The 2023 Hot Docs Podcast Festival will kick-off with a celebration of the 10-year anniversary of CANADALAND. Hot Docs released the full line-up for this year’s festival today with events starting on October 19 as journalist Jesse Brown welcomes a chorus of CANADALAND voices to reflect upon a decade in podcasting. Participants include CANADALAND’s Jonathan Goldsbie, Arshy Mann, and Mattea Roach. In the last ten years, the podcast has grown as a leader for independent long-form audio journalism with stories diving into topics like CBC’s mishandling of Snowden leaks, reporting on the Jian Ghomeshi trial, and extended conversations about the realities of filmmaking in Canada.
“We are thrilled to announce the eagerly awaited in-person return of the Hot Docs Podcast Festival,” said Will Di Novi, lead programmer, in a statement from Hot Docs. “With some of the brightest stars in the podcast landscape converging in Toronto from October 19 to 22, this year’s Festival will feature captivating stories and thought-provoking conversations. We hope that it will inspire both our passionately curious public audiences and the talented creators who attend our industry programs.”
Other highlights in this year’s Podcast Festival, which runs October 19 to 22 at Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, include The New Yorker’s Fiction with CanLit legend Margaret Atwood joining host Deborah Treisman in the podcast’s first live recording. The event will include a live reading of one of Atwood’s favourite New Yorker stories and a conversation about all things storytelling.
Meanwhile, Tom Power of CBC’s Q will sit down with Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew. The member of Toronto’s indie rock collective will share a short documentary about the release of his forthcoming solo album Aging. The event will include a musical performance along with a career-spanning conversation about Drew’s experience in the Canadian music scene.
Creators Forum Returns
On the food front, Hot Docs Podcast Festival invites audiences to munch on Bon Appétit’s Dinner SOS podcast. Hosted by Chris Morocco, the event will feature special guests who will answer all culinary related questions and offer tips and tricks. (And hopefully not set off the fire alarm during the live recording.) Meanwhile, hosts Falen Johnson and Leah-Simone Bowen will take the stage for a special edition of one of the nation’s most popular podcasts, The Secret Life of Canada. The series unearths hidden facts about the land of the maple leaf that don’t appear in high school textbooks. Previously announced events include the fashion podcast Articles of Interest with Avery Trufelman and the spin-doctor show Under the Influence with Terry O’Reilly.
The Hot Docs Podcast Festival also dips into the industry side of audio storytelling with the return of the Creators Forum. Featuring industry leaders, decision makers, hosts, and producers, the forum offers networking opportunities with publishers and broadcasters, along with journalists leading some of the top series. Highlights include Celebrating Indigenous Voice in which Hot Docs and the Indigenous Screen Office will invite three Indigenous creatives to join in a conversation about the relationship between podcasting and Indigenous traditions of oral storytelling.
Other sessions offer insiders’ advice about how to build a career in the Canadian podcast industry, along with guidance on the make-or-break factor for any podcast: the launch. 99% Invisible‘s Chris Berube and The Globe and Mail’s Adrian Cheung, meanwhile, sit down to discuss the nuances of packaging a narrative arc in an episode, while Condé Nast’s senior VP of global audio, Chris Bannon (formerly of Stitcher) offers a Masterclass talk about the voices and approaches that inspire him to develop a series.
