$115K Awarded to Seven African Documentary Projects by Hot Docs-Blue Ice Docs Fund

Short Summary:

Hot Docs and Blue Ice Docs announced the recipients of $115,000 in grants to support seven African documentary projects. Selected from 108 applications across 26 countries, the projects will receive development, production, and post-production grants. This initiative, marking its thirteenth year, aims to empower African filmmakers and amplify their voices on the global stage.

Hot Docs and Blue Ice Docs have announced the allocation of $115,000 in grants to support seven African documentary projects. These grants, which include development, production, and post-production funding, aim to empower African filmmakers and contribute to the next generation of documentary talent. This initiative, now in its thirteenth year, continues to play a vital role in the industry by amplifying the voices of African documentary filmmakers.

The recipients were selected from a pool of 108 applications spanning 26 countries. The chosen projects represent a diverse range of voices and stories from across the African continent. Three projects will receive development grants, two will be awarded production grants, and two will benefit from post-production grants.

“These brilliant filmmakers have presented unique and relevant projects that showcase their unwavering vision, talent, passion, and storytelling prowess,” shared Elizabeth Radshaw, Hot Docs’ Director of Industry Programs. “We are proud to champion their vision as they progress towards the completion of their projects.”

The Fund provides development grants of up to $10,000 and production grants of up to $40,000 to four to ten projects annually. Each year, up to five funded projects are invited to participate in a year-long mentorship program, which includes private filmmaker labs at Hot Docs and the Durban FilmMart/Durban International Film Festival or other festivals and markets in Africa. The Fund also collaborates with The New York Times—Op-Docs to commission shorts from African filmmakers to be showcased on The Times’s Emmy® Award–winning online forum.

Since its establishment in 2011, the Hot Docs-Blue Ice Docs Fund has supported 100 unique projects from 26 countries, with $1,433,000 granted to date. “The Hot Docs-Blue Ice Docs Fund continues to play an essential role in the industry, nurturing and amplifying the voices of bold African doc filmmakers, while helping them launch their non-fiction projects and deliver these vital stories to a global audience,” added Neil Tabatznik, Hot Docs-Blue Ice Docs co-founder. “Many congratulations to this year’s recipients; I look forward to seeing their projects grow and succeed.”

Eligible projects were considered by the Hot Docs-Blue Ice Docs Fund Committee, which included Ayman El Amir (Felucca Films), Elizabeth Radshaw, María José Arauz, Khalid Shamis (TubaFilms), and Maia von Lekow (Circle & Square Productions).

Applications for the next round of disbursements will start on October 2, 2024.

Selected Projects:

Development Grants:

  • AKAL
    Director: Basma Rkioui
    Producer: Basma Rkioui
    Production Company: Kasbah Films
    Country: Morocco
    In the Moroccan mountains, a tribe of shepherds faces winter disruptions from skiers. The director, a former skier, revisits her memories and explores the land's hidden mysteries.
  • LOOKING FOR THE MERMAID
    Director: Yara Costa
    Production Company: YC FILMS
    Country: Mozambique
    On an island off the Indian Ocean, a fisherman married a mermaid and women chanted to the sea. Now, the disappearing mermaid must be found before the island goes underwater.
  • WE HAD THE MOON!
    Director: Pamella Edouard
    Producers: Pamella Edouard, Zipporah Nyaruri
    Production Companies: Dousma Dousma Productions, Visual Asili Limited
    Countries: Mauritius, Kenya
    A filmmaker documents the testimonies of Chagossians evicted from their islands for a US/UK military base, revealing a shocking episode of British colonial history.

Production Grants:

  • SPACEMAN IN KONGO
    Director: Maisha Maene
    Producers: Maisha Maene, Leo Nelki, Dale Dobson, Josune Hahnheiser
    Production Company: Maene Film Production
    Country: Democratic Republic of Congo
    Two young rocket engineers in Congo work on building the first Congolese space program, inspired by the dreams of African visionaries.
  • THE WHITE DOCTOR
    Director: Zippy Kimundu
    Producers: Zippy Kimundu, Ciaran Cassidy
    Production Companies: Afrofilms International, Little Wing Films
    Country: Kenya
    An American missionary is accused of pretending to be a doctor in Uganda, leading to the deaths of over a hundred children.

Post-Production Grants:

  • COPPER QUEENS
    Directors: Nyasha Kadandara, Sam Soko
    Producer: Sam Soko
    Production Companies: LBx Africa
    Countries: Kenya
    Zambia’s women's soccer team, the Copper Queens, makes a historic World Cup debut, overcoming societal barriers and internal struggles.
  • TRUCK MAMA
    Director: Zipporah Nyaruri
    Producers: Zipporah Nyaruri, Portia Cele
    Production Companies: Visual Asili Limited, MoonBow Productions
    Countries: Kenya, South Africa
    A woman finds freedom driving a 20-ton truck across East Africa’s notorious highway, but faces challenges after giving birth to her youngest child.