A letter featuring the mandate of the Documentary Organization of Canada, and minutes from the first meeting of the Canadian Independent Film Caucus.

The Documentary Organization of Canadian from 1983 to 2023: A Brief History

From the CIFC days to present

40 mins read

As part of our special issue devoted to the 40th anniversary of our founding body, the Documentary Organization of Canada, we look back at 40 years of advocacy and documentary history. In consultation with DOC, this timeline includes events, films, and filmmakers regardless of membership.


We acknowledge that the items listed here merely offer a snapshot of DOC’s history and that there are more names, films, and events that are part of the story–many of which are included in our special issue and in an oral history of DOC that will be part of our Spring 2024 issue out in time for Hot Docs.

*Genie and CSA winners are listed by ceremony year unless noted otherwise.

 

40 Years of DOC

 

1983

  • 24 November: Motion to establish an organization and call it the “Canadian Independent Film Caucus” passed and signed by nine original board members: Rob Lang, David Springbett, Deepak Sahasrabudhe, Barry Greenwald, Paul Da Silva, Peter Raymont, Murray Battle, Rudy Buttignol, and Laura Sky
  • 25 November: CIFC launched through first lobby effort: letter to Francis Fox, Minister of Communications, requesting funding for documentaries from the Canadian Broadcast Development Fund (later Telefilm)
  • The Devil at Your Heels (dir. Robert Fortier, prod. Fortier, Bill Brind, Barrie Howells, and Adam Symansky) wins Genie for best documentary

1984

  • Rudy Buttignol elected first chair of CIFC
  • Total CIFC membership: 17
  • CIFC lobbies CBC to create separate independent documentary strand; CBC refuses
  • 13 September: CIFC holds public forum and press conference on “The Death of a Documentary” at Festival of Festivals (later Toronto International Film Festival)
  • Flamenco at 5:15 (dir. Cynthia Scott, prod. Scott, Kathleen Shannon, and Adam Symansky) wins Academy Award for best short doc
  • Pourquoi l’étrange Monsieur Zolock s’intéressait-il tant à la bande dessiné? (dir. Yves Simoneau, prod. Nicole Boisvert) wins Genie for best documentary
  • 5 December: CIFC mandate published
Flamenco at 5:15 | NFB
Allan King (left) and Rudy Buttignol (right) at the 2004 Gemini Awards | Courtesy of the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television

“ The first thing I say to young people who are asking about joining DOC is: You’ll find your community, you’ll find people who can help you, you will find producers, you will find crew, you will find people with whom you can exchange information. It’s all about sharing, and it will help you enormously.”

John Walker with camera operator Russell Gienapp during production of Men of the Deeps | Photo by Chuck Clark / NFB

1985

  • John Walker elected chair
  • CIFC’s first success: Telefilm’s Broadcast Fund announces it will invest in independent documentaries
  • NFB Film Commissioner François Macerola appears before Senate sub-committee investigating Paul Cowan’s The Kid Who Couldn’t Miss for alleged historical misrepresentations; film relabeled by NFB and CBC as “docudrama”
  • CIFC’s second front: lobbying CBC to recognize distinction between public affairs/news programming and documentary
  • CIFC consulted by ground-breaking Caplan-Savageau Task Force on Broadcast Policy
  • 25 May: First CIFC newsletter (later to become POV Magazine) mailed out
Kathleen Shannon | NFB
No More Hiroshima | NFB

1986

  • Rudy Buttignol elected chair
  • CIFC meets with newly formed Ontario Film Development Corporation (OFDC, now Ontario Creates) on investment in documentaries
  • CIFC intervenes in CBC license renewal; raises awareness of threats to indie doc form
  • Amid threats to Canada Council for the Arts, CIFC lobbies government for funding for Media Arts section
  • Final Offer (dir. Sturla Gunnarsson and Robert Collison, prod. Gunnarsson, Collison, and John Spotton) wins Genie for best feature doc
  • Studio D founder Kathleen Shannon awarded Order of Canada
  • No More Hiroshima (dir. Martin Duckworth) wins Genie for best short doc

“ I come from Montreal, where I thought documentaries were for the good of the cause, and sometimes you get paid and sometimes you don’t. In Toronto, I was told everyone had to get paid. One key impetus for me with the Caucus was to create a collective of documentary filmmakers who cared about important issues and could help each other in all sorts of ways—in Toronto, Montreal, or anywhere else.”

