Monday, March 30, 2009

Doc Challenge Results

Just received the email below.... Congratulations to all the finalists. We'll try again next year.

Hello Doc Challenge Filmmakers,

The moment you have all been waiting for: our first round judges have completed their voting which determined the 13 finalists for the 2009 International Documentary Challenge. (Due to a tie there are 13 finalists instead of 12.) There are many, many great films this year. Many more than just 13: in total, 116 films were finished by the deadline and eligible for awards.

This is the hardest part of my job because there are always more disappointed filmmakers than happy ones. As a filmmaker myself, I know exactly how much time, energy and mania went into the creation of your film. And I also know the sting of what feels like rejection (but is really just non-selection.) But please believe me when I reiterate what many have said before: that film selection is subjective, and what's selected by our judges represents a small sliver of the many quality films submitted. I want you to know that many of the films were rated highly and it is a narrow distinction between being a finalist and missing the cut. So if you're not on this list, keep your head up and keep making films.

Also - before I get to the finalists, I want to mention that ALL of the Doc Challenge films, whether finalists or not, will be screened by several broadcasters and distributors. So don't be too discouraged if you aren't a finalist. I will send more information on this later.

Here are the finalists (in alphabetical order by film name):

1."Beautiful Reasons"
Team: Noonday Films
City/State/Country: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Genre: Biography/Character Study
Theme(s): Hope and Fear
Synopsis: An intimate look at one man's struggle with fear and anxiety, and the beautiful reasons that he has to resist them.

2. "Dark Material"
Team: Reel Grrls
City/State/Country: Seattle, Washington, USA
Genre: Art
Theme(s): Hope and Fear
Synopsis: Childhood fears of the dark resurface in the work of three artists.

3. "Forty Foot"
Team: An Lar
City/Country: Dublin, Ireland
Genre: Historical
Theme(s): Hope and Fear
Synopsis: 4ºC at the Forty Foot.

4. "Fragile Ground"
Team: Polar Star Films
City/Country: Barcelona, Spain
Genre: Experimental
Theme(s): Hope and Fear
Synopsis: A visual poem about seeds and their role in the battlefield between variety and uniformity.

5. "Ghosts"
Team: Shed Collective
City/Country: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Genre: Experimental
Theme(s): Hope and Fear
Synopsis: Every violin has it's own unique voice but only certain instruments have something to say.

6. "The Greasy Pole"
Team: Gloucester to Gloucester Films
City/Country: Gloucester, Massachusetts, USA
Genre: Sports
Theme(s): Hope and Fear
Synopsis: The bravest and the boldest of Gloucester's Fishermen risk all for the glory of a Greasy Pole Championship.

7. "A Healing Art"
Team: Fly on the Wall
City/Country: Seattle, Washington, USA
Genre: Art
Theme(s): Hope and Fear
Synopsis: Artificial eye makers rekindle hope for victims of tragedy.

8. "Lorelei Lee"
Team: First Touch Films
Genre: San Francisco, California, USA
Theme(s): Fear
Synopsis: Porn performer Lorelei Lee challenges common perception of sex workers.

9. "Nagashima"
Team: Takashi Sugimoto
City/Country: Lisbon, Portugal
Genre: Art
Theme(s): Hope
Synopsis: A painter, Nagashima's hope of perfecting his art.

10. "Pipe Dream"
Team: Mirror
City/Country: Portland, Oregon, USA
Genre: Nature
Theme(s): Hope and Fear
Synopsis: We need green energy, but at what cost?

11. "Time Well Spent"
Team: JAGS
City/Country: Poughkeepsie, New York, USA
Genre: Social Issue/Political
Theme(s): Hope and Fear
Synopsis: An antique clock enthusiast expounds on the problems of an increasingly rationalized society, and mourns the lost of human heart and touch involved in daily communication.

12. "The Violin Maker"
Team: Frenetic Productions
City/Country: Seattle, Washington, USA
Genre: Biography/Character Study
Theme(s): Hope
Synopsis: A portrait of Doug Yule, violin maker.

13. "Wu Tang Gran"
Team: Mandarin Film
City/Country: Beijing, China
Genre: Social Issue/Political
Theme(s): Hope and Fear
Synopsis: Wu Tang Gran grew up with the party - the Communist Party - and has lived through some pretty tough times, but will this 70 year old and her crew be able to meet their greatest challenge yet - a break-dance battle against Beijing's finest hip-hop crew?

These 13 finalists will screen on the evening of Saturday, May 9 at 9:00pm at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival in Toronto where the winners will be announced. All finalists will receive 2 complimentary industry passes to Hot Docs (a $1,200 value), the POV Award Winner will receive $1,000, the DER Award winner will receive $1,000 and the Grand Prize Winner will receive $1,000. In addition, other awards (such as Best Cinematography, Best Editing, etc.) will be announced on May 9.

NOTE: Non-finalists are still eligible for the Best Use of Genre awards. We will announce those awards after Hot Docs.

Congratulations to all of the finalists! And to all of the other filmmakers who finished their films by the deadline – a heroic feat in and of itself.


Doug Whyte
Doc Challenge Producer

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