The full 2023 Hot Docs Podcast Festival live line-up is as follows:
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 19
Ten years ago, journalist Jesse Brown picked up a microphone and launched Canadaland to give audiences an opportunity to sit in on off-the-record conversations that journalists have when nobody is listening. A decade in, Canadaland has become one of our country’s preeminent media outlets and independent podcast networks: breaking news, starting national conversations, holding the powerful to account, telling stories otherwise unreported, and proving that Canada is anything but boring. To open the Hot Docs Podcast Festival, join Jesse Brown (host, CANADALAND), Arshy Mann (host, COMMONS), Jonathan Goldsbie (host, Wag the Doug), Mattea Roach (host, The Backbench), along with a stacked roster of Canadaland contributors, frenemies, and some very special guests for a 10th-anniversary live podcast recording. Prepare for bold conversations, unexpected surprises, and an evening where we get together to talk shit about the news.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 20
ARTICLES OF INTEREST – WITH AVERY TRUFELMAN, FEATURING SPECIAL GUESTS AURORA JAMES AND ELIZABETH SEMMELHACK
Named one of the 10 best podcasts of the year by The New Yorker and The New York Times, Avery Trufelman’s hit fashion podcast Articles of Interest teams up with the influential designer and activist Aurora James and shoe historian Elizabeth Semmelhack for what is sure to be a memorable conversation. On the Hot Docs Cinema stage, these influential tastemakers will discuss James’s new memoir, Wildflower, and her innovative design practices which have led to zeitgeist-defining pieces for the likes of Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Take an immersive journey through the aesthetic influences and creative practice of the Toronto-raised, NYC-based James, who recently graced the cover of Vogue: from the founding of her award-winning label, Brother Vellies, to her groundbreaking campaigns on behalf of Black businesses in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 21
THE SECRET LIFE OF CANADA
It’s the show Dan Savage calls “consistently wonderful,” and every historian (and would-be historian) from ages nine to 99 can’t get enough of: CBC Podcasts’ The Secret Life of Canada is returning to Hot Docs Podcast Festival! Join beloved hosts Falen Johnson and Leah-Simone Bowen for a live show on the beautiful, weird and terrible things you didn’t learn in high school, paired with their sharp, observant and hilarious commentary.
THE NEW YORKER FICTION PODCAST – FEATURING MARGARET ATWOOD
At this first-ever live episode of The New Yorker’s Fiction podcast, host Deborah Treisman will take the Hot Docs stage with another literary legend, Margaret Atwood. In this beloved monthly podcast, the world’s leading writers join host Treisman, The New Yorker’s celebrated fiction editor, for a reading and discussion of a brilliant short story from the magazine’s archives. At Hot Docs Podcast Festival, we will hear a reading of one of Atwood’s favourite New Yorker stories and engage in an extended conversation on the art and craft of bringing great stories to life.
DINNER SOS – WITH BON APPÉTIT FOOD DIRECTOR CHRIS MOROCCO
We’ve all been there: cooking emergencies, kitchen dilemmas, dinner party disasters. Bon Appétit’s brilliant new podcast, Dinner SOS, is here to save the day—and they’re gathering their friends to help guide the cooking-curious and food-obsessed to success. At this special live event, Bon Appétit’s food director Chris Morocco will invite some of his favourite food experts to the Hot Docs stage to take your most pressing culinary questions—and offer up their mouth-watering tips, tricks and solutions. Stay tuned as we announce special guests! Come ready to join the party and learn from these expert cooks in a one-of-a-kind celebration of food, glorious food.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 22
UNDER THE INFLUENCE WITH TERRY O’REILLY
One of Apple Podcasts Top Shows and Most-Followed Shows of 2022, Terry O’Reilly’s pioneering podcast Under The Influence has over 7.5 million annual listeners in Canada. At this year’s festival, host O’Reilly will dazzle audiences with live storytelling, rich audiovisual excerpts from the history of advertising, special guests on stage and, of course, his trademark wit and wisdom. Plus, you won’t want to miss the podcast’s house band playing the theme—every element of the episode will be performed live! Don’t miss this chance to peek behind the curtain at a live recording for an upcoming Under The Influence episode.
Q WITH TOM POWER – FEATURING BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE’S KEVIN DREW
On every episode of Q with Tom Power, acclaimed interviewer Tom Power sits down with the artists, writers, actors and musicians who define pop culture. In this special live taping, Tom joins Toronto songwriter Kevin Drew, the iconic co-founder of Broken Social Scene, for an in-depth conversation of his evolving career and a special first look at his upcoming solo album, Aging. Tom and Kevin will share the stage for an intimate, career-spanning interview, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of Arts & Crafts, the now legendary indie record label that Kevin co-founded in 2003. Exclusive to this event, Kevin will share a short documentary from his experience releasing the album, and live performance with a special guest.
(Synopses via Hot Docs.)
The 2023 Hot Docs Podcast Festival runs Oct. 19-22.