Citizen Minutes Bnr Sophia Burke

Citizen Minutes

A collection of commissioned short creative documentaries that will explore civic engagement in Canada.

For the Citizen Minutes project, Hot Docs is seeking applications to support short films that:

  • capture Canadian stories of people or groups who are actively involved in advancing social and cultural fabrics
  • seek to inspire viewers to become change agents in their own communities
  • explore (but are not limited to) themes such as resilience, healthy democracy, empathy, empowerment, and social equity

Hot Docs will be producing approximately ten short original documentaries in various styles. Aimed at inspiring engaged citizenship, with a focus on youth, the films will range from microdocs to shorts.

Microdocs Shorts


$2,500 to $10,000

$10,000 to $35,000


1-2 mins (approx.)

2-8 mins (approx.)

Selected projects will receive financial, production and post-production support to create and deliver the films, including potential mentorship. Hot Docs is the commissioner of the films and will own the copyright.

Hot Docs aims to be more diverse and inclusive and encourages directors who are Black, Indigenous, People of Colour, and people of all ages, genders, sexual orientations and disabilities to apply.


Applicants must:

  • Be the (co)director(s) attached to the film project
  • A Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • Not apply with more than two projects

All projects must:

  • Be able to shoot between December 2020 – February 2021, not accounting for the post-production timeline of the film.
  • NOT be projects that are school, institute, post-secondary course work, part of an existing series, or fiction films
  • NOT be a completed project, but we will consider projects with some development or production work