Just A Band, a documentary by Kenyan filmmaker Mbithi Masya and co-directed by Canadian Anjali Nayar, won second prize of the First Look Pitch Prize at this year’s Hot Doc Forum Festival.
The 27th annual Hot Doc Canadian International Documentary Festival was originally scheduled to take place from April 30 to May 10 in Toronto but was cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Twenty-two projects were chosen from 463 submissions to compete at the Hot Docs Forum in early April.
The competition was a virtual interactive version of Hot Docs premier industry event via Zoom.
Nayar and Masya won CA$15,000 for Just A Band, a fictional coming of age story of four people living in Nairobi who form an Afro-electric band during Kenya’s post dictatorship art renaissance. The documentary was a Canadian and Kenyan production collaboration by Ink & Pepper Productions (Canada) and Afrobubblegum productions (Kenya).
The first prize went to Ha Le Diem’s Children of the Mist, which came with a CA$ 30,000 cash award. The Vietnamese feature film narrates the story of a teenage girl in the mountains of North Vietnam growing from childhood to adulthood.
Masya began his career in advertising, then expanded his creativity through Just A Band where he directed music videos, video art exhibitions, fashion short films and music variety shows. He has won other international awards including the International Federation for Film Critics award in the Discovery Programme at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival for his first feature film Kati Kati.