FAQs: Festival Film Submissions

FAQs: Festival Film Submissions

I received an error message when I tried to pay the submission fee!

Please call your bank. We have found that some banks block the transaction. Tell them that you do indeed wish to make the payment. If you are still having problems email us at [email protected].

Can I re-submit my film from last year?

Hot Docs does not accept re-submissions. If you feel your film has changed significantly in structure or approach from the previous submission, please send a list of the changes that have been made to [email protected].

If my film is selected to screen at another Canadian film festival, is it still eligible for submission to Hot Docs?

SHORT FILMS: Yes, as long as it is not a festival in Toronto. A Toronto premiere is the minimum requirement for all short film submissions, meaning your film must not have screened publicly or been broadcast before a Toronto audience prior to the Festival.

FEATURE & MID-LENGTH FILMS: Yes, as long as it is not a festival based in Ontario, or an Online festival that was accessible to audiences in Ontario. An Ontario premiere is the minimum requirement for all mid-length and feature submissions, meaning your film must not have screened publicly or been broadcast before an Ontario audience prior to the Festival.

That said, premiere status is something the programming team takes into consideration when making final decisions.

Do you accept series?

In recent years, Hot Docs has begun to show limited series at the festival. If you have a series you would like to submit, please email [email protected] with a brief description of the series, including number of episodes and runtime. We will advise on if it could be a fit for the festival and if so, how to submit.

Can I submit a VR project?

Please do not use the submission form to submit a VR project. To learn more about DocX, our program for VR projects, please email [email protected] and include a description of your project.

How many films can I submit?

You can submit as many films as you like. However, each submitted film must have its own screener, completed submission form, fee, supplemental materials and meet the eligibility requirements. DO NOT put multiple projects on the same screener.

Do you accept rough cuts?

We strongly encourage filmmakers to submit finished versions of their films whenever possible. Please note that the Festival will only accept one cut per film for programming consideration, and the programming decision will be based on the cut you submit. If needed, Hot Docs will request an updated version and will contact those applicants directly. You may indicate the status of your cut and what changes have yet to be made in the online submission form. Before submitting a rough cut, please keep in mind that we will not consider new versions of the same film for future Festivals.

Do you require a press kit or other materials?

Please do not send trailers, press kits or any other materials.

If your film is selected, you will be asked to provide a press kit and publicity materials at that time.

Can I send you a new version of my film?

We will not accept updated versions during the programming process.

Can I submit through Withoutabox?

No. Films must be submitted through our online submission form.

How do you decide if a film is Canadian or international?

Canadian Submissions: All films produced in Canada and/or directed by Canadian filmmakers. The director must currently reside in Canada with permanent resident status or be able to provide proof of Canadian citizenship. If the film is co-directed, at least one of the directors must meet this criteria.

International Submissions: All films produced outside of Canada and directed by non-Canadians.

Hot Docs reserves the right to determine which submission category the film will reside in if selected.

How do you determine country of production?

Country of production is generally determined by financing and birth place/permanent residence of the filmmaker(s). In distinguishing between Canadian and international entries, our general rule is that any film with 51 per cent or more Canadian financing is considered a Canadian film. The location of your documentary does not necessarily relate to the country of production, unless significant financing originated in that country or it is the filmmaker’s place of birth/permanent residence. Significant staffing and crew who reside in the location where the film was shot can also be taken into consideration.

When will I find out if my film has been selected?

We will contact you via email by end of March 2022. Please note that the primary contact listed on your entry form will be the only person contacted and Hot Docs will not disclose a film’s status over the phone.

Why do my Vimeo statistics show that no one has watched my film?

Hot Docs watches all film submissions. However, there have been instances in which our views are not recorded on Vimeo’s statistics. Films viewed via a third-party player or application do not always register views in the same way that films viewed via the direct web link are.

If my film is not selected, may I speak with a programmer for notes or comments?

Due to the overwhelming amount of submissions, we cannot provide notes or comments on films not selected for the Festival.

What film format is used for the Festival?

If your film is selected for the festival, we will require a DCP of the film. More information will be provided upon acceptance.

Does my film need to be closed captioned?

English language feature-length and mid-length films that are accepted to the festival are required to provide a closed-captioned track for their film. More information will be provided upon acceptance.

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