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Hot Docs and Netflix Support Five Canadian Docs through the Incubator Program

Five docs receive a total of $150,000 in funding

6 mins read

Five Canadian documentaries have received funding from the Hot Docs Incubator program. The Hot Docs Industry initiative is a partnership with Netflix within the festival’s Canadian Storytellers Project. The five features will received a total of $150,000 in funding. The program, which is in its second year, supports works by mid-career documentary producers, directors, and editors.

“Following the success of our inaugural program, we are thrilled to extend this support to a new slate of remarkable Canadian documentary companies and projects by promising mid-career filmmakers,” said Elizabeth Radshaw, Director of Industry Programs, in a statement from Hot Docs. “Over the next eight months, our cohort will embark on a transformative journey for their company development and film story support engaging in intensive training sessions with top-tier mentors and key industry decision-makers.”

Projects included in this year’s cohort include Ba’s Book, directed by Ashley Duong (A Time to Swim), who serves as producer with Ina Fichman (Fire of Love). The film, which pitched at this year’s Hot Docs Forum, is Duong’s response to her father’s memories of the wars in Iran and Vietnam. Also tapped for funding is Becoming a Landscape, a portrait of artist Sarah Gerats and her concerns for the environment. The film is the feature directorial debut of Emily Graves, who previously directed the Canadian Screen Award nominee The Goats of Monesiglio, and produced by Aeyliya Husain (An Unfinished Journey).

Meanwhile, in Gawlo, director/producer Aïcha Diop uses a discovery to trace her personal connection to the slave trade and explores the interconnectedness of history through a globe-trotting quest. The film is Diop’s feature directorial debut after her short Nancy’s Workshop won an audience award at Hot Docs. In Land of No Pain, director and producer Émilie Martel and producer José Guayasamin consider the environmental impact of an oil spill in Ecuador. The project was among three docs tapped for Telefilm funding through the Indigenous stream last week. Finally, Sega: The Music of the Indian Ocean, directed by Vincent Toi (I’ve Seen the Unicorn) and produced by Guillaume Collin (Zug Island), follows a young woman’s journey of self-discovery as she explores her Creole heritage.

Projects selected for the Hot Docs Incubator program put filmmakers through intensive training and mentorship opportunities. The program aims to give participants an eye for market readiness as they develop the stories of their projects and learn the business side of the industry to ensure their documentaries have the best life upon release. The news from Hot Docs also notes that attendees at the 2025 festival can screen excerpts from their projects as work-in-progress viewings for industry peers.

 

Full details of this year’s Hot Docs Incubator selects are as follows

 

Ba’s Book
Director: Ashley Duong
Producers: Ina Fichman, Ashley Duong
Production Company: Ba’s Book Productions (Intuitive Pictures, Da-Lê Films)

A father writes a memoir to his daughter about his harrowing experiences of the Vietnam War and the Iranian Revolution. The daughter responds by making a film. Ba’s Book offers a disarming look at the intergenerational legacy of war.

 

Becoming a Landscape
Director: Emily Graves
Producer: Aeyliya Husain
Production Company: November Films Inc.

Visual artist Sarah Gerats confronts the personal impact of climate change through her unique nude self-portraits—in the fastest warming place on earth. Her journey is a reckoning with life: her own, ours, and the planet’s.

 

Gawlo
Director: Aïcha Diop
Producer:  Aïcha Diop
Production Company: Studio Tokosel

When filmmaker Aïcha Diop discovers she shares strands of DNA with hundreds of African Americans descended from slavery, she recruits her newly discovered cousin Ciara to join her on a kaleidoscopic and lyrical globe-spanning journey searching for clues into their past. Together they uncover ancestral secrets hidden in the American South, Canada, France and Senegal, crescendoing in a wild and revelatory meeting with Aïcha’s family historians, her Griots, The Guardians of Time.

 

Land of No Pain
Director: Émilie Martel
Producers: Émilie Martel, José Guayasamin
Production Company: Kannon Films Inc.

A passionate conservationist races against time to save his endangered primates from inbreeding on an island in the Ecuadorian Amazon while seeking justice against the devastation of an oil spill.

 

Séga: La musique de l’Océan Indien (Sega: The Music of the Indian Ocean)
Director: Vincent Toi
Producer: Guillaume Collin
Production Company: Arpent Films Docs Inc.

Sarah Honoré, an emerging musician from Mauritius, seeks to reclaim her Creole identity through the music of her ancestors, Séga, a musical genre anchored in the history of European colonization and slavery.

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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