The Lebanese Burger Mafia

35 Documentaries Tapped for Hot Docs Deal Maker

Canadian projects include Lebanese Burger Mafia, Cynara, and Indígena

10 mins read

35 documentary projects will participate in this year’s Deal Maker at Hot Docs. The list represents 25 countries. Running in the industry component at Hot Docs from May 2 to 4, the Deal Maker gives film teams one-on-one sessions to connect their projects with leaders in broadcasting, distribution, and other corners of the biz.

Canadian projects in the Deal Maker slate include Cynara, directed by Sherien Barsoum, which profiles a strange true crime case in Toronto and a community’s fight to clear the name of one of its members. The film is produced by Barsoum and Bryn Hughes. Director/producer Omar Mouallem, meanwhile, joins producer Dylan Rhys Howard for The Lebanese Burger Mafia. The doc is a humorous portrait of Alberta’s eccentric Burger Baron fast food chain and the unlikely story of the “Canadian dream” it embodies. Both Cynara and Lebanese Burger Mafia were announced yesterday as official selections for Hot Docs. (Subscribe today to read more about Cynara and Lebanese Burger Mafia in our next issue.)

Other Canadian projects in Deal Maker include Im/migrant Buyers’ Club, from director/producer Miru Yogarajah; Indígena, directed by Siku Allooloo and produced by Allooloo and Jessica Hallenbeck; and Warrior Spirit, directed and produced by Swaysən Will George and Gloria Pancrazi with Andrew Luba and Nicholas Castel as producers;

“After three iterations online, Deal Maker is back in full-force in-person and online,” said Lauren Clarke, Deal Maker Industry Programmer, in a statement from Hot Docs. “We’re extremely proud to invite 35 exciting projects from 25 countries from both new and established voices in documentary filmmaking. This year’s selected projects bring together an inspiring group of visionary artists exploring urgent stories and pushing boundaries of the form.”


The full list of 2023 Hot Docs Deal Maker Projects is as follows:


A Capitol Case
Director: Andrea Kalin
Producer: Andrea Kalin, Ethan Oser, Kate Woodsome
Production Companies: Spark Media (USA), Pulitzer Center (USA)

Aunty Untitled Film
Director: Haohao Yan
Producer: Guo Guo
Production Company: Aunty Untitled Film LLC (USA)

Company of Steel
Director: Yuliia Hontaruk
Producers: Yuliia Hontaruk, Ivanna Khitsinska, Alexandra Bratyshchenko, Uldis Cekulis, Katarina Krnacova
Executive producer: Kenan Aliyev
Production Companies: Babylon`13 Production LLC (Ukraine), VFS Films (Latvia), Silverart (Slovakia), Current Time TV (USA)

Crimea, 5 AM
Director: Dmytro Kostiumynskyi
Producer: Anna Palenchuk
Production Company: 435 FILMS LLC (Ukraine)

Director: Sherien Barsoum
Producers: Bryn Hughes, Sherien Barsoum
Executive Producers: Bryn Hughes, Michelle Shephard
Production Company: 2715077 Ontario Inc. (Canada)

Emergent City
Directors: Kelly Anderson, Jay Arthur Sterrenberg
Producers: Brenda Avila-Hanna, Kelly Anderson
Executive Producer: Stephen Maing
Production Company: Emergent City, LLC (USA)

EVO: The Burnt Palace
Directors: Noah Friedman-Rudovsky, Martin Sivak
Producers: Justine Nagan, Irene Cajias
Executive Producer: Rebecca Lichtenfeld
Production Company: Actual Films (USA)

Finding Seyoum
Directors: Vanessa Tsehaye, William Martin
Producers: James Costa, Simon Kilmurry
Production Company: Bird Street Productions LLC (USA)

Hannah Arendt: Thinking Is Dangerous
Directors: Tia Lessin, Carl Deal
Producers: Carl Deal, Tia Lessin, Birgit Rasch
Executive Producers: Jeff Bieber, Gunnar Dedio, Regina Bouchehri, Michael Kantor
Production Companies: Jeff Bieber Productions, LLC (USA), LOOKSfilm, GmbH (Germany), WNET/American Masters (USA), Elsewhere Films (USA)

Hot Spot
Director: Karin Kainer
Producers: Karin Kainer, Osnat Saraga, Justine Henochsberg, Julie Guesnon Amarante
Production Companies: Ananey Studios (Israel), Kainer Films (Israel), Les Batelières Productions (France)

Im/migrant Buyers’ Club
Director: Miru Yogarajah
Producer: Miru Yogarajah
Executive Producer: Miru Yogarajah
Production Company: Nothing Even Mattress Inc. (Canada)

Director: Siku Allooloo
Producers: Jessica Hallenbeck, Siku Allooloo
Executive Producers: Helen Haig-Brown, Marie Clements
Production Companies: Lantern Films Inc. (Canada), Akia Films Inc. (Canada), Elagi Productions (Canada), Marie Clements Media, Inc. (Canada)

Iris Chang: Power of One (working title)
Director: Kimberlee Bassford
Producers: Kimberlee Bassford, Lou Wang-Holborn
Executive Producers: Daniel J. Chalfen, Bill Guttentag, Kristina Wong
Production Company: Making Waves Films LLC (USA)

Is My Living in Vain
Director(s): Ufuoma Essi
Producer: Ufuoma Essi, Leah McGurk, Artina Michelle
Production Companies: Gasworks (UK), Le Magasin – Centre National d’Art Contemporain (France), Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery (New Zealand), Arts Council England (UK)

