Hot Docs Moves Industry Elements Online for 2020 Festival


By Patrick Mullen

This year’s industry components for Hot Docs are moving online. The festival announced today via a release that Hot Docs’ signature industry events would all pivot to digital in an effort to adapt to the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Hot Docs recently announced the postponement of all festival events, but updates of public screenings are not yet available. (Hot Docs was set to unveil its line-up March 24.) Online events will begin with the festival’s regularly scheduled start date of April 30.

The festival also announced that it will be offering strategies to support businesses during this period that has distributed the film industry and festival circuit. These supports include emergency funding and mental health services.

Pitches for this year’s Hot Docs Forum will be done remotely through video conferencing. This opportunity, Hot Docs’ signature industry event, still lets the selected teams deliver their project ideas to top decision makers in the field. Feedback loops will occur via video and all pitches/comments will be available to industry delegates online. (The Forum is generally not open to the public or to media, anyway.)

Similarly, meetings for the Hot Docs Deal Maker and Distribution Rendezvous will offer remote one-on-one sessions. Further details on set-up and process will be made available to participants and delegates leading up to the festival. Hot Docs will also host its regular Doc Shop online with curated playlists of festival selections and submissions on-demand. Similarly, master class events such as the Close Up With… series will occur via video. All industry content will be available for delegates through May 31.

“Hot Docs is committed to supporting documentarians and our film community during this unprecedented time,” said Elizabeth Radshaw, industry programs director for Hot Docs in a statement. “Although it will never replace the powerful human connection of coming together in community, we’re grateful to be able to host our industry activities virtually, allowing all of us to support outstanding and outspoken films get made.”

We will provide more updates when they are available.