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Doc Accelerator

Accelerate your doc-making career with real-world skill development and in-depth labs for emerging and sophomore Canadian talent.

Doc Accelerator fellows will participate in a bespoke private lab where they will learn from industry experts and engage in indepth workshops. Fellows will also participate in Hot Docs Festival’s online industry programming. The program will focus on skills training and career advancement with a goal to foster an inclusive new generation of Canadian documentary filmmakers. Select fellows will also take part in a paid professional development mentorship in the year following the Festival.

Become a mentor! Hot Docs is seeking mid-career and senior directors, producers, editors and cinematographers to mentor our Doc Accelerator fellows. Contact our industry team for details.

2021 Doc Accelerator Fellows

We’ve announced the 11 participants—10 Canadian fellows and one Creative BC fellow—who will take part in the 2021 Doc Accelerator Emerging Filmmaker Program, supported by Netflix through the Hot Docs Canadian Storytellers Project.

headshotNiya Abdullahi | Toronto, Ontario
Niya Abdullahi is a filmmaker and the founder of @Habasooda, a platform dedicated to sharing the richness of the Muslim experience through a variety of storytelling avenues including short films and data based graphics. Themes of identity, liberation and resistance informs her work. She uses art as a vessel to promote social change! Her docu-series titled Muslim Love is set to launch Summer 2021.

headshotKatia Café-Fébrissy | Toronto, Ontario
Katia Café-Fébrissy is an award-winning writer, director and playwright, telling stories on screen and on stage. Her writing credits include plays, documentary scripts, short narratives. Her directorial credits range from cinema vérité, experimental docs and docu-drama to VR projects, institutional films to music video, episodic web series and plays. Katia is a member of the Directors Guild of Canada (DGC), the Playwrights Guild of Canada, and SARTEC, the French language Writers’ Guild of Canada. She is an alumna of the Netflix-BANFF Diversity of Voices Initiative, Women in the Director’s Chair and Director’s Lab North. She teaches directing skills at Sheridan College and is a Filmmaker Mentor-in-residence at the Toronto Arts Foundation. She holds an M.A. in Literature and Languages from the Université of Paris VIII, France and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Creative Documentary Filmmaking from the Varan Doc Film Centre, France.

headshotOsas Eweka-Smith | Edmonton, Alberta
Osas is passionate about telling stories that keep her grounded in her roots, elevate the human spirit, and bring marginalized voices to the forefront. She is committed to giving visibility, equity, and access to stories that otherwise would go untold. In 2020, she debuted her first film, Beyond Curls & Kinks, which follows a group of women who are challenging beauty standards and empowering each other and the next generation to embrace their coily kinky curly hair. The film explores the complex relationship they have with their Afro-textured hair and issues such as self-esteem, confidence and identity; and challenges society to see women and girls beyond their curls and kinks. Osas has made content for TELUS, and is looking for opportunities to create more exciting and meaningful work.

headshotYazmeen Kanji | Maple, Ontario
Yazmeen Kanji is an emerging filmmaker and the founder of Films With A Cause, an advocacy and consulting organization for underrepresented communities. Yazmeen is a recent Dean’s Scholar graduate from the University of Toronto, where she double majored in Peace, Conflict and Justice Studies, at the Munk School of Global Affairs, and Critical Equity Studies with a minor in Cinema Studies. Her first documentary, From Syria To Hope (2019), explores the resettlement of Syrian refugee families and was awarded Best Short Doc at the 2019 Toronto Short Film Festival. Yazmeen directed With Love From Munera (2020), which premiered at the 2020 Inside Out Film Festival and was an official selection at TIFF Next Wave 2021. The short doc profiles a young storyteller’s healing process. Yazmeen supports Charles Officer’s production company, Canesugar Filmworks, and is producing a short doc about faith-based healing directed by the Oscar-nominated filmmaker, Sami Khan.

headshotJavier Lovera | Toronto, Ontario
Javier is a Toronto-based documentary film director, and a commercial photographer and cinematographer. He was born and raised in Colombia and immigrated to Canada in 2006 after receiving a M.Sc. in Aerospace Engineering from Purdue University. As a filmmaker, Javier is primarily focused on exploring the intersection between technology and society. He is in postproduction for his short film Ride Fair, commissioned as part of Hot Docs’ Citizen Minutes project and received a Filmmakers Assistance Program grant by from the National Film Board of Canada in 2014. He is an alumni of DOC Institute’s 2020 Breakthrough Program, RIDM 2020 Talent Lab, and 2020 Hot Docs Deal Maker Program. His select editorial and commercial clients include Amnesty International, The Guardian UK, The Globe and Mail, ELLE Magazine, FASHION Magazine, BMW, NIKE, Joe Fresh, and ROOTS. In 2009 he received the Applied Arts Photo Annual award in the Fashion and Beauty Category.

headshotCorey Misquita | Toronto, Ontario
Corey is a Bahraini-born filmmaker and artist based in Toronto. She graduated Humber College’s Film & Television Production program in 2014 and continued her career as an editor. Her work focuses on the LGBTQ+ community and aims to uplift marginalized and underrepresented voices. Corey has worked on a variety of mixed media, including a narrative feature film, music videos, short documentaries and podcasts. Her films have been showcased at film festivals and publications in North America such as the Female Eye Film Festival, Xtra Magazine and Fader Magazine. Corey just recently finished post-production on Shine True, a documentary series for Fuse TV.

