by himself, but if he installs hope, the courage of his people to change their society will be without limits.


Heaven through the Backdoor

Production Company: Mirabel Pictures 501(c)3 (USA)

Directors: Anna Fitch, Banker White

Producers: Heidi Fleisher, Sara Dosa

Part myth, part documentary, Heaven Through the Backdoor explores the mystery of death through the unconventional friendship of Anna and Yo, two kindred spirits born 49 years apart.


Untitled Labor Union Documentary

Production Company: Level Ground Productions LLC (USA), Oh Ratface Films (Canada)

Director: Brett Story, Stephen Maing

Producers: Mars Verrone, Samantha Curley

From the perspective of a single Amazon fulfillment center, an intimate portrait of workers taking on one of the world’s most powerful companies in the fight to unionize.


Let’s Play Soldiers

Production Company: Let’s Play Soldiers LLC (Qatar)

Director: Mariam Al-Dhubhani

Producer: Mohammed Al-Jaberi

Nasser is a child-soldier from Yemen who tries to find his place in his community in Yemen, where the on-going war forced him to become the guardian of his younger siblings’ fate.


Life After

Production Company: Multitude Films LLC (USA)

Director: Reid Davenport

Producers: Jessica Devaney, Colleen Cassingham

Life After interrogates the contradictory political ideologies surrounding death and disability, while coalescing the missing voices of the disabled community in the contemporary debate around medically-assisted suicide.



Production Company: LBx Africa (Kenya), EyeSteelFilm (Canada)

Director: Nyasha Kadandara

Producers: Sam Soko, Bob Moore

A struggling migrant truck driver is torn between two worlds, a hostile foreign country or a return to the country that killed his father.



Production Company: Vindelfilm AB (Sweden)

Directors: Isabel Andersson, Johan Palmgren

Producer: Johan Palmgren

What happens when a million-dollar space rock hits the earth? How does mankind respond to this magic? With war and hate!



Production Company: The Good Black Project (Pty) Ltd (South Africa), Viso Producciones SAS (Colombia), Multitude Films LLC (USA)

Director: Milisuthando Bongela

Producers: Marion Isaacs, Sonia Barrera, Viviana Gómez Echeverry

Executive Producers: Jessica Devaney, Anya Rous

Set in past and present South Africa, Milisuthando is a poetic coming-of-age personal essay on love and what it means to become human in the context of race.



Production Company: Iota Production S.A. (Belgium), Tag FIlm SAS (France)

Director: Jérôme le Maire

Producer: Isabelle Truc

In the Moroccan desert, torn between tradition and the promise of modernity, a young nomad witnesses the construction of the largest solar power station in the world.


Out of Place

Production Company: Filmilia AB (Sweden), Mohammed Al-Majdalawi EF (Sweden)

Director: Mohammed Al-Madjalawi

Producers: Manolo Diaz Rämö, Beatrice Pourbagher Garcia, Mohammed Al-Majdalawi

A coming-of-age story of Palestinians from Jabalia refugee camp who have now settled in Europe. Filmed throughout 20 years, the film reflects upon universal questions of personal change.


Quiet the River

Production Company: Shanghai Jiemian CLS Technologies Co., Ltd. (China)

Director: Tiantian Wang, Zhizhe Chai

Producer: Kit Chung

China is implementing a 10-year fishing ban in the Yangtze River. Both fishers and law enforcement officers are thus caught in a whirlwind of rediscovering their place in life.


Red Herring (working title)

Production Company: Good Kid Films Ltd. (United Kingdom), Astrae Productions (Switzerland), Bungalow Town Productions Ltd. (United Kingdom)

Director: Kit Vincent

Producers: Ed Owles, Dea Gjinovci, Kit Vincent

Executive Producers: Rachel Wexler, Jez Lewis

After a young filmmaker is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he enlists his family on an intimate and darkly humorous journey to help them come to terms with his illness.


The Making of a Japanese

Production Company: Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) (Japan), Cineric Creative LLC (USA)

Director: Ema Ryan Yamazaki

Producer: Eric Nyari

Intimately following 1st and 6th graders at a public elementary school in Tokyo amidst the coronavirus pandemic, we observe kids learning the traits necessary to become part of Japanese society.


The Queendom

Production Company: Oscura Producciones S.A. de C.V. (Mexico)

Director: Otilia Portillo

Producers: Paula Arroio Sandoval

Executive Producer: Elena Fortes

Three Mexican indigenous scientists —all women—partner with mushrooms to fight for their territories. This film combines documentary and science fiction to follow their struggle from both human and fungal perspectives.


The White Doctor

Production Company: Afrofilms International Limited (Kenya), Little Wing Films Limited (Ireland)

Director: Zippy Kimundu

Producer: Ciaran Cassidy

An American missionary stands accused of pretending to be a doctor in Uganda and being responsible for the deaths of children in her care.


There Was, There Was Not

Production Company: VernonFilms Ltd (United Kingdom)

Director: Emily Mkrtichian

Producer: Mara Adina

There Was, There Was Not tells the collective myth of a homeland nearly lost to war – and four women’s resistance to that loss.


Time Hunter

Production Company: Waypoint Pictures LLC (USA), Topeka Pictures LLC (USA)

Director: Daniel Chein, Mark Mushiva

Producers: David Felix Sutcliffe, Daniel Chein, Mark Mushiva

A revolutionary agent is dispatched to steal technology from his colonial oppressors to use against them. Can he help his people without losing himself in the maze of the diaspora?


Without Arrows

Production Company: Without Arrows LLC (USA)

Director: Elizabeth Day, Jonathan Olshefski

Producers: Elizabeth Day, Jonathan Olshefski

Filmed with verité intimacy over the course of ten years (2011 – 2022), Without Arrows chronicles the choices, events, and relationships that shape a Lakota family’s legacy.


Pat Mullen is the publisher of POV Magazine. He holds a Master’s in Film Studies from Carleton University where his research focused on adaptation and Canadian cinema. Pat has also contributed to outlets including The Canadian Encyclopedia, Paste, That Shelf, Sharp, Xtra, and Complex. He is the vice president of the Toronto Film Critics Association and an international voter for the Golden Globe Awards.

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