Hot Docs Forum, presented by the DGC
At the 2023 Festival, 19 Forum projects representing 16 countries and 23 filmmakers, 12 of whom are women and 11 of whom are BIPOC, will pitch to international decision makers.
A huge thank you to Hot Docs Forum producer Dorota Lech and to this year’s Selection Committee: Amelia Hanibelsz, Leah Giblin, and Monika Navarro.
Production Companies: Jo image Productions (Jordan), YN Films Inc. (Canada)
Director: Mahmoud Massad
Producers: Munire Armstrong, Su Baloglu
When a hidden lens through an old cinema ticket office becomes a confessional.
Production Company: Vida Vida Productions, LLC (USA)
Director: Ilse Fernandez
Producers: Ilse Fernandez, Michele Farinola
Through intimate access, Exodus Stories follows the high-stakes journeys of three Central American immigrants who join the migrant caravans fleeing violence and hoping to find refuge in the United States at a time when asylum is under siege. Capturing their resilience every step of the way, they prove the American Dream is a beacon for those living in a nightmare.
I OF THE WATER
Production Company: Making Waves Films LLC (USA)
Director: Kimberlee Bassford
Producers: Kimberlee Bassford, Marilyn McFadyen, Vilsoni Hereniko, Leanne K. Ferrer, Cheryl Hirasa, Linda Goldstein Knowlton
After a painful experience pushes her into self-exile, acclaimed Samoan writer Sia Figiel untangles her complicated past, revealing a hidden past of sexual abuse and initiating a journey toward healing.
Production Companies: Les Films Cosmos Inc. (Canada), Hutong Production (France), MoonMan (Ukraine)
Director: Oksana Karpovych
Producers: Giacomo Nudi, Rocío Barba Fuentes, Pauline Tran Van Lieu, Lucie Rego, Darya Bassel
A journey through Ukraine that reveals the banality of evil behind the Russian invasion.
Production Company: Capital K Pictures LLC (USA)
Director: Sofian Khan
Producer: Faisal Azam
Memoir meets in memoriam in this personal journey through a filmmaker's twenty year archive and the relationship that changed the course of his life.
LIFE ON THE EDGE
Production Companies: Anima Films Ltd. (UK), Thulsa Doom Limited (UK), Levon Gharibian (UK), Film.Gl (Greenland)
Directors: Johnny Langenheim, Sebastian Feehan
Producers: Andrea Land, Paninnguaq Heilmann, Cyrus Mirzashafa, Levon Gharibian, Hector N. Helsing, James Reed
Haunted by his best friend’s death and his own violent past, Nuka Aqissiaq travels across Greenland giving counsel to the desperate as an epidemic of suicide ravages this Inuit nation.
Production Company: Marriage Cops LLC (USA)
Directors: Cheryl Hess, Shashwati Talukdar
Producer: Diana Chiawen Lee
In a small city in northern India, unhappy couples seek relationship advice in the most unlikely of places—the local police station.
REDLIGHT TO LIMELIGHT
Production Companies: Bindubot Communication (India), Touch Narrative (India), Marx Film OÜ (Estonia), Les Steppes Productions SARL (France), JW Documentaries Oy (Finland), VFS Films (Latvia)
Director: Bipuljit Basu
Producers: Nilotpal Majumdar, Max Tuula, Maria Gavrilova, Louis Beaudemont, Nicolaï Iarochenko, John Webster, Uldis Cekulis
The dream of telling their own stories brings sex workers and their children together to form a tiny self-taught film unit in a Kolkata brothel. The amateur but resilient film crew eventually scales the battle up through their films to make the brothel a better place to live.
Production Company: Venom Limited (Ireland)
Director: Gar O'Rourke
Producers: Samantha Corr, Andrew Freedman, Ken Wardrop
Despite a war raging close-by, mud treatments, lasers, and electro-shock therapies continue at the Ukrainian Kuyalnik Sanatorium, where a small group searches for love, healing and happiness.
Production Company: GreenGround Productions Inc. (Canada)
Director: Julien Elie
Producers: Andreas Mendritzki, Aonan Yang, Julien Elie
Where the Rio Grande meets the sea, the rockets of SpaceX prepare to launch; astronomers come to gaze skyward, philosophers come to gaze inwards, hawkers come to make a buck and environmentalists come to survey the damage. Welcome to Boca Chica, USA.
