DFS-audience-2015 by-Chloë-Ellingson

Theatrical Stream Guidelines

The Theatrical Stream of the CrossCurrents Doc Fund provides grants of up to $30,000 CAD to one or more projects in production each year. This grant will support a new range of filmmakers with auteur driven stories from underrepresented and marginalized communities from around the world. This can reflect up to 50 per cent of the project’s production budget.

Established in 2016, the Theatrical Stream is underwritten by the Panicario Foundation.

Applications open July 19, 2017.

The below 2016 guidelines are for reference only. Please check back in July 2017 for updated guidelines.

Please read the below guidelines before applying. Questions? Contact Heidi Tao Yang at [email protected].

The Fund seeks to support projects where its contribution provides for maximum impact, especially those that target broad audiences, reach across a range of communities, and encourage understanding and appreciation of unheard voices.

Applicants must be:

  • An emerging filmmaker from anywhere in the world (i.e. three or fewer professional directing credits)
  • In good standing with Hot Docs by application date

Note: Professional credits include any commercial (distributed theatrically, on broadcast, DVD or via viable/curated digital platforms like iTunes, Netflix, Hulu) or festival-run short, feature-length or series project (fiction or documentary) where you held the role as director.

Projects must be:

  • Low-budget films ($300,000 CAD amount max)
  • Feature length works (50-90 minutes)
  • Majority owned by the applicant
  • In production

We will not accept:

  • Submissions from producers
  • Film project proposals that are school, institute or university course work
  • Projects at a rough cut stage or projects that will be finished by Hot Docs 2017


Submissions for the Fund will include the following elements:

  • Applicant bio, list of credits, links to previous work and education history
  • Top line crew details
  • Brief synopsis (maximum 300 words) and detailed film treatment (maximum 2000 words)
  • Links to teaser, trailer, or scene selection
  • Detailed project strategy, including audience goals, preliminary distribution and screening plans, as well as financing strategy (maximum 1000 words)
  • Budget summary, including all confirmed and pending funding
  • Eligibility statement including inspiration and challenges (maximum 1000 words), relationship with the subject matter of the project, and the fund’s impact on your project. (maximum 1000 words)


Applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Overall adherence to the Fund’s aims, especially regarding the relationship of the filmmaker with the subject matter of the project
  • Filmmakers must demonstrate how they are storytelling from within the underrepresented community, as opposed to looking in from the outside
  • Strength, style and originality of the subject matter and the treatment
  • An assessment of the grant’s total financial and professional impact on the project’s realization
  • Vision and ability of the filmmaker
  • Feasibility of the project with respect to its budget, financing, schedule and scope
  • The film’s strategy to access meaningful audience engagement
  • Illustration of a digital/online engagement and distribution strategy

The Theatrical Stream grants a total of $30,000 CAD per project.

Eligible costs include standard industry production and post-production expenses.

  • Finishing costs (e.g. captioning, versioning, prints) are NOT eligible
  • Proposals seeking support for costs generally incurred as part of film’s development process (e.g. research, development of a script and story proposal, and production of a teaser or trailer) are not eligible, unless in exceptional circumstances.
  • Marketing, distribution and community engagement costs may be eligible as a portion of the grant (maximum 20 per cent). A detailed engagement and distribution strategy should be included with this request.

To inquire about exceptions, please contact Heidi Tao Yang at [email protected] before applying.

In addition to the production grants, the successful recipients will be provided with a Hot Docs Fellowship, including travel, accommodation and accreditation to the annual Hot Docs Festival and enrollment in the documentary Channel Accelerator program and mentorship initiatives.


CrossCurrents Doc Fund support is to be acknowledged with a prominent logo on the end credits of the film as well as on publicity and all promotional materials related to the production. More specific credit requirements will be described in the Agreement.

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