Half a century ago, Africa was represented by Western filmmakers who portrayed the continent as an exotic land with neither history nor culture. That has changed. Today, the Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund, a grant program is providing financial support to African documentary filmmakers to tell their own story for development and production.
The Development grants of $3000 – $10,000 and Production grants of $5000 – $40,000 are awarded to approximately four to 10 creative projects annually.
While African film production dates back to early 2oth century when film reels were the primary cinematic technology in use, it has indeed come a long way. Gone are the days when native Africans were prohibited to make their own films without any help. Now in the 21st century, the $1-million Fund has been created to help enable more African documentary filmmakers to tell their own stories and contribute to a new generation of the African documentary community.
To date, the Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund has awarded a total of $383,000 to 23 projects. The Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund will provide successful applicants with a development grant of between $3,000 and $10,000 CDN which could reflect up to 100 per cent of the development budget.
According to Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group organizers, in addition to financing, the initiative also offers valuable resources to support production and professional development, and offers filmmakers opportunities to access the international documentary community. Through an accompanying peer-to-peer mentorship program, grantees are allowed to team up with international production partners to bring their projects to international markets, festivals, broadcast and online audiences.
Applications are open to professional filmmakers who are citizens and residents of continental Africa and are also living and working in the region. Additionally, grantees will have travel, accommodation and accreditation support to attend Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Filmmakers Lab.
The Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund is expected to provide successful applicants with a Production Grant of between $5,000 and $40,000 CDN to maximum of 50 per cent of the production budget. Eligible costs include those that are standard in the industry during production and post-production.
Grant money is expected to be spent in the region on development activities and pre-production. Eligible costs include research, development of a script and story proposal and production of a teaser or trailer. Other eligible costs may include production of pitch and marketing materials, community engagement strategy research as well as distribution strategy research.
The application period for the 2014 round of disbursement is now open, with a final deadline of August 22, 2014, at 5:00 pm EST.