Hot Docs to Honor Ally Derks

Amsterdam doc fest founder to receive 2011 Doc Mogul Award at Canadian festival


Ally Derks, the founder and director of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), is to receive the Doc Mogul Award at the 2011 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in Toronto.

Hot Docs organizers said the tribute will be made for Derks' key role in encouraging the financing and distribution of the documentary film genre, not least through arranging financing through international co-productions.

"As a founder of one of the world's most important documentary film festivals, Ally's contribution to international documentary culture is unparalleled," Hot Docs director of programming Sean Farnel said Tuesday.

The Canadian doc festival has followed the IDFA in introducing a pitch forum where factual film producers can secure financing from international commissioning editors attending Hot Docs.

Ironically, Derks' achievement award in Toronto comes as documentary production is under siege due to severe budget cuts from international broadcasters and national governments, especially in Europe.

To compensate, Hot Docs is to bring in a bigger slate of doc funders, including foundations and cross-media platforms, for its upcoming pitch forum, and set aside more time for fest delegates to network and do possible deals.

The Hot Docs forum allows documentary producers to pitch their projects to a round-table of film buyers and funders, enabling filmmakers to boost the profile of their projects and possibly complete their financing.

"The Hot Docs Forum is changing because the industry is changing, but the overarching goal will remain the same: to successfully match content with financing and support," Elizabeth Radshaw, Hot Docs forum and market director, explained. Hot Docs is set to run from April 28 to May 8 in Toronto.