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Doc Accelerator Emerging Filmmaker Lab

Accelerate your doc-making career at Hot Docs Festival 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 during the Hot Docs Festival where they will learn from industry experts and engage in hands-on workshops before participating in the Festival’s full slate of 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.


Eight to twelve 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: Indigenous, Francophone, Deaf, with a disability, or person of colour.
  • 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 to work flexible hours for the duration of the 200-hour mentorship program which will take place at an agreed time between April 2020 - April 2021
  • Able to attend the Hot Docs Festival,May 1–May 8, 2020 in person


  • Enrollment in the Doc Accelerator Emerging Filmmaker Lab at Hot Docs 2020
  • Hot Docs All-Access Pass ($999 value), with access to the Hot Docs Forum, screenings, social events, 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
  • A customized Hot Docs conference itinerary including exclusive dinners and events.
  • Access to the Hot Docs Online Community for one year
  • One Hot Docs Program Guide, Industry Guide and delegate bag
  • Travel and accommodation support will be provided to applicants living outside the Greater Toronto Area.

Festival and Lab
On May 2 and 3, fellows will participate in a two-day private lab during the 2020 Hot Docs Festival. During this lab, fellows will hear from a variety of industry experts and will engage in hands-on workshops and activities such as creating short documentaries. Fellows will then participate in the 2020 Hot Docs conference week attending the Hot Docs Forum, industry panels and sessions, networking events and screenings.

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
Following the Festival, fellows will be matched with a successful Canadian documentary production company located within their geographic region. The fellows will work alongside their matched production company, 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. Paid placements will be approximately 200 hours in length.

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.

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.

Selection Process

Applications for the 2020 program 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, video or in-person 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 at 416-203-2155 ext 262.

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. Applicants will be notified of the jury’s decision by March 20, 2020.

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

Supported by

  • Supported by

All >

Presenting Platinum Partner

  • logo Scotia Wealth Management

Founding Partner

  • logo Rogers

Signature Partner

  • logo CBC Docs

Presenting Partners

  • Logo Crave 2019
  • logo Netflix

Major Supporter

  • logo telefilm