Lena MacDonald’s Betrayal named Corus-Hot Docs Forum prize winner

Produced by Toronto's Ferocious Films, the doc nabbed a $10,000 cash prize.

Hot Docs Director Lena MacDonald and producer Noah Bingham of Toronto’s Ferocious Films have won the Corus-Hot Docs Forum Pitch Prize for their project Betrayal

The award consists of a $10,000 cash prize and is voted on by international buyers in attendance at the Hot Docs Forum, which was held May 1 and 2 in Toronto. The award was handed out by Corus’ Andrew Johnson and Hot Docs’ Dorota Lech.

All told, over $137,000 in cash prizes were awarded to projects at this year’s Forum.

In total, 21 projects appeared in the program with women making up half of the producers and half of the directors participating. In addition, 20 countries were represented and were presented to a room of over 475 industry delegates, including 220 commissioning editors and funders.

The Forum also handed out a raft of prizes for its first look Pitch Prize. The competition, which is in its second consecutive year, supports documentaries that examine social justice issues.

This year’s first prize-winner was U.S.-based KTF Films’ Case 993, directed by Shareef Nasir and produced by Dana Nachman, Leah Mahan, Josh Braun, Dan Braun and Danny Glover. In total, the U.S. project took home $75,000.

In second place was Born in China, directed by Nanfu Wang and Lynn Zhang and produced by U.S. prodcos Next Generation Production and Motto Pictures and France’s Pumpernickel Films. It was awarded $30,000. Producers on the project include Julie Goldman, Christoph Jörg and Chris Clements.

The third prize went to the Canada/Kenya/Norway copro Softie, produced by Montreal-based EyeSteelFilm, Kenya’s Lightbox Limited and We Are Not the Machine and Norway’s DUOfilm. Directed by Sam Soko, the feature was awarded $20,000.

Softie also walked away with The Cuban Hat Award, which gives financial backing to “powerful and unique projects.” The award, which was created in 2009, is decided from ballots collected by Hot Docs Forum observers and consists of a cash raised by passing the hat.

Last year, Michal Weits and Assaf Amir’s Blue Box picked up the Corus-Hot Docs Forum Pitch Prize and the Cuban Hat Award went to 306 Hollywood from New York-based filmmakers Elan and Jonathan Bogarína.