The Queendom leads the winners of the Hot Docs Forum. The Mexican production directed by Otilia Portillo and produced by Paula Arroio Sandoval won the first look Pitch Prize, as announced in a release by Hot Docs. The Queendom tells the story of three Indigenous women scientists who harness the power of mushrooms to safeguard their territories. The first look prize carries a cash purse of $25,000 CAD, which is award to the filmmakers and financed by philanthropic partners and investors who participate in the program.
A Woman’s Path won the second prize for its portrait of a nomadic woman betrayed by her family, Directed by Marjan Khosravi and produced by Khosravi and Stephanie Von Lukowicz, the Iranian-Spanish co-production receives a cash prize of $15,000 CAD.
On the Canadian front, the CMF-Hot Docs Forum Canadian Pitch Prize, presented in partnership with the Canada Media Fund, went to director Brett Story and Stephen Maing’s untitled labour union documentary, produced by Mars Verrone and Samantha Curley. The project receives a $10,000 cash prize towards the production and completion of the winning project.
“The resilience and creativity of our documentary creators and dedicated support from decision maker community are most powerfully displayed in this 2022 edition of the Hot Docs Forum,” said Elizabeth Radshaw, Hot Docs Industry Programs Director, in a statement from the festival. “It is a true honour to see this documentary family grow.”
“The 20 teams who pitched in the Forum spent months–sometimes years–preparing for moments like this,” added Dorota Lech, Hot Docs Forum Producer. “We know that the expertise and knowledge around this table will legitimize, support, and help launch these films and are honoured to be a step on their artistic journeys. I’m especially in awe of each artist’s perseverance, tenacity, and courage and grateful to the decision makers for their generosity of spirit and guidance in helping these magnificent, joyous, sometimes heart-breaking, often unbelievable films reach audiences.”
This year’s Hot Docs Forum was again held virtually as the festival adjusted to hybrid measures amid COVID-19 safety concerns. The international affair let each of the 20 participating teams pitch their projects directly to over 50 key industry peers who then vote on the winners. Of the projects participating in the Forum, 15 out of 20 credited key creatives who identify as Black, Indigenous, or People of Colour, while 14 credit women. This year’s Hot Docs festival selection Fire of Love is a previous winner of the first look Pitch Program.
55 projects were pitched in the Hot Docs Industry Deal Maker program, which featured 96 key decision makers. Hot Docs also facilitated more than 900 meetings for 114 projects as part of the Distribution Rendezvous, while the Doc Accelerator programming shepherded 14 Canadian filmmakers and will mentor them over the coming months.