Kamikaze: Unlocking the Truth
Director: Takayuki Oshima
Producers: Takahiro Hamano, Manuel Catteau
Executive Producer: Keisuke Saito, NHK
Production Companies: NHK Enterprises, Inc. (Japan), ZED (France), NHK (Japan)

The Lebanese Burger Mafia
Director: Omar Mouallem
Producers: Omar Mouallem, Dylan Rhys Howard
Executive Producers: Blake McWilliam, Kyle Johnson
Production Companies: Back Road Productions Inc. (Canada), Burger Mafia Films Inc. (Canada)

Life in the Shadows
Director: K.D.
Producers: Ilyas Yourish
Co-Producers: Anke Petersen, Lilian Tietjen
Executive Producer: Graeme Isaac
Production Company: Kamay Film (Afghanistan), Jyoti Film GMBH (Germany)

Name Me Lawand
Director: Edward Lovelace
Producers: Fleur Nieddu Lovelace, Sam Arnold, Beyan Taher, Neil Andrews, Marisa Clifford, Edward Lovelace
Executive Producers: Thomas Benski, Tim O’Shea, Diene Petterle, Lisa Marie Russo, Kwesi Dickson, Isabel Freer
Production Company: Pulse Films Limited (UK)

Director: Indira Cato
Producer: Indira Cato, Hugo Chávez Carvajal
Production Company: Chumbera Producciones S de RL de CV (México)

Once Upon a Time on Death Row
Director: Brendan J Byrne
Producers: Brendan J Byrne, Michael Quinn, Tina O’Reilly
Production Companies: Clean Slate Television Ltd (UK), Zo Zo & Aces Media Ltd (Ireland), Cyprus Avenue Films Ltd (UK)

Past Future Continuous
Director: Firouzeh Khosrovani
Producers: Fabien Greenberg, Bård Kjøge Rønning
Production Company: Antipode Films AS (Norway)

Director: Pedro de Filippis
Producers: Leonardo Mecchi, Bronte Stahl, Tarsila Nakamura
Production Companies: Enquadramento Produções (Brazil), Here and Elsewhere Films LLC (USA)

A Revolutionary/Mother
Director: Yuko Torihara
Producer: Lou Wang-Holborn
Production Company: Eternal Breasts LLC (USA)

Director: Elena Kairyte
Producers: Ruta Jekentaite
Production Companies: Baltic Productions (Lithuania)

Silent House
Director: Farnaz Jourabchian, Mohammadreza Jurabchian
Producers: Farnaz Jurabchian, Mohammadreza Jurabchian, Elaheh Nobakht, Stephanie Lebrun, Jewel Maranan, Fatma Riahi
Executive producer: Anita Lee
Production Companies: F & M Productions (Iran), ELI Image (Iran), Babel Doc (France), Cinema Is Incomplete (Philippines), Al Jazeera Documentary Channel (Qatar), NFB (Canada)

Simon the Absurd (Simon el Absurdo)
Director: Felipe Monroy
Producers: Palmyre Badinier, Diana Bustamente Escobar, Alexandre Perrier, Kyzza Terrazas
Production Companies: Rita Productions Sàrl (Switzerland), Burning (Colombia), Kidam (France), La Corriente del Golfo (Mexico)

Soviet Barbara, the story of Ragnar Kjartansson in Moscow (Soviet Barbara, sagan um Ragnar Kjartansson í Moskvu)
Director: Gaukur Úlfarsson
Producers: Gaukur Úlfarsson, Guðrún Olsen, Guðni Tómasson, Kristín Ólafsdóttir
Executive Producers: Gaukur Úlfarsson, Guðrún Olsen, Guðni Tómasson
Production Companies: Ofvitinn ehf (Iceland)

Director: Regina Crosby
Producer: Inge Wegge
Production Company: Lofoten Film Collective AS (Norway)

The First Lady
Directors: Udi Nir, Sagi Bornstein
Producers: Udi Nir, Sagi Bornstein, Georg Tschurtschenthaler, Christian Beetz
Production Companies: udiVsagi production Ltd (Israel), gebrueder beetz filmproduktion GmbH (Germany)

Traces of Home
Director: Colette Ghunim
Producers: Colette Ghunim, Capella Fahoome
Production Companies: Kartemquin Films (USA), Defining Entertainment (USA)

Director: Set Hernandez
Producer: Set Hernandez, Félix Endara, Day Al-Mohamed
Executive Producer: Diane Quon
Production Companies: Pawikan Films, LLC (USA) QuonCo Productions, LLC (USA), Unseen Documentary, LLC (USA)

Untitled Cruise Tourism Film
Director: Catharine Axley
Producers: Catharine Axley, Lawrence Lerew
Production Company: Molt Films LLC (USA)

Warrior Spirit
Directors: Swaysən Will George, Gloria Pancrazi
Producers: Swaysən Will George, Gloria Pancrazi, Andrew Luba, Nicholas Castel
Production Company: 1375964 BC LTD (Canada)

We, the Women
Director: Emilce Quevedo Díaz
Producers: Emilce Quevedo Díaz, Susana Urrea, Paola Mendoza, Kelli Kieley, Javier Nuñez
Executive Producer: Emilce Quevedo Díaz
Production Company: Ojo x Ojo Producciones Limitada (Colombia), Rola Productions (USA), Unstoppable Urges Productions Ltd. (Canada), Javier Nunez Films LLC (USA)

Who Killed Alex Odeh?
Directors: Jason Osder, William Lafi Youmans
Producers: Jason Osder, William Lafi Youmans
Production Company: The George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs (USA)

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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