Hussain Currimbhoy (photo by Veronika Kovalchuk) and Heather Haynes (photo by Nadya Kwandibens, Red Works)

Hot Docs Names Hussain Currimbhoy Artistic Director, Heather Haynes Director of Festival Programming

Currimbhoy promises new artistic vision for festival

4 mins read

Hussain Currimbhoy is the new artistic director of Hot Docs. The festival announced Currimbhoy’s appointment today via a release. Currimbhoy takes over the position from Shane Smith, who stepped down from the role in June after eight years with the festival.

The Toronto-born Currimbhoy will oversee programming for Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, Toronto’s Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, and the education program Docs for Schools. Hot Docs also announced today the promotion of veteran international programmer and associate director of festival programming Heather Haynes to the role of director of festival programming. Both appointments are effective immediately.

“I am delighted to welcome Hussain to the Hot Docs team, where he will curate the next chapter of our organization’s story,” said Hot Docs president Marie Nelson in a statement. “I am confident that with his unique vision, tremendous experience, and remarkable talents, he will successfully steer Hot Docs’ programming team into an exciting new phase.” Nelson joined the festival earlier this year following the departure of long-time president Chris McDonald.

Currimbhoy comes to Hot Docs with extensive experience as a programmer, producer, and director. His work on the festival circuit includes roles with Sundance, Sheffield DocFest, Melbourne International Film Festival, and Nordisk Panorama Film Festival, among other international festivals. Over the years, he’s developed a reputation for championing underrepresented voices and filmmakers from marginalised groups. As an executive producer, his credits include this year’s Praying for Armageddon, which screened at Hot Docs, and Hollywoodgate, which premiered at the Venice and Telluride film festivals this year. As a director, his credits include the 2019 documentary LIGO: The Way the Universe Is, I Think, which screened at DOC NYC.

“It is an absolute honour to take up this position with one of my favourite film festivals, and in my hometown, no less,” added Currimbhoy, who made a pledge to bring a new vision to the festival programming. “Our aim is to deepen our Festival and year-round programming to provide even more opportunities for our audiences to engage with the best of documentary film in all its forms. I am excited to get started and to continue this vital endeavour of showcasing creative, unique docs by the world’s most exciting filmmakers in Toronto, while also sharing the richness of Canada’s extraordinary, diverse talent with the world.”

Haynes, meanwhile, has been a constant presence at Hot Docs having been with the organization for 17 years. Her selections as a programmer include the world premiere of Oscar winner Cynthia Wade and Sasha Friedlander’s Grit (2018); Claudia Sparrow’s Maxima, which won the audience award at Hot Docs 2019; and Maite Alberdi’s The Eternal Memory, which is among the frontrunners for Best Documentary in this year’s Oscar race.

Hot Docs also announced the following team of programmers for next year’s festival: Programming Manager Kristin Boivin, Programming Administrative Coordinator Sadia Ali, Senior International Features and Shorts Programmer Angie Driscoll, Senior Canadian Programmer Alex Rogalski, Senior International Programmer Myrocia Watamaniuk, and programmers Samah Ali, Vivian Belik, Jesse Cumming, Gugi Gumilang, Lucila Moctezuma, Margaret Pereira, Gabor Pertic, Kaitlynn Tomaselli (associate programmer), Mariam Zaidi, Yiqian Zhang (associate programmer). Hot Docs 2024 runs April 25 to May 5.

Pat Mullen is the publisher of POV Magazine. He holds a Master’s in Film Studies from Carleton University where his research focused on adaptation and Canadian cinema. Pat has also contributed to outlets including The Canadian Encyclopedia, Paste, That Shelf, Sharp, Xtra, and Complex. He is the vice president of the Toronto Film Critics Association and an international voter for the Golden Globe Awards.

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