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Hot Docs Jots

Spotlight on the 2016 Industry Conference

This year the Hot Docs Industry Conference will focus on diversity when it comes to race and gender behind the camera, building career paths, accessing alternative funding and distribution models, and the ways we envision the future of doc-making.

On Monday, May 2, the Doc Summit will open the conference with a discussion on Diversity in Docs. Featuring award-winning filmmakers Rama Rau and Hubert Davis, 2016 CrossCurrents recipient Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, and moderated by Richard Fung (OCAD), this session will facilitate a frank dialogue on underrepresented communities behind and in front of the camera, and address concrete ways in which to build an industry and audience based on inclusivity.

In addition to returning favourite sessions—such as My First Doc and Pitch Perfect (formally I’ve Pitched, Now What?)—this year will also mix up formats. During VR on Trial, we’ll finally hear the definitive ruling on this new medium: Is it merely a passing phase or the future of doc-making? The “court” is in session with defence (Jessica Brillhart, Google), prosecution (Ana Serrano, CFC) and judge (AJ Schnack, Field of Vision). Another dynamic session, which is part of our Bell Media Kickstart stream, is Diagnosing Your Doc Career. During this panel, the “shrink,” Emmy-winning filmmaker Ric Bienstock, will help emerging talent Dylan Riebling navigate all his existential crises. Bienstock will diagnose Reibling's professional path, which will offer expert insights into how to build a career in the doc world. We’re also pleased to be presenting a master class with 2016 Doc Mogul honouree Iikka Vehkalahti, The Seven Deadly Sins in the First Seven Minutes.

Under the direction of Hot Docs' Director of Programming Shane Smith, shorts are getting more attention at the Festival this year. On the Industry side, we’re also looking at this often undervalued format with a panel and a workshop on creating shorts with impact. We are also pleased that Tracey Friesen will be sharing her insights on how to fund media for social change.

We also saw an influx of documentaries dealing with pressing global issues this year, such as the Syrian refugee crisis. In recognition of this, Reel Crisis: Filming in Conflict Zones will focus on the ethical and logistical challenges of covering humanitarian crises: balancing the urgency of telling the story while ensuring depth, the types of formats that can address the evolution of a story over time, and what it means to empower subjects to tell their own stories.

The final day of the Conference concludes with two not-to-missed sessions. The first, Behind the Music Docs, will address the creative and legal challenges of making a music doc, from access to subjects, archival and visual research, and music rights. An In Conversation with Joe Berlinger, who will discuss his new doc, Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru; capturing iconoclasts on screen; and true crime (Paradise Lost). And last but not least, a conversation with Heidi Ewing on the subject of her latest film, the feisty 1970's TV writer and producer Norman Lear. 

Registration for our intensive workshops—Art of the Interview, Shorts With Impact, Branded Docs, Decoding Contracts, Here’s What Really Happened, and the ever popular So You Want to Be an Impact Producer?—open on April 6. Remember: space is limited for workshops! Be sure to sign up ahead of time.

See you at the Rogers Industry Centre!

Kiva Reardon

Industry Conference Programmer

Photo Credit: Joseph Michael Howarth

Categories: Hot Tips , Industry Landscape


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Presenting Platinum Partner

  • logo Scotia Wealth Management

Signature Partner

  • logo documentary-Channel

Presenting Partners

  • logo Bell-Media
  • logo Netflix
  • logo Rogers
  • Logo Samsung

Major Supporters

  • logo Celebrate-Ontario
  • logo telefilm