Hot Docs Delegate Count Breaks Record, Forum Wraps, ‘Wilfred Buck’ Wins Canadian Pitch Prize

Hot Docs Delegate Count Breaks Record,
Courtesy of Christie Taylor, Science Friday

The Hot Docs Forum, the festival’s two-day international co-financing market event, wrapped Wednesday after 20 teams, representing 16 countries, pitched their projects to a virtual roundtable of more than 50 top documentary funders and decision makers from around the globe.

The Canadian Forum Pitch Prize was awarded to director Lisa Jackson’s “Wilfred Buck” (pictured above), which tells the story of a man who is called the Indiana Jones of Indigenous star knowledge while exploring colonization’s impact on Indigenous ways of knowing. The film is produced by Jackson and Alicia Smith for Door Number 3 Productions and by the National Film Board of Canada.

The $10,000 CAD cash prize is awarded to the best Canadian pitch at the Forum as voted on by attending international buyers, and is this year presented in partnership with Directors Guild of Canada National and DGC Ontario.

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Lisa Jackson Courtesy of Emily Cooper

The Canadian Forum Pitch Prize jury gave an honourable mention, which comes with a $2,000 CAN cash prize, to “Made in Ethiopia,” which follows three women who are navigating the expansion of the biggest Chinese industrial park in Ethiopia, from directors Xinyan Yu and Max Duncan, who also produce with Tamara Dawit.

Select Forum pitches are available for viewing by All-Access pass holders in the conference platform until May 31. Deal Maker, the curated program of one-on-one meetings between pitch teams and decision makers, runs to May 19, and Distribution Rendezvous throughout the month.

The Hot Docs industry team confirmed yesterday that the conference and market side of the festival saw 3,300 registered delegates from 86 countries—both numbers breaking previous records—including more than 200 decision makers.

“We are deeply humbled by the success of this year’s Forum,” said Lisa Valencia-Svensson, acting industry programs director in a statement. “Thanks to the tenacious filmmakers and bold decision makers who made the 22nd edition—and our second annual online event—a huge success!”

“While we were not expecting to mount another edition while physically disconnected from our international documentary community, we are tremendously inspired by the artists who persevered in finding creative approaches to filmmaking,” said Dorota Lech, Hot Docs industry programmer and Forum producer. “Congratulations to all the filmmakers—we are in awe of your perseverance!”

The winners of the first look Pitch Prize, who will receive a combined $110,000 CAD in cash awards, and the recipient of the Sunny Side of the Doc Pitch Prize will be announced May 10.

Since the Doc Shop and other programs run through May, registration for Hot Docs Industry is open until Sunday.