SHOW ME THE PAST IS REAL
Production Companies: Younger Daughter Films (Canada), Parkside Films (USA), Fit Via Vi Films (USA)
Director: Charlie Tyrell
Producers: Julie Baldassi, Mona Panchal, Shannon Riggs, Clay Tweel, Bill Way, Elliott Whitton
The objects we treasure hold magical meaning for us. But can we really save the past?
Production Companies: CAUCASO Società Cooperativa (Italy), LES ALCHIMISTES SAS (France)
Director: Enrico Masi
Producers: Stefano Migliore, Loïs Rocque
A group of colossal magnets are traveling on a cargo ship through the Mediterranean Sea, and in parallel, a family lives voluntarily without electricity in the Western Alps. Beyond the mountains, in the South of France, an experiment is ongoing at ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor), an advanced lab aimed at bringing the sun to earth. The film is a psychogeographic detour into the core of the political ecology debate.
THE 5 BILLION DOLLAR SCAM
Production Companies: Medalia Productions Ltd. (Israel), Intuitive Pictures Inc. (Canada)
Director: Hilla Medalia
Producer: Ina Fichman
Binary Option trading promised quick money and easy profits but ultimately led thousands to lose their life savings. This film follows a precedent-setting legal case of an international scam gone awry, and the investigators and informants that would ultimately topple this house of cards.
Production Company: Compy Films Inc. (Canada)
Director: Kenya-Jade Pinto
Producers: Shasha Nakhai, Kenya-Jade Pinto, Jennifer Baichwal, Rich Williamson
Your future is being written in the sand.
UNTITLED AFRICAN CLIMATE CHANGE FILM
Production Companies: One Story Up LLC (USA), We are not the machine Ltd (Kenya)
Directors: Pete Murimi, Daphne Matziaraki
Producers: Toni Kamau, Maya Craig, Roger Ross Williams, Geoff Martz
Climate change and unresolved historical injustices raise the stakes in a generations-old conflict between indigenous pastoralists and white landowners in a wildlife conservation haven.
UNTITLED DWARFISM PROJECT
Production Companies: In Proportion LLC (USA), Little By Little Films Limited (UK), Multitude Films (USA)
Director: Julie Wyman
Producers: Julie Wyman, Lindsey Dryden, Jonna McKone, Jess Devaney, Anya Rous
A new drug promises to make Little People taller, threatening the community it claims to serve. Meanwhile, director Julie Wyman confronts her own dwarfism diagnosis. As Little People grapple with the choice to give up difference, the film poses an urgent question: can we see and be seen differently?
UNTITLED THWAITES PROJECT
Production Companies: Old Chilly Pictures, LLC (USA)
Director: Emelie Mahdavian
Producers: John D. Sutter, Emelie Mahdavian
How do you watch the climate crisis unfold without losing hope? Untitled Thwaites Project tells the story of a female-led science team's visit to an Antarctic ice shelf that holds back several feet of sea level rise. They will be the last seven humans to set foot on this crumbling ice.
WHOSE DREAM ARE YOU LIVING
Production Company: Ayvision Ltd (Iran)
Director: Mohammad Tabarsa
Producers: Mahnaz Tafaghi, Mohammad Tabarsa
The announcement of the first ever music competition on Iranian television sparks an inner fire for Hanif in a forbidden atmosphere.
Production Companies: NoCut Film Collective (India), CinemaPaar Productions (India)
Directors: Deeksha Ketkar, Nachiket Guttikar
Producers: Arya Rothe, Isabella Rinaldi, Cristina Hanes, Nachiket Guttikar, Deeksha Ketkar
An intimate portrait of a politician from a deceptively quiet Indian village, who must choose between his career ambitions and his family’s demands, after his teenage son takes a radical step behind his back.
The Hot Docs Forum wishes to thank Presenting Forum Sponsor the Directors Guild of Canada and Founding Partner Telefilm Canada. The Hot Docs Forum receives additional support from Banff World Media Festival, Blue Ice Pictures, C21 Media, Canada Media Fund, Canadian Media Producers Association, CBC, Chiledoc, Crave, European Film Promotion, Front Row Insurance, Gardiner Roberts LLP, Italian Trade Commission, L'Alliance des producteurs francophones du Canada (APFC), National Film Board of Canada, Netflix, Ontario Creates, Realscreen, Rogers Group of Funds, Scotia Wealth Management, SODEC and the City of Toronto.