Hot Docs, Blue Ice Film team on million-dollar fund

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The Hot Docs-Blue Ice Film Documentary Fund aims to provide support to independent documentary filmmakers based in developing African countries.

The Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and newly established Canadian prodco Blue Ice Films are teaming up for a $1 million production fund that will provide financial support to independent documentary filmmakers based in developing African countries.

The Hot Docs-Blue Ice Film Documentary Fund aims to increase the quality and quantity of social, cultural and political documentaries produced in the region and to that end, will issue six to 10 grants per year over the next five years in amounts ranging from $10,000 to $40,000.

The initiative will also provide valuable resources and industry contacts for recipients, including a mentorship program that will allow selected African producers to work with international production partners in order to projects to international markets, festivals and broadcasters.

“A central part of our mission is to help filmmakers make great docs, and now we’re doing it in one of the most storied parts of the world,” said Hot Docs executive director Chris McDonald in a statement. “The marketplace has changed and traditional funding sources for docs have become increasingly scarce. Blue Ice Film is joining us to create innovative solutions. This new initiative joins the Shaw Media-Hot Docs Funds in what we hope will be an ever-widening portfolio of production funds to support filmmakers, both in Canada and abroad.”

This is the first international doc fund to be administered by Hot Docs. Blue Ice Films is run by former eOne SVP of factual entertainment Steven Silver and longtime partner Neil Tabatznik.

The first application deadline for the fund will be in the fall of 2011, with guidelines to be announced in September. The five-member selection committee will be comprised of representatives from Hot Docs, Blue Ice Film and other international industry members.

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