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Doc Accelerator Emerging Filmmaker Lab

Accelerate your doc-making career with real-world skill development and in-depth labs for emerging and sophomore Canadian talent.

Doc Accelerator fellows will participate in a bespoke private lab where they will learn from industry experts and engage in indepth workshops. Fellows will also participate in Hot Docs Festival’s online industry programming. The program will focus on skills training and career advancement with a goal to foster an inclusive new generation of Canadian documentary filmmakers. Select fellows will also take part in a paid professional development mentorship in the year following the Festival.

Applications for the 2021 Doc Accelerator Lab are closed.

Become a mentor! Hot Docs is seeking mid-career and senior directors, producers, editors and cinematographers to mentor our Doc Accelerator fellows. Contact our industry team for details.


Ten to 12 Doc Accelerator fellows will be selected via an open application process. Applicants to the program must be:

  • Of at least one of the following priority groups: Black, Indigenous, a person of colour, Francophone, Deaf, or living with a disability
  • A Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada legally entitled to work
  • An emerging or sophomore storyteller (i.e. three or fewer professional audio-visual production credits as a director or producer)
  • NOT currently enrolled as a student
  • Available flexible hours for the paid mentorship program that will take place at a mutually agreed time between April 2021-April 2022
  • Able to participate in the Hot Docs Festival and Emerging Filmmaker Lab, which will take place between April 2021 and September 2021


  • Enrollment in the Doc Accelerator Emerging Filmmaker Lab
  • Hot Docs industry pass, with access to the Hot Docs Forum, films, networking, conference sessions, programs and services.
  • Private intensive creative, professional development, career planning, and skill development sessions
  • Specialized lab workshops on fundamentals, including storytelling, funding and producing, the art of pitching, and promotion and distribution
  • Access to the Hot Docs Online Community for one year

Festival and Lab
Fellows will participate in a private online lab taking place from April through September 2021. During the lab, fellows will hear from a variety of industry experts and will engage in indepth workshops.

Please note that the lab and all festival events are held in English, applicants should be comfortably fluent in English in order to participate.

Paid Professional Development Work Placement
Fellows will be matched with a successful Canadian documentary professional for a paid mentorship opportunity. The fellows will work remotely with their mentor, with significant focus placed on reaching the participant’s personal goals and outcomes for the experience. The work schedule will be determined by each individual placement and production schedule.

Accessibility Support
Hot Docs will work with selected applicants to ensure they are able to fully participate in the program. Resources such as personal support workers or ASL interpreters can be available as needed on an individual basis.


Applications for the 2021 Doc Accelerator Lab are closed.

Doc Accelerator is considerate of technological, social and accessibility barriers to the application process. Accommodations that can be provided to support applicants may include an oral or video submission component. Applicants who require assistance are encouraged to request accommodation at least two weeks before the deadline by contacting Stephanie McArthur via email or by leaving a voicemail at 416-203-2155 ext 262.

Applications will be notified of the jury’s decision by March 20, 2021.

A jury composed of three industry professionals and one Hot Docs representative will review all submitted proposals. Applicants will be considered on their passion, initiative, experience and promise.

Alumni Benefits
Doc Accelerator fellows will receive Hot Docs alumni status upon completion of their participation in the Doc Accelerator Emerging Filmmaker Lab. View Alumni Benefits.

For past participants, mentors and juries, please visit our archives:
2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014

Supported by

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Presenting Platinum Partner

  • logo Scotia Wealth Management

Founding Partner

  • logo Rogers

Signature Partner

  • Logo Cbc Gem

Presenting Partners

  • Logo Crave 2019
  • logo Netflix

Major Supporters

  • logo telefilm
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