Astral Media commits $150,000 to launch new scholarship programme with Hot Docs



    TORONTO, Jan. 17 /CNW/ - Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary
Festival and Astral Media are pleased to announce a partnership to create The
Astral Media Emerging Documentary Filmmakers Scholarship Programme. These new
scholarship opportunities are made possible by a three-year commitment from
Astral Media to provide a total of $150,000 towards the funding of the
programme, which will allow 25 up-and-coming filmmakers from Quebec and
British Columbia to participate in an array of professional and creative
development opportunities at this year's Hot Docs Festival and Conference,
April 17 to 27, 2008.
    "Astral Media's commitment to supporting emerging filmmakers from British
Columbia and Quebec should be applauded," says Chris McDonald, Hot Docs'
Executive Director. "We are looking forward to collaborating with Astral Media
to shape this exciting new initiative."
    "The support of emerging filmmakers is a commitment of Astral Media that
dates back to the founding of the company and the establishment of such
initiatives as The Astral Media Harold Greenberg Fund/Le Fond Harold
Greenberg. We are pleased to now extend this support to include documentary
filmmakers," says John Riley, President of Astral Media Television Networks.
"Documentary programming has pride of place on many of our specialty and pay
networks and we are pleased to be part of an initiative that will provide
Canadian documentarians with unique opportunities to develop, learn and
succeed in their chosen genre."
    The programme is comprised of three components: The Doc U Scholarship
Programme, the Kickstart Series Bursary Programme and the Toronto Documentary
Forum (TDF) Scholarship Programme.
    Astral Media's Doc U Scholarship Programme provides five emerging
filmmakers from Quebec and British Columbia with enrollment in the week-long
Doc U programme. Now in its third year, Doc U provides doc-makers who are
completing, or who have recently completed film school with invaluable
behind-the-scenes festival experience through mentorship and curated sessions
with industry professionals. Astral Media's Doc U Scholarship Programme will
enable students from outside of Ontario to participate, providing a $1,000
travel stipend as well as full industry accreditation to Hot Docs festival,
conference and market events.
    The Kickstart Series Bursaries will provide 15 to 20 emerging filmmakers
from Quebec and British Columbia with enrollment to the Kickstart programme, a
day-long series of panels held during the Hot Docs conference that are geared
to emerging and mid-career directors. Kickstart Bursaries will also provide
recipients with full industry accreditation to Hot Docs festival, conference
and market events.
    The Toronto Documentary Forum (TDF) Scholarship will provide full TDF
Observer accreditation to two emerging filmmakers, one from BC and one from
Quebec. Hot Docs' renowned market event, the TDF is a unique presentation
forum that assists independent documentary producers from around the world and
their market partners to raise co-financing from the international
marketplace. For buyers, the format offers a slate of pre-selected projects in
development and production by some of the world's most provocative filmmakers.
    Hot Docs and Astral Media will organize a jury of film and television
professionals to individually evaluate each submission package and to select
the 25 recipients. For more details, including application requirements,
please visit www.hotdocs.ca

    Hot Docs, North America's largest documentary festival, will present its
15th annual edition from April 17 - 27, 2008. An outstanding selection of 120+
documentaries from Canada and around the world will be presented to Toronto
audiences and international delegates. Hot Docs will also mount a full roster
of professional development and market events for documentary practitioners,
including the renowned Toronto Documentary Forum happening April 23 and 24.

    Astral Media is a leading Canadian media company, active in specialty,
pay and pay-per-view television, radio, outdoor advertising and iMedia. Astral
Media's solid and dynamic presence in the country's major markets rests on its
commitment to offer a unique combination of high-quality, targeted media for
all its audiences.





For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: Virginia Kelly, VK &
Associates, (416) 466-9799; Deborah Wilson, Vice President Communications,
(416) 956-8558, dwilson@tv.astral.com

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Astral Media Inc.

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