Hot Docs Postpones 2020 Festival Amidst Covid-19 Pandemic

By Pat Mullen

North America’s largest documentary event joins the list of festivals to postpone or cancel their 2020 editions in light of the growing Coronavirus pandemic. Hot Docs just announced that it will postpone this year’s festival following advisories and precautionary measures outlined in response to the COVID-19 situation. This year’s festival, which was scheduled to run April 30 to May 10, will move events to a later date as the situation develops.

Other premiere documentary festivals including SXSW, Thessaloniki, CPH:DOX and Tribeca have either been cancelled outright or are occurring as online events. Kingston Canadian Film Festival was cancelled in the midst of its run and most movie theatres are currently operating at fifty percent capacity as a preventative measure.

We will keep readers apprised with more information about Hot Docs as details emerge.

Here is Hot Docs’ release in full below:

Hot Docs regrets to announce that due to the recent declaration by the World Health Organization of COVID-19 as a pandemic, and with the health and safety of Hot Docs participants at our festival as our first priority, we will be postponing this year’s festival, which was scheduled for April 30-May 10 in Toronto.

This follows Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer having called for the immediate suspension of gatherings with more than 250 people and also having learned that many companies are placing restrictions on their employees’ attendance at large events.

We remain committed to bringing these outstanding documentary films to our audiences and are currently investigating ways that we can do so at a later date.

We also intend to replace the onsite industry events, scheduled to take place during the Festival.

Plans are currently underway to bring together filmmakers, producers and industry decision makers in an online environment and to virtually deliver the event’s valuable pitch presentations and one-on-one meetings.

While we are deeply disappointed by having to make these announcements, these decisions were made after consultations with major partners, stakeholders, and local public health authorities.

Each year, Hot Docs brings together audiences of over 220,000, along with thousands of filmmakers and industry delegates from over 55 countries.

Our team is currently reaching out to filmmakers, audiences, registered delegates, partners, funders, suppliers and other stakeholders involved with the 2020 Festival.

We will continue to provide updates as details of our planning to bring the outstanding documentary films to our audiences become available, and to deliver the event’s valuable sessions to filmmakers, producers and decision makers.

Thank you to our Hot Docs community for your patience and understanding as we undergo this difficult process.