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Hot Docs Jots

The Kickstart Sessions for Emerging Filmmakers - The Hot Docs Conference Series

The Bell Media Kickstart sessions are a half-day long series of dynamic discussions that provide the essentials for emerging and mid-career doc makers.

My First Doc

So, you made your first documentary. Now what? Three first-time filmmakers with films premiering at Hot Docs talk to Director of Programming Shane Smith about the process of taking their films from conception to the Festival screen. This session is ideal for emerging filmmakers who want to know what to expect after picture lock and are looking to unmask the mysteries of navigating the documentary industry. Bell Media Kickstart is brought to you by Lead Partner Bell Media, Supporting Sponsor Canon Canada and Educational Partner Centennial College.

Jonny Von Wallström, Director The Pearl of Africa 

Tiffany Hsiung, Director The Apology

Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, Director Angry Anuk

Shane Smith, Director of Programming, Hot Docs

Diagnosing Your Doc Career

Working in documentary means cultivating your entrepreneurial spirit. But how do you balance multiple projects? How do you build your own business? During this panel, the “shrink”—Emmy-winning filmmaker Ric Esther Bienstock—is in and ready to 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. Bell Media Kickstart is brought to you by Lead Partner Bell Media, Supporting Sponsor Canon Canada and Educational Partner Centennial College.

Ric Esther Bienstock, Filmmaker

Dylan Reibling, Filmmaker

Navi Lamba, Senior Digital Producer

Janice Dawe, Partner, Bizable Media

You Think You Want to Make a Feature But you Should Make a Short!

The short film is often framed as a means to a feature instead of an art form—and viable career opportunity—unto itself. This panel will address short form storytelling; how to pitch and sell short docs; and current opportunities for distributing short works, especially online. Featuring Sarah Lash (Condé Nast), Adam Gee (Channel 4), Lesley Birchard (CBC), and moderated by shorts programmer Kathleen McInnis, attendees will take away inspiration and appreciation for stories that benefit from a concise format. Sponsored by CBC Docs. Supporting sponsor Canon Canada and educational partner Centennial College.

Adam Gee, Commissioning Editor, Multiplatform & Online Video (Factual), Channel 4

Sarah Lash, Acquisitions Consultant, Condé Nast Entertainment

Lesley Birchard, Executive in Charge of Programming, CBC Docs

Sharon Badal, Vice President Filmmaker Relations and Shorts Programming, Tribeca Film Institute

Kathleen McInnis, Shorts Programmer with Hot Docs and TIFF

Categories: Director's Notebook , 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