Hot Docs Festival is an annual, Canadian, charitable event, based in Toronto. It is dedicated to celebrating the art of documentary. It offers a stage for both home grown and international documentaries. Beyond the screenings, it offers professional development, marketplace and networking opportunities for documentary makers. The festival is open to the public and in 2014, played host to 192,000 attendees.
The Hot Docs is a vibrant mix of public and professional films and events. It is the largest festival of its type in North America. Its mission is to “advance and celebrate the art of documentary, and to showcase the work of and create production opportunities for documentary filmmakers.” In 2015 it runs from April 23 – May 3, 2015, and will feature Canadian and international competitive programs, an international documentary market, The Doc Shop, and the Hot Docs Forum (April 29 & 30). In 2014, the conference and marketplace attracted over 2000 industry delegates from around the world, including documentary filmmakers, buyers, programmers, distributors and commissioning editors.
Founded in 1993 by the Documentary Organization of Canada, it filled a void left by the Grierson Seminar. Initially, it was a promotional vehicle for the organization’s filmmakers. In 1998, it was put on a more professional footing by Chris McDonald, formerly of the Canadian Film Centre. It remains largely run by committed volunteers who are responsible for the smooth running of the festival. In 2011, it revived the Bloor Cinema to become the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, giving not only a focal point for the festival, but a year around venue for documentaries and education. Hot Docs occupies Toronto’s lively downtown core. King Street to Yorkville, the University of Toronto campus to Little Italy – are taken over by Hot Docs screenings, their audiences and international delegates. Beyond the traditional core festival area Hot Docs operates in the Beaches, Davisville and Roncesvalles neighbourhoods.
Hot Docs presents 13 awards and $66,000 in cash and prizes to Canadian and international filmmakers. These include awards for Festival films in competition and those recognizing emerging and established filmmakers.
In 2014, Award Winners included:
- Emerging Canadian Filmmaker Award – Grant Baldwin, JUST EAT IT: A FOOD WASTE STORY
- Best International Feature Documentary Award – WAITING FOR AUGUST
- Special Jury Prize – International Feature Documentary – WALKING UNDER WATER
- Best Mid-Length Documentary Award – KINGS OF THE WIND & ELECTRIC QUEENS