headshotSunita Miya Muganza | Toronto, Ontario
Sunita Miya Muganza is a promising rising star. As a writer and director, she is passionate about stories. Her love for storytelling began at her local church as an artistic director where she directed and produced all of the stage performances. Her plays were not only captivating but thought-provoking. Under her leadership, the church produced 15 plays, and in 2015, Sunita independently produced her debut play, The Man with a Womb. In 2016, she founded her production company Grassroots International Productions, also known as Gripmedia Films. In 2017, she was selected for the POV 3RD Street Media Program. In that same year, Sunita directed her first short documentary, Badassery, about unapologetically Black female DJs pursuing their passions and crafting their careers in a male-dominated industry. Since then, Sunita has produced and directed several projects including The Intersection, Love & Green Tea, and Connexion (Season 2: “Play”). Her contribution as a production manager and associate producer to the 2019 CBC docuseries, Devout and Out, earned Sunita her first Banff International Rookie Award nomination for her work. Recently she has been selected to be a part of the Reelworld Film Festival’s E20 Program. The E20 Program is Reelworld’s initiative to connect some of Canada’s most talented emerging BIPOC talent with industry executives and professionals within the Canadian entertainment industry. E20 participants are given the opportunity to network, learn, and pitch their projects to industry decision-makers.

headshotCarol Nguyen | Montreal, Quebec
Carol Nguyen is a 22 year-old Vietnamese Canadian filmmaker based in Toronto and Montreal. Her films often explore the subjects of cultural identity, family and memory. Her most recent film, No Crying at the Dinner Table, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and had its international premiere at IDFA 2019, where she was also invited as the Opening Night speaker. It also received the Jury Prize for Short Documentary at SXSW. Carol is a 2018 Sundance Ignite fellow, Adobe Creativity Scholar and a TIFF Share Her Journey ambassador, where she strives to empower diverse voices and women through her own stories and personal experiences in the film industry. Today, Carol is working towards developing her first documentary feature as well as an animated short.

headshotSandro Augusto Santos Silva | Edmonton, Alberta
Sandro Silva is an Edmonton-based documentary filmmaker, and the co-founder of Dona Ana Films & Multimedia. He’s the executive producer and producer for the award-winning, independently-produced documentary short 3 Siblings (2018). Before moving to Canada, he provided production services through Dona Ana Films & Multimedia on various documentary projects in his native Brazil including: André on Earth (2013, NTR), Johnny in Oranje (2014, RTL), Beyond the Map (2016, Google), and Rotten, Ep. 4 “Big Bird” (2018, Netflix). Sandro worked as a production coordinator on multiple projects for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. He co-directed and co-produced the short experimental film 1000 Brazils of Truth (2021). Sandro is currently developing a docu-series. Before becoming a filmmaker, Sandro was a copyright lawyer in São Paulo.

headshotWeiye Su | Regina, Saskatchewan
Documentary director Weiye Su studied cinema at the University of Regina, winning acclaims for his student films Evelyn and I (2017), and My World Is No Longer the World I Know *(2018). He recently directed NFB production documentary *Jia (2020). Weiye aims to tell cultural and personal stories about family and home that evoke new understandings about the society. After graduation, Weiye continues to pursue his passion in photography and abstract painting. His art photograph, “Mountain I”, won the Jurors’ Pick in LensCulture Art Photography Awards 2021.


headshotCaroline Lee | Vancouver, BC
Caroline So Jung Lee is a settler Korean filmmaker and interdisciplinary artist born in Tkaronto, the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples. Caroline currently lives on the unceded ancestral territory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations (Vancouver, BC). In 2019, she won the VIFF Best Canadian Short Film Award, Video Out Distribution Award and President’s Media Award for Live Action for her short experimental documentary, At the Bottom of the Sea. She graduated from Emily Carr University’s Film program with a minor in Social Practice and Community Engagement in 2020. Her films have screened at DOXA, VIFF, Hot Docs, Antimatter and Portland IFF. Caroline often explores the themes of diasporic identity, feminism, spirituality, community, ecology, sensation and movement in her work and employs analogue handmade film, performance, autoethnography and sound as mediums for expression.


  • Enrollment in the Doc Accelerator Emerging Filmmaker Lab
  • Hot Docs industry pass, with access to the Hot Docs Forum, films, networking, conference sessions, programs and services.
  • Private intensive creative, professional development, career planning, and skill development sessions
  • Specialized lab workshops on fundamentals, including storytelling, funding and producing, the art of pitching, and promotion and distribution
  • Access to the Hot Docs Online Community for one year

Festival and Lab
Fellows will participate in a private online lab taking place from April through September 2021. During the lab, fellows will hear from a variety of industry experts and will engage in indepth workshops.

Please note that the lab and all festival events are held in English, applicants should be comfortably fluent in English in order to participate.

Paid Professional Development Work Placement
Fellows will be matched with a successful Canadian documentary professional for a paid mentorship opportunity. The fellows will work remotely with their mentor, with significant focus placed on reaching the participant’s personal goals and outcomes for the experience. The work schedule will be determined by each individual placement and production schedule.

Accessibility Support
Hot Docs will work with selected applicants to ensure they are able to fully participate in the program. Resources such as personal support workers or ASL interpreters can be available as needed on an individual basis.

Alumni Benefits
Doc Accelerator fellows will receive Hot Docs alumni status upon completion of their participation in the Doc Accelerator Emerging Filmmaker Lab. View Alumni Benefits.

For past participants, mentors and juries, please visit our archives:
2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014

Supported by

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Presenting Platinum Partner

  • logo Scotia Wealth Management

Founding Partner

  • logo Rogers

Signature Partner

  • Logo Cbc Gem

Presenting Partners

  • logo Crave
  • logo Netflix

Major Supporters

  • logo Celebrate Ontario
  • logo telefilm