Six documentaries are set to receive support from the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Fund. Hot Docs announced today via a release that the docs will get a combined $85,000 in funding. The projects include an even split among men and women in director credits and represent four provinces: Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec.
The recipients include emerging filmmaker Akash Sherman, who makes his feature documentary debut with Singhs in the Ring about a family wrestling dynasty. Sherman previously had a breakout with the drama Clara. Meanwhile, former Hot Docs Focus On honouree Rosvita Dransfeld’s The Good Virus receives support for its exploration of phage therapy. Dransfeld’s previous credits as a director include The Dogwalker and Who Cares.
Representing Quebec, Will Prosper directors the NFB co-production Fredy, which examines the killing of an 18-year-old Montreal man by a police officer. The 2008 sparked a race riot that anticipated the Black Lives Matter movement that grew in the aftermath of similar events in the USA. Tea Creek marks the feature debut for Dene photographer/filmmaker Ryan Dickie. The film offers a portrait of an Indigenous entrepreneur who advocates for food sovereignty in remote regions.
Meanwhile, Oksana Karpovych follows her award-winning feature Don’t Worry, the Doors Will Open with Intercepted. As with her feature debut, the doc offers a cinematic study of the situation in Ukraine. Finally, director Nicole Bazuin’s provocatively titled Modern Whore takes a hybrid approach to the stories of sex workers. The film expands upon the award-winning short doc of the same name that screened at festivals including Hot Docs and SXSW.
“Canadian documentaries continue to showcase the diverse narratives and resilience found across the country, with a focus on stories that resonate globally,” said Heidi Tao Yang, Hot Docs’ Director of Funds & Labs, in a statement from the festival. “These documentaries not only reflect the unique stories from various provinces but also underscore Canada’s commitment to storytelling that is impactful, thought-provoking, and globally relevant.”
The 2023 Hot Docs Ted Rogers Fund recipients are:
Director: Ryan Dickie
Producer: Ben Cox
Production company: Boreal Wolf Film Productions Ltd.
Against the backdrop of colonization and the climate crisis, passionate Indigenous entrepreneur Jacob Beaton sets out to turn his family farm into a center for food sovereignty, resilience and healing for his remote northern community and beyond.
Director: Will Prosper
Producers: Yanick Létourneau, Nathalie Cloutier
Production companies: Peripheria, NFB
In 2008, innocent 18-year-old Fredy, killed by Montreal police while playing dice, triggers Canada’s biggest race riot. Fourteen years later, a film unravels systemic racism in the West, painting a poignant portrait of his family and community.
Director: Oksana Karpovych
Producers: Giacomo Nudi, Rocío Barba Fuentes, Pauline Tran Van Lieu, Lucie Rego, Darya Bassel, Olha Beskhmelnytsina
Production companies: Les Films Cosmos Inc., Hutong Productions, Moonman LLC
A journey through Ukraine to reveal the banality of evil behind the Russian invasion by creatively juxtaposing the daily lives of the invaded with the voices of the invaders.
Director: Nicole Bazuin
Producers: Lauren Grant, Nicole Bazuin, Andrea Werhun
Production companies: Clique Pictures, Virgin Twins
Modern Whore is a hybrid documentary that reimagines depictions of sex work through the lived experiences of writer, performer, and sex worker, Andrea Werhun. Andrea grapples with social stigma and reclaims her narrative in this funny, heartbreaking, and surprising film.
Singhs in the Ring
Director: Akash Sherman
Producers: Shane Fennessey, Adam Scorgie, Sunny Sidhu
Production companies: Fennessey Films, Score G Production Films, FMT Productions
Singhs in the Ring is a feature documentary based on the wildly colourful, outrageously animated, pile-driving phenomenon of the Singh wrestling dynasty stretching from the infectiously fun 1970s era of Gama Singh, to present day with his son, Raj.
The Good Virus
Director: Rosvita Dransfeld
Producers: Vanessa Dylyn, Rosvita Dransfeld
The Good Virus is a documentary that travels deep into the heart of the hidden world of phage therapy, a revolutionary treatment for life-threatening bacterial infections. As the global medical community is out of solutions for drug-resistant superbugs, scientists are turning to bacteria’s ancient enemy: bacteriophages.