1987

  • Peter Raymont elected chair
  • First batch of independent documentaries funded by Telefilm go into production
  • CIFC meets with TVOntario to discuss future of documentaries; conducts research on relations between indies and TVO
  • Artie Shaw: Time Is All You’ve Got (dir. Brigitte Berman, prod. Berman and Don Haig) wins Academy Award for best doc feature
  • CIFC members located in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Regina, Winnipeg, Vancouver, and the Atlantic region.
Peter Raymont (second from right) with Roméo Dallaire and the Shake Hands with the Devil team | White Pine Pictures

1988

  • Paul Caulfield and Peter Raymont elected co-chairs
  • Montreal chapter formed
  • CIFC turns five: membership 92
  • CIFC works with educational producers to ensure future funding
  • Anne-Claire Poirier wins Quebec’s prestigious Albert-Tessier Prize
  • God Rides a Harley (dir. Stavros C. Stavrides, prod. Stavrides and Andreas Erne) wins Genie for best doc

1989

  • Robert Lang elected chair
  • Magnus Isacsson and Alain Chartrand elected co-chairs of Montreal chapter
  • NFB receives Special Academy Award commemorating its 50th anniversary
  • The World Is Watching (dir. Peter Raymont, prod. Raymont, Harold Crooks, and Jim Munro) wins Genie for best short doc
  • Comic Book Confidential (dir. Ron Mann, prod. Charley Lippincott) wins Genie for best feature doc
Lois Siegel accepting the Genie for Stunt People | Courtesy of the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television

1990

  • Paul Jay elected chair
  • CBC finally creates strand for independent documentaries, Witness, but wraps it around panel discussion moderated by Allan Gotlieb. The strand survives; the panel doesn’t
  • Strand: Under the Dark Cloth (dir. and prod. John Walker) wins Genie for best feature doc
  • CIFC undertakes research and writing of key position paper on future of NFB
  • Wyndham Wise hired as executive coordinator
  • Stunt People (dir. and prod. Lois Siegel) wins Genie for best short doc

1991

  • John Walker elected chair
  • CIFC incorporated as national not-for-profit organization
  • The Famine Within (dir. Katherine Gilday, prod. Gilday and Signe Johansson) wins Genie for best feature doc
  • The Colours of My Father: A Portrait of Sam Borenstein (dir. Joyce Borenstein, prod. Sally Bochner and Richard Elson) wins Genie for best short doc
Deadly Currents

1992

  • Katherine Gilday and Bay Weyman elected co-chairs
  • Avrel Fisher hired as executive coordinator
  • Arnie Gelbart and the McKenna Brothers’ The Valour and the Horror under fire by Senate Veterans Affairs Committee; CIFC intervenes in defense of filmmakers
  • CIFC helps broker deal between TVOntario and OFDC to ensure funding for TVO-triggered documentaries
  • Deadly Currents (dir. Simcha Jacobovici, prod. Jacobovici, Ric Esther Bienstock, and Elliott Halpern) wins Genie for best feature doc
  • A Song for Tibet by (dir. Anne Henderson, prod. Henderson, Kent Martin, and Abbey Jack Neidik) wins Genie for best short doc
  • First issue of POV Magazine published (formerly CIFC Newsletter)
  • Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media (dir. Mark Achbar and Peter Wintonick, prod. Achbar, Wintonick, Adam Symansky, and Francis Miquet) wins awards at Vancouver and Chicago festivals

1993

  • Janice Dawe and Paul Jay elected co-chairs
  • CIFC turns 10: over 200 members
  • Hot Docs created by founding chairs Paul Jay and Debbie Nightingale; Nightingale named executive director
  • New documentary strands established on Newsworld and TVO
  • CIFC and Douglas & McIntyre publish Michael Posner-authored Canadian Dreams
  • CIFC suggests guidelines to govern functioning of Canadian Independent Film and Video Fund (CIFVF)
  • NFB negotiates to retain non-theatrical rights in co-pros with indies
  • Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance (dir. Alanis Obomsawin, prod. Obomsawin and Wolf Koenig) wins best feature at Festival of Festivals and best feature doc at Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) and American Indian Film Festivals
  • Forbidden Love: The Unashamed Stories of Lesbian Lives (dir. Lynne Fernie and Aerlyn Weissman, prod. Margaret Pettigrew, Ginny Stikeman, and Rina Fraticelli) wins Genie for best feature doc
  • The Measure of Your Passage (dir. Esther Valiquette, prod. Jacques Vallée and Josée Beaudet) wins Genie for best short doc
  • Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould (dir. François Girard, prod. Michael Allder, Niv Fichman, Barbara Willis Sweete, and Larry Weinstein) wins Genie for best picture
Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance | Photo by Shaney Komulainen / NFB
Forbidden Love: The Unashamed Stories of Lesbian Lives | NFB

1994

  • Janice Dawe and Paul Jay elected co-chairs
  • Inaugural edition of Hot Docs screens members’ works
  • In the Gutter and Other Good Places (dir. and prod. Cristine Richey) wins Genie for best doc and Hot Docs award for best independent production
  • CIFC requests seat on board of newly formed Canadian Television and Cable Production Fund; request denied

1995

  • Barri Cohen and Barry Greenwald elected co-chairs; Anne Pick is vice chair
  • Atlantic chapter formed
  • CIFC makes critical presentation to CRTC on future monetization of Internet
  • CIFC publishes “Survey of English-language Independent Film and Video”
  • Narmada: A Valley Rises (dir. and prod. Ali Kazimi) wins Hot Docs awards for best direction and best political film
  • CIFC publishes national policy on CBC, NFB, Telefilm, distribution, CIFVF, Canada Council, and Internet
  • The Champagne Safari (dir. George Ungar, prod. Ungar and John Walker) wins Genie for best feature doc
  • Fiction and Other Truths: A Film About Jane Rule (dir. Lynne Fernie and Aerlyn Weissman, prod. Rina Fraticelli) wins Genie for best short doc

1996

  • Barri Cohen, Barry Greenwald, and Ali Kazimi elected co-chairs
  • CIFC publishes “Where’s Our Slingshot: Alternative Distribution of Non-Broadcast Programs”
  • Bones of the Forest (dir. Heather Frise and Velcrow Ripper, prod. Ripper) wins Genie for best feature doc and Hot Docs award for best Canadian feature
  • Ongoing lobbying of key ministers in Ontario’s new Conservative “Common Sense Revolution” parliament
  • Mum’s the Word (dir. Paul Carrière, prod. Daniele Caloz and Jacques Ménard) wins Genie for best short doc
  • Hot Docs separates from CIFC and incorporates as separate not-for-profit organization
  • Vancouver chapter formed

1997

  • David Ostriker and Anne Pick elected co-chairs
  • Heidi Hay hired as coordinator
  • CIFC meets with Garry Toth, Bill House, and Telefilm re: documentary envelopes in Canadian Television and Cable Production Fund and Licence Fee Program; makes policy recommendations
  • Tu as crié LET ME GO (dir. Anne Claire Poirier, prod. Paul Lapointe and Joanne Carrière) wins Genie for best feature doc
  • Unveiled: The Mother/Daughter Relationship (dir. Maureen Judge, prod. Judge, Janis Lundman, and Silva Basmajian) wins Genie for best short doc
  • Chronicle of a Genocide Foretold (dir. Danièle Lacourse and Yvan Patry, prod. Sam Grana) wins Hot Docs award for best feature

1998

  • National board created; meets at Hot Docs and elects Gary Marcuse, Peter Wintonick first national chairs
  • Cicely McWilliam hired as coordinator
  • CIFC joins protest over guideline changes to CTF (Canadian Television Fund) on Canadian content; special exemption for documentaries sought
  • Montreal International Documentary Festival (Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montreal/RIDM) founded
  • CIFC publishes “A Level Playing Field of Documentary”
  • Allan King wins Lifetime Achievement Award at Hot Docs
  • A Place Called Chiapas (dir. Nettie Wild, prod. Wild, Betsy Carson, and Kirk Tougas) wins audience award for best doc at AFI fest in LA, Genie for best feature doc (1999)
  • Shadow Maker: Gwendolyn MacEwen, Poet (dir. Brenda Longfellow, prod. Anita Herczeg) wins Genie for best short doc
Nettie Wild and Betsy Carson accept the Genie for A Place Called Chiapas | Courtesy of the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television
Anita Herczeg and Brenda Longfellow accept the Genie | Courtesy of the Academy
Just Watch Me: Trudeau and the ’70s Generation | NFB

1999

  • Geoff Bowie elected national chair; Gary Marcuse is vice chair
  • Membership grows to 365
  • CIFC lobbying re: CTF and Telefilm (Licence Fee Program and Equity Investment Program)
  • Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows (dir. Paul Jay, prod. Jay, Sally Blake, David M. Ostriker, and Silva Basmajian) ties for best feature at Hot Docs with A Place Called Chiapas
  • CIFC intervenes in support of renewal of CBC Newsworld and RDI broadcast licenses
  • Hemingway: A Portrait (dir. Érik Canuel, prod. Bernard Lajoie, Tatsuo Shimamura) wins best short doc

2000

  • Barri Cohen elected national chair
  • Michale Raske hired as executive director
  • CRTC issues licence for creation of Documentary Channel
  • CIFC lobbies for point-of-view documentary envelope at CTF; applauds the return of the envelope in the fall
  • Lobbyist Isabel Metcalfe hired to raise CIFC’s profile in Ottawa
  • DOXA Documentary Film Festival stages its first edition in Vancouver
  • Just Watch Me: Trudeau and the ’70s Generation by Catherine Annau wins Genie for best feature doc; 
  • Grass (dir. Ron Mann, prod. Keith Clarkson) wins Genie for best feature doc. No Genie for best short doc awarded from 2000-2008, inclusive

2001

  • CIFC issues statement re: police action against documentary filmmakers at Quebec Summit
  • CIFC appears before Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage regarding the state of Canadian broadcasting
  • CIFC formally joins CTF Coalition, lobbies for continuation of CTFworldwide, succeeding Manufacturing Consent as highest-grossing Canadian doc. Its success leads Telefilm Canada to change its performance envelope to include documentaries
  • Don Haig wins Special Achievement Award at Hot Docs
  • My Left Breast (dir. Gerry Rogers, prod. Paul Pope) wins best Canadian documentary at Hot Docs
  • Westray (dir. Paul Cowan, prod. Kent Martin) wins Genie for best documentary

2002

  • Andrea Nemtin elected national chair
  • Sandy Crawley hired as executive director
  • Alessandra Fylyshtan hired as administrative director
  • CIFC consultation on proposals for simplification of the Canadian Film and Video Production Tax Credit
  • Offspring (dir. Barry Stevens, prod. Stevens and Laszlo Barna) wins Donald Brittain Award for best TV doc on a social or political topic at Gemini Awards
  • Gambling, Gods and LSD (dir. Peter Mettler, prod. Ingrid Veninger, Alexandra Gill, and Cornelia Seitler) wins Genie for best feature doc
  • Marc Glassman becomes editor of POV with issue #46
In 2003, the Canadian Independent Film Caucus becomes DOC

2003

  • Membership reaches 560
  • CIFC changes name to Documentary Organization of Canada (DOC) as part of 20th anniversary celebrations; releases commemorative publication
  • DOC commissions “Getting Real,” a comprehensive report on the status of the documentary industry in Canada
  • Hot Docs celebrates 10th anniversary with attendance overall at 32,500—an increase of 30% over the previous year—despite the SARS epidemic
  • POV publishes issue #50
  • The Corporation (dir. Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott, prod. Achbar and Bart Simpson) premieres at TIFF and wins prizes at IDFA and Sundance (2004), as well as Genie for best doc in 2005. It grosses over $4.8 million USD
Mark Achbar filming The Corporation | Photo by Nancy Bleck

2004

  • Quebec chapter co-founds RIDM Forum, Montreal doc fest’s industry component
  • DOC Breakthrough program established to bolster emerging talent
  • Army of One (dir. Sarah Goodman, prod. Goodman, Arlene Ami, and Erik Paulsson) wins best Canadian feature at Hot Docs
  • Nordicity report shows Canadian documentary production increased from 184 films in 1996/7 to 366 in 2002/3
  • FIX: The Story of an Addicted City (dir. Nettie Wild, prod. Wild and Betsy Carson) wins Genie for best documentary
  • Michael Maclear wins Hot Docs’ Outstanding Achievement Award and premieres Vietnam: Ghosts of War

2005

  • Felice Gorica elected national co-chair with Bart Simpson
  • Samantha Hodder hired as executive director
  • Hogtown: The Politics of Policing (dir. Min Sook Lee, prod. Lee and Sarah Zammit) wins best Canadian feature at Hot Docs
  • Ryan (dir. Chris Landreth, prod. Steven Hoban, Marcy Page, and Mark Smith) wins Academy Award for best animated short
  • In 2005–6:
  • Canadian documentary production reaches $440 million
  • Documentary production is directly responsible for the equivalent of 5,900 full-time jobs in the country
  • Canadians produce 201 documentary TV series, representing 1,390 hours of work
  • The Corporation wins Genie for best documentary
Ryan | NFB

2006

  • Manufactured Landscapes (dir. Jennifer Baichwal, prod. Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier, and Daniel Iron) premieres at TIFF and wins best Canadian film, as well as Genie for best documentary (2007)
  • Martyr Street (dir. Shelley Saywell, prod. Saywell and Deborah Parks) wins best Canadian feature at Hot Docs
  • 2006–7: CTF funding of $51.6 million supports the production of 798.2 hours of documentaries
  • Hot Docs establishes Don Haig Award in memory of the late producer
  • Scared Sacred (dir. Velcrow Ripper, prod. Cari Green, Harry Sutherland, and Tracey Friesen) wins Genie for best documentary

 

2007

  • Michael McNamara elected national chair
  • The Bodybuilder and I (dir. Bryan Friedman, prod. Julia Rosenberg and Anita Lee) wins best Canadian feature at Hot Docs
  • My Winnipeg (dir. Guy Maddin, prod. Maddin, Michael Burns, Phyllis Lang, and Jody Shapiro) wins best Canadian feature at TIFF
  • 68,000 attend Hot Docs, up from 50,000 in 2006
  • Funding for long-form documentary TV projects reaches at $295 million in 2006/7
FlicKeR
Radiant City | NFB
Up the Yangtze | NFB

2008

  • FlicKeR (dir. Nik Sheehan, prod. Silva Basmajian and Maureen Judge) wins best Canadian feature at Hot Docs
  • Radiant City (dir. Gary Burns and Jim Brown, prod. Shirley Vercruysse and Bonnie Thompson) wins Genie for best documentary
  • In 2008–09:
  • Canada’s documentary sector sheds 1,300 jobs and shrinks by 11.4%
  • Total Canadian long-form documentary production decreases to $413 million from $436 in 2007–8 and $463 in 2006–7
  • Canadian Film and Video Fund cancelled. Fund had play critical role in production of non-broadcast and educational films and videos often supplied to schools and universities
  • Department of Canadian Heritage publishes report stating “cuts to arts programming, particularly the loss of [Heritage’s] Trade Routes and [Foreign Affairs’] PromArt, had major negative impacts on Canadian arts organizations.”

2009

  • John Christou and Tina Hahn elected national co-chairs
  • Up the Yangtze (dir. Yung Chang, prod. Mila Aung-Thwin, Germaine Ying-Gee Wong, and John Christou) wins Genie for best documentary
  • The Delian Mode (dir. Kara Blake, prod. Marie-Josée Saint-Piere wins best short doc
  • Invisible City (dir. Hubert Davis, prod. Davis, Mehernaz Lentin, and Gerry Flahive) wins best Canadian feature at Hot Docs
  • Between 2006 and 2009, Canwest purchases the Alliance Atlantis channels, CTVglobemedia (formerly Bell Media) and Rogers acquire CHUM and split its assets, and CTVglobemedia separates from Bell

2010

2011

  • Family Portrait in Black and White (dir. Julia Ivanova, prod. Boris Ivanov) wins best Canadian feature at Hot Docs
  • Last Train Home (dir. Lixin Fan, prod. Mila Aung-Thwin and Daniel Cross) wins Genie for best documentary
  • At Night, They Dance (dir. Isabelle Lavigne and Stéphane Thibault, prod. Lucie Lambert) wins special jury prize at Hot Docs; takes best feature doc Genie in 2012
  • Canadian documentary industry dominated by handful of large ownership groups: Bell/CTV, Shaw/Corus/Canwest, Quebecor, Rogers, and Astral
  • Since 2008: Documentary production volume decreased by more than 21% or $105 million; number of documentary projects dropped 23% from 591 to 457; total number of documentary hours produced dropped from 2,000 to 1,445
Lisa Fitzgibbons | DOC
Alan Zweig and Kristina McLaughlin accept the Genie for A Hard Name | Courtesy of the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television
At Night, They Dance | Les Films 3 Mars

“ One initiative I am proud of is the Fair Dealing Roadshow. Copyright law is so important for documentary filmmakers. We conceived of five conversations where we had expert panelists from different sectors speak on the question of fair dealing. There would be a conversation and a debate, and we would sculpt the next session based on that information. And we carried that forward throughout the country.”

2012

  • The World Before Her (dir. Nisha Pahuja, prod. Pahuja, Ed Barreveld, Cornelia Principe, and Andy Cohen) wins best Canadian feature at Hot Docs
  • RIDM sees total attendance of more than 40,000—an increase of 33% over 2011
  • Saskatchewan cancels its tax-credit program altogether, forcing local producers to consider relocating to larger production centres
  • Sirmilik (dir. Zacharias Kunuk, prod. Joel McConvey, Kristina McLaughlin, Kevin McMahon, Michael McMahon, Geoff Morrison, Ryan J. Noth) wins Genie for best short doc
Pepita Ferrari | DOC
Stories We Tell | Ken Woroner / NFB

2013

  • Pepita Ferrari elected national chair
  • Ontario chapter establishes DOC Institute to provide professional development to filmmakers
  • Stories We Tell (dir. Sarah Polley, prod. Anita Lee and Silva Basmajian) wins first Canadian Screen Award (CSA) for best feature doc, the Rogers Best Canadian Film award from Toronto Film Critics Association (TFCA), and awards from New York and Los Angeles critics’ associations, as well as Allan King Award from the Directors Guild of Canada
  • The Boxing Girls of Kabul (dir. Ariel Nasr, prod. Annette Clarke) wins Canadian Screen Award for best short doc
  • When I Walk (dir. Jason DaSilva, prod. DaSilva, Alice Cook, and Leigh DaSilva) wins best Canadian feature at Hot Docs
  • When Jews Were Funny (dir. Alan Zweig, prod. Jeff Glickman and Jesse D. Ikeman) wins best Canadian feature at TIFF
  • Total budget for Canadian docs reaches $313 million, of which French-language docs represent $75 million

2014

  • DOC develops Festival Concierge, a service to help members develop strategies for festival releases of their docs
  • Out of Mind, Out of Sight (dir. John Kastner, prod. Kastner, Deborah Parks, and Silva Basmajian) wins best Canadian feature at Hot Docs
  • Watermark (dir. Jennifer Baichwal and Edward Burtynsky, prod. Nicholas de Pencier) wins Rogers Best Canadian Film Award from TFCA; takes best feature doc CSA in 2014
  • Chi (dir. Anne Wheeler, prod. Yves J. Ma, Tracey Friesen) wins Canadian Screen Award for best short doc
  • Canadian independent documentaries spend $271 million in 2013–14
  • DOC Institute establishes DOC Institute Honours. Inaugural winners are Elizabeth Klinck and Brett Story for Rogers–DOC Luminary Award and DOC Vanguard Award, respectively
POV editor Marc Glassman and filmmaker Chelsea McMullan (centre) receive the 2015 DOC Institute Honors. Pictured with Michael McNamara, Lalita Krishna, Liz Marshall, Ric Esther Bienstock, and Brett Story. | Kaz Ehara / Verite Creative

2015

  • Pepita Ferrari relinquishes chair and becomes executive director; Connie Edwards named interim national chair
  • Super Duper Alice Cooper (dir. Sam Dunn, Reg Harkema, and Scot McFayden, prod. Dunn and McFayden) wins CSA for best feature doc
  • Haida Gwaii: On the Edge of the World (dir. Charles Wilkinson, prod. Wilkinson, Tina Schliessler, Kevin Eastwood, and Murray Battle) wins best Canadian documentary at Hot Docs
  • Hurt (dir. Alan Zweig, prod. Peter Gentile and Mike Lalonde) wins inaugural Platform Prize at TIFF; takes best feature doc CSA in 2016
  • Jutra (dir. Marie-Josée Saint-Pierre; prod. Marc Bertrand, René Chénier) wins CSA for best short doc
  • DOC releases report on potential of philanthropic funding for feature docs
  • POV Magazine publishes 100th issue
  • POV editor Marc Glassman and filmmaker Chelsea McMullan receive Rogers–DOC Luminary Award and DOC Vanguard Award, respectively

2016

2017

  • Judy Gladstone hired as executive director; Nadine Pequeneza elected national chair
  • DOC releases “Charting a Course for Impact Production in Canada” to guide best practices for impact campaigns
  • Unarmed Verses (dir. Charles Officer, prod. Lea Marin) wins best Canadian feature at Hot Docs
  • I Am the Blues (dir. Daniel Cross, prod. Cross, Bob Moore, Mila Aung-Thwin, and Bruce Cowley) wins CSA for best feature doc
  • This River (dir. Katherena Vermette, Erika MacPherson; prod. Alicia Smith, David Christensen) wins CSA for best short doc
  • RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World (dir. Catherine Bainbridge and Alfonso Maiorana, prod. Bainbridge, Christina Fon, Linda Ludwick, and Lisa M. Roth) wins Audience Award at Hot Docs; takes home three CSAs in 2018
  • Through a total of 6,000 direct and spin-off jobs, Canadian independent documentaries contribute $324 million to the country’s GDP in 2016–17 based on direct production spending of $220 million
  • Filmmakers Victoria Lean and Daniel Cross receive Rogers–DOC Luminary Award and DOC Vanguard Award, respectively
KONELĪNE:our land beautiful | Canada Wild Productiond
Brett Hendrie, DOC Institute Honours winners Alethea Arnaquq-Baril and Chris McDonald, Lalita Krishna | Kaz Ehara/Verite Creative
Charles Officer at a Canadian Screen Awards Event | Courtesy of the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television

“At one of our strategy planning sessions at DOC Toronto, a group of us came up with the idea of the DOC Institute. It would be a destination for professional development for documentary creators. The new brand resonated with us. It gave us a mission that went in a different direction than advocacy.”

Amar Wala and Zoe Dirse at the DOC Institute Honours
Jennifer Baichw and Nick de Pencier at the TFCA Awards | George Pimentel Photography
nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up | Melissa Kent, CBC
Robbie Robertson, photographed by Don Dixon for the cover of POV #111

2018

2019

2020

2021

Millefiore Clarkes and Anne Pick at the DOC Institute Honours | Flora Tang
Alanis Obomsawin | Photo by Pedro Ruiz
Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy | Seen Through Woman Prod. and NFB
Geographies of Solitude
To Kill a Tiger | Dhawalika Singh
Love in the Time of Fentanyl| DOXA
The Queen of Basketball | Shorts HD

2022

  • DOC develops Business Concierge to help under-represented documentary creators develop, produce, and distribute their works
  • Geographies of Solitude (dir. Jacquelyn Mills, prod. Mills and Rosalie Chicoine Perreault) wins best Canadian feature at Hot Docs
  • Nalujuk Night (dir. Jennie Williams, prod. Latonia Hartery, Kat Baulu, Rohan Fernando, Annette Clarke) wins CSA for best short doc
  • To Kill a Tiger (dir. Nisha Pahuja, prod. Pahuja, David Oppenheim, Cornelia Principe, and Andy Cohen) wins best Canadian film at TIFF; takes CSA for best feature doc in 2023
  • Nisha Pahuja and To Kill a Tiger executive producer Anita Lee receive Vanguard Award and Rogers–DOC Luminary Award, respectively
  • Love in the Time of Fentanyl (dir. Colin Askey, prod. Askey, Monika Navarro, Marc Serpa Francoeur, and Robinder Uppal) wins Colin Low Award for best Canadian feature doc at DOXA
  • The Dependents (dir. and prod. Sofía Brockenshire) wins grand prize in national feature competition at RIDM
  • Fire of Love, directed by Sara Dosa and produced by Dosa, Shane Boris, and DOC chair Ina Fichman opens US doc competition at Sundance and earns Academy Award nomination for best feature doc
  • The Queen of Basketball (dir. Ben Proudfoot, prod. Elizabeth Brooke, Abby Davis, Gabriel Godoi, Brandon Somerhalder, and Sarah Stewart) wins Academy Award for best short doc

2023

  • Min Sook Lee elected national co-chair with Ina Fichman
  • DOC releases “DocuMentality” report on mental health in doc sector
  • DOC presents seventh edition of “Getting Real” report; notes concerning decline in funding for feature documentaries
  • Navalny, directed by Canadian Daniel Roher, wins Academy Award for best feature doc
  • Patty vs. Patty (dir. Chris Strikes; prod. Kate Fraser, Maya Annik Bedward) wins CSA for best short doc
  • I Lost My Mom (dir. and prod. Denys Desjardins) wins best Canadian feature at Hot Docs
  • Mother Saigon (dir. Khoa Lê, prod. Lê and Jonathan Bernier) wins Colin Low Award for best Canadian feature doc at DOXA
  • Online Streaming Act passed, requiring online platforms to contribute to production of Canadian content, as Canadian broadcasters have been required to for 30 years
  • Producer Janice Dawe and filmmaker Noura Kevorkian receive Rogers–DOC Luminary Award and DOC Vanguard Award, respectively
  • DOC turns 40

Marc Glassman is the editor of POV Magazine and contributes film reviews to Classical FM. He is an adjunct professor at Toronto Metropolitan University and is the treasurer of the Toronto Film Critics Association.

Barri Cohen is an award-winning producer, writer, and director. She co-produced Phyllis Ellis’ Toxic Beauty (2019) and is currently completing a feature documentary for the Documentary Channel.

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.

Alejandra De La Huerta is currently completing her studies at York University as a Media Arts student. She is with POV Magazine as a field placement student to learn more about documentaries, directors and the film industry. Alejandra has a strong passion for sharing stories on environmental issues and social justice and plans to make her own documentaries in the future. She enjoys photography and using 360 video to capture narratives through a new lens.

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