Media Room

Hot Docs Forum Submission Guidelines

Submissions for the 2015 Hot Docs Forum are now closed.


  • Fully read the guidelines and FAQs
  • Complete the online form
  • Pay the submission fee
  • Receive a confirmation from our offices within three weeks of submission

Submission fee:

$45.00 CDN must be submitted along with the Project Entry Form. All major credit cards are accepted.

Information Required for Submission:

  • Primary Contact Information
  • Title, Genre, Duration, Language, Format, Date of Principle Photography, Project Date of Release, Production Country
  • Pitch Category & Pitch Type
  • Short Synopsis (2000 characters)
  • One-page treatment (5500 characters)
  • Short status report (3000 characters)
  • Other forums & buyers pitched (if applicable)
  • Co-Production partner information (if applicable)
  • Committed market partner information
  • Confirmed financial sources
  • Top Line Budget
  • Financing Scenario
  • Key Creative and Production Personnel biographies
  • Short description of the outreach & engagement strategy (3300 characters)
  • Short description of the distribution strategy (3300 characters)
  • Description of the digital media component/cross platform strategy (3300 characters) images, sketches or screen grabs may be submitted to support this description

Supporting Documents:

The following supporting documentation is required to complete the application, and may be uploaded directly into the submission form:

  • Letter or email of commitment from “trigger financier” (required for regular category only). Alternately, if the trigger is a successful crowdfunding campaign, please submit a screen capture.
  • One-page production budget in the applicant’s local currency and in US dollars
  • Trailer or clips (sent via a link) of film footage or visuals (still or moving) from a digital media prototype (optional for regular category, required for rough cut category)


Applicants will be notified of the selection committee’s decision by March 6, 2015.

Chosen projects will have one week to confirm acceptance of the offered pitch slot, pay the registration fee, and provide verification of text for publication. The registration fee for projects is $734.50 ($650 + 13% HST) per pitch team member. Please note that each pitch team must consist of a minimum of two members (not including the trigger financier), with a maximum of three members (not including their trigger financier). As part of the above fee, you receive all the benefits of a Hot Docs All-Access pass and the opportunity to participate in a private pitch training session with our expert trainers to help you prepare for the public pitch.

Please note: Applications for the Hot Docs Forum are accepted by online submission only. Please do not send anything by post or email to the Hot Docs office.

Terms & Conditions:

Entries including more than the requested documentation and exceeding the word count will not be accepted.

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

The text submitted at the entry deadline will be reproduced in the Hot Docs Forum Catalogue.

Selected projects will be contacted in order to update the information submitted in the original application.

Only independent production companies will be considered.

Hot Docs Industry Programs decision is final and individual feedback is not guaranteed if your application is unsuccessful.

Hot Docs Industry Programs reserve the right to change the guidelines or procedures at any time.

Hot Docs Industry Programs will not take rights or liabilities in projects selected.

Projects selected and participating in the Hot Docs Forum are required to credit the Hot Docs Logo in their final credits.

Your application and participation implies acceptance of the above terms.

Pitch Categories

Regular Category

Includes Feature, Broadcast Length, Series and Cross Platform Pitches

Independent production companies are eligible to enter documentary projects currently in development or production.

To be eligible, the project must have:

  • the financial commitment of at least one third party market partner such as broadcaster, distributor, sales agent, online platform, or eligible film board and/or film institute who must attend the Hot Docs Forum to co-present the project. We accept successful crowdfunding campaigns as third-party triggers. Successful crowdfunding campaigns should be a part of your financing package. Any additional information will be to the discretion of the selection committee.

  • a minimum of approximately 20 per cent (but no more than 75 per cent) of its financing in place; existing financing must include arms-length, third-party monies from the marketplace; in Canada, the existing financing can also include, but cannot solely consist of, federal and provincial tax credits. Please note that the 20 percent minimum can be obtained through a combination of financiers.

If available the submission of a trailer or scene selects is encouraged for Regular category submissions. A maximum of 10 minutes of footage may be submitted with the application. Trailers must be hosted on an independent website and submitted via a link. Trailers must be live until March 6, 2015.

Regular pitches include feature length documentaries and broadcast length documentaries as well as series and cross platform pitches. Series pitches include any television series format or web series format. Cross platform pitches include any media property, service, story or experience distributed across media platforms using a variety of media forms such as broadcast, online, and mobile.

Two projects may be entered per production company.

Rough Cut Category

Independent production companies are eligible to enter documentary projects (broadcast or feature-length) currently at a rough cut stage that have not yet secured market financing (e.g. broadcaster or distributor).

The submission of a trailer or scene selects is required for the Rough Cut category. A maximum of 20 minutes of footage may be submitted with the application. Trailers must be hosted on an independent website and submitted via a link. Trailers must be live until March 6, 2015.

Selected rough cut programs will be made available as part of The Doc Shop for the duration of Hot Docs.

One entry may be entered per production company.

  • Got a question? Check out our FAQs.

Deadlines & Reminders

  • April 28 - May 8, 2016
    Hot Docs Festival, Conference and Market
The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema
Hall Webber LLP
Documentary Organization of Canada

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