Media Room



Toronto, February 13, 2012 – Hot Docs is excited to announce the launch of Doc Ignite, the new online crowd-funding service that will assist independent Canadian documentary filmmakers in building audiences and raising support for projects in development. The service launches with HOW TO BUILD A TIME MACHINE, a time-travel documentary directed by Jay Cheel, director of the 2011 Hot Docs hit BEAUTY DAY, and produced by Primitive Entertainment. For the next 45 days, HOW TO BUILD A TIME MACHINE will campaign through Doc Ignite with the goal of raising $25,000.

“Doc Ignite gives audiences the incredible chance to take an active role in the production process,” says Elizabeth Radshaw, Hot Docs Forum and Market Director. “It is thrilling to connect audiences to directors at an early stage and provide support for fantastic projects like HOW TO BUILD A TIME MACHINE.”

A genre-bending, real-life-science-fiction mystery, HOW TO BUILD A TIME MACHINE will explore time travel and the story of Internet phenomenon John Titor, a self-professed time traveller from the year 2036 who was sent to 1975 to retrieve an IBM 5100 computer. On the return trip, Titor made an unauthorized stop in the year 2000 for “personal reasons,” where he connected with his family and two-year-old self, and shared information about the future with an online group of time travel enthusiasts. Although many think his tale is a hoax, there are those who strongly believe that he was actually from the future. HOW TO BUILD A TIME MACHINE will tell the John Titor story through interviews with physicists, time travel experts and his loyal followers, as well as through detailed re-enactments of his original Internet posts.

“The John Titor story has been retold many times, but I’ve never been totally satisfied,” says director Jay Cheel. “I want to tell this story in the most cinematic, engaging and entertaining fashion possible, and I’m looking for help to make it happen.”

Having received support from the Shaw Media-Hot Docs Development Fund, HOW TO BUILD A TIME MACHINE now needs to off-set production costs. The Doc Ignite campaign will be used to fund the use of costumes, props, locations and actors, all necessary to film quality re-enactments of Titor’s Internet posts

Through the Doc Ignite crowd-funding service, those interested in supporting HOW TO BUILD A TIME MACHINE can learn about the project, follow Jay’s progress through frequent blog and video posts, and pledge support in exchange for incentives. Depending on the level of financial support, those who pledge will receive incentives ranging from copies of the final film and time travel fund certificates, to tickets to the film’s premiere and a custom, time travel lamp art piece. Pledges can be made through Doc Ignite:

Doc Ignite projects will be curated by Hot Docs industry experts. Filmmakers interested in submitting projects for consideration are able to do so through the Doc Ignite site.

The first six projects featured on Doc Ignite will receive an additional boost: Toronto’s Open Roof Films, presenters of the popular summer outdoor film and music series Open Roof Festival (, has generously ignited each campaign with a $1000 prize.

Doc Ignite was made possible by the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation, Telefilm Canada, the City of Toronto, and the Toronto Community Foundation.


Hot Docs (, North America’s largest documentary festival, conference and market, will present its 19th annual edition from April 26 – May 6, 2012. An outstanding selection of 150+ documentaries from Canada and around the world will be presented to Toronto audiences and international delegates. Hot Docs will also mount a full roster of conference sessions and market events and services for documentary practitioners, including the renowned Hot Docs Forum and The Doc Shop. In partnership with Blue Ice Film, Hot Docs operates the recently acquired Bloor Cinema, a century-old landmark located in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood, which will reopen in 2012.

Primitive Entertainment is a leading Canadian producer of documentary feature films, television series and digital media. The company has earned many domestic and international awards, and its work has been screened at film festivals worldwide.

Media Contact:
Virginia Kelly
V Kelly & Associates
Phone: 416-466-9799

The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema

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