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Woman in yellow gazes out across water
The Shore Break (D: Ryley Grunenwald)

Development grants of up to $10,000 CAD and production grants of up to $40,000 CAD to four to ten projects annually. Up to five funded projects will be invited to participate in a year-long mentorship program.

Applications for the 2024 round of funding will open on October 2, 2024​.

The mission and outcomes of the Hot Docs-Blue Ice Docs Fund are reviewed annually and these guidelines are subject to change.

Questions? Check our FAQs or Contact [email protected]

The Hot Docs-Blue Ice Docs Fund (HDBID) is a fund for filmmakers who live and work on the African continent. The Fund offers grants in Development and Production for feature or broadcast-length documentaries. Approximately 4 to 10 projects are awarded each year. All successful applications will also be considered for a mentorship program.
  Feature or Broadcast-Length Production
Development Grant Up to $10,000
Grant can reflect up to 100% of the development budget.
Production Grant Up to $40,000
Grant can reflect up to 50% of the production budget.

Short Documentary Grant
All eligible projects submitted to HDBID Fund will also be considered for The New York Times—Op-Docs short documentary, unless the applicant indicates otherwise. Op-Docs is a forum for short, opinionated documentaries, produced by independent filmmakers with wide creative latitude, covering current affairs, contemporary life and historical subjects. This does not affect your current or future application to HDBID Fund. It is possible to receive support from both Op-Docs and Hot Docs-Blue Ice Docs Fund or none. Learn more about Op-Docs.


Up to five funded projects will be invited to participate in a year-long mentorship program guided by international mentors, consisting of a private digital filmmaker lab, year-round mentorship from seasoned doc professionals, and participation at Hot Docs and Durban FilmMart/Durban International Film Festival. Historically, these fellowships included round-trip travel, accommodation and accreditation support for these international markets and festivals.


The applicant must:

  • Be the producer and primary rights holder of the project
  • Have a registered production company that is associated with the project in a country on the African continent listed in our FAQ section

In all cases both the director and producer must:

  • Hold citizenship, or have legal permanent residency, and primarily live and work in Africa. A complete list of funded countries can be found in the FAQ section
  • Have at least one previous professional credit to their name
  • Be in good standing with Hot Docs by application date

The project must:

  • Be produced and shot in Africa
  • Be either a high-quality feature or broadcast-hour length documentary to audiences both locally and internationally (school work, series, and fiction pieces are not eligible)
  • Be in development, production or post-production as of April 2024. The Fund will not consider projects that will be completed by Hot Docs 2024.

Eligibility for re-application:

  • A project can submit to the Development Fund and, then submit to the Production Fund at a later deadline, whether or not the Development Fund application was successful.
  • Submitted projects that do not receive funding may submit a maximum of one additional time only in another stream within the fund. Requests for resubmission must be received in writing to [email protected]. In some instances, the selection committee may invite a project to resubmit and they will be notified directly.

Please note:

  • Applicants who have misrepresented their primary residency on the application and/or in written or verbal correspondence with Hot Docs will not be considered for the grant selection and may have their grants revoked.


The online application must be submitted in English on or before the deadline. There is no application fee. All materials received by Hot Docs are confidential.

Read the eligibility rules, guidelines and FAQ section before proceeding to the online application form.

Application Questions & Required Supporting Documents
To learn more about the application questions and required supporting documents, please review our Required Information document. This information is for reference only; all applicants must complete an online application.

Applications for the 2024 round of funding will open on October 2, 2024​.


Applicants will be informed of the Selection Committee’s decision approximately four months after the submission deadline.

Applications deemed complete and eligible will be submitted to the Hot Docs-Blue Ice Docs Fund Advisory, made up of documentary industry professionals who live and work in Africa, and selections will be made thereafter in conjunction with representatives from Hot Docs and Blue Ice Docs.

Decision Criteria
Applications will be evaluated based on feasibility, production ability, creative merit, audience, and fit with mandate. For more information, please review the detailed breakdown.

Projects in consideration of an application for The New York Times—Op-Docs, in collaboration with Hot Docs-Blue Ice Docs Fund will be based on the criteria listed above, as well as the project’s potential for success on the Op-Docs platform.

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