Twenty projects from 19 countries have been selected for the 23rd edition of the Hot Docs Forum, the marquee feature financing event of the annual documentary festival, which runs in hybrid format from April 28 to May 8 in Toronto.

Of the projects’ 26 filmmakers, 14 are women, and 15 are BIPOC. Projects include stories around space rocks, solar power and crusading mushrooms, and process docs that follow characters in their homelands, schools and warzones over several years.

Over two days in advance of the festival, Forum project teams present their seven-minute pre-recorded pitches to a “round table” of decision-makers and financiers, from whom they then receive eight minutes of live feedback, which is also recorded.

The 2022 pitch presentations and decision-maker feedback are packaged and made available to registered delegates to stream on demand for the duration of the festival.

Hot Docs industry programs director Elizabeth Radshaw calls this year’s Forum projects “a celebration of the breadth and dynamism of documentary film styles (and of) the cultural bounty of storytellers and story perspectives.”

“A massive thank you to this year’s selection committee—comprised of Meghan Monsour, Jannet Nuñez and Rupeshi Shah—for an incredible program,” said Radshaw, also thanking Madelaine Russo, curator of the Deal Maker program, through which an additional 35 projects will pitch to decision-makers in pre-arranged one-on-one meetings during Hot Docs.

The 2022 Deal Makers projects will be announced April 13.

“Last year, the Hot Docs Forum participants pitched to more than 50 key commissioning editors and funders and over Can. $122,000 in cash prizes was awarded,” added industry programmer and Forum producer Dorota Lech.

First Look, a curated access program for philanthropic investors in documentary film, will award over Can. $100,000 to up to three projects.

The Canadian Pitch Prize, presented in partnership with the Canada Media Fund, will award a Can. $10,000 cash prize to the best Canadian pitch.

Forum decision-makers confirmed to date include Al Jazeera Documentary Channel, Al Jazeera English, Amazon, American Documentary POV, ARD-NDR, ARD – SWR, ARD – WDR, ARTE France, ARTE G.E.I.E, Bell Media, BBC Arabic, BBC Storyville, CBC, Catapult, Channel 8, Chicken & Egg, Discovery Channel, Disney+, Doc Society, EBS Korea, ESPN, Field of Vision, First Look Media, Ford Foundation, Fork Films, France Télévisions, The Guardian, HBO Europe, Hulu, Impact Partners, ITVS, Knowledge Network, National Geographic, Netflix, The New York Times – Op Docs, NHK, Participant Media, Perspective Fund, PTS, RAI, The Redford Center, RTS, SBS Australia, SVT, Sandbox Films, SBS Australia, Sony Picture Classics, Sundance Film Institute, TRT World, TVO, TVP, The Whickers, yesDocu, YLE and ZDF/ARTE.

This year’s Hot Docs Forum projects include:

“A Woman’s Path”
Production companies: Seven Spring Pictures (Iran), Lukimedia (Spain).
Director: Marjan Khosravi; Producers: Milad Khosravi, Stephanie Von Lukowicz.

“Brief Tender Light”
Production company: One Day I Too Go Fly Inc. (U.S.).
Director: Arthur Musah; Producers: Arthur Musah, Brook Turner.

Production companies: CHUNK Filmproduktion GmbH (Germany), Avalia Studios GmbH (Germany), Tantor Films LTDA (Chile), Saboteur Media LLC (U.S.).
Director: Daniel Carsenty; producers: Nicklas Krüger, Laia Gonzalez, Ingrid Bragemann; executive producer: David Kennedy.

“Heaven Through the Backdoor”
Production company: Mirabel Pictures 501(c)(3) (U.S.).
Directors: Anna Fitch, Banker White; Producers: Heidi Fleisher, Sara Dosa.

Untitled Labor Union Documentary
Production companies: Level Ground Productions LLC (U.S.), Oh Ratface Films (Canada).
Director: Brett Story, Stephen Maing; producers: Mars Verrone, Samantha Curley.

“Let’s Play Soldiers”
Production company: Let’s Play Soldiers LLC (Qatar)
Director: Mariam Al-Dhubhani; producer: Mohammed Al-Jaberi.

“Life After”
Production company: Multitude Films LLC (U.S.).
Director: Reid Davenport; producers: Jessica Devaney, Colleen Cassingham.

Production companies: LBx Africa (Kenya), EyeSteelFilm (Canada).
Director: Nyasha Kadandara; producers: Sam Soko, Bob Moore.

Production company: Vindelfilm AB (Sweden).
Directors: Isabel Andersson, Johan Palmgren; producer: Johan Palmgren.

Production companies: The Good Black Project (Pty) Ltd (South Africa), Viso Producciones SAS (Colombia), Multitude Films LLC (U.S.).
Director: Milisuthando Bongela; producers: Marion Isaacs, Sonia Barrera, Viviana Gómez Echeverry; executive producers: Jessica Devaney, Anya Rous.

Production company: Iota Production S.A. (Belgium), Tag FIlm SAS (France).
Director: Jérôme le Maire; producer: Isabelle Truc

“Out of Place”
Production companies: Filmilia AB (Sweden), Mohammed Al-Majdalawi EF (Sweden).
Director: Mohammed Al-Madjalawi; producers: Manolo Diaz Rämö, Beatrice Pourbagher Garcia, Mohammed Al-Majdalawi.

“Quiet the River”
Production company: Shanghai Jiemian CLS Technologies Co., Ltd. (China).
Director: Tiantian Wang, Zhizhe Chai; producer: Kit Chung.

“Red Herring” (working title)
Production companies: Good Kid Films Ltd. (U.K.), Astrae Productions. (Switzerland), Bungalow Town Productions Ltd. (U.K.).
Director: Kit Vincent; producers: Ed Owles, Dea Gjinovci, Kit Vincent; executive producers: Rachel Wexler, Jez Lewis.

“The Making of a Japanese”
Production companies: Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) (Japan), Cineric Creative LLC (U.S.).
Director: Ema Ryan Yamazaki; producer: Eric Nyari.

“The Queendom”
Production company: Oscura Producciones S.A. de C.V. (Mexico).
Director: Otilia Portillo; producers: Paula Arroio Sandoval; executive producer: Elena Fortes.

“The White Doctor”
Production companies: Afrofilms International Limited (Kenya), Little Wing Films Limited (Ireland).
Director: Zippy Kimundu; producer: Ciaran Cassidy.

“There Was, There Was Not”
Production company: VernonFilms Ltd (U.K.)
Director: Emily Mkrtichian; producer: Mara Adina.

“Time Hunter”
Production companies: Waypoint Pictures LLC (U.S.), Topeka Pictures LLC (U.S.).
Director: Daniel Chein, Mark Mushiva; producers: David Felix Sutcliffe, Daniel Chein, Mark Mushiva.

“Without Arrows”
Production company: Without Arrows LLC (U.S.).
Director: Elizabeth Day, Jonathan Olshefski; producers: Elizabeth Day, Jonathan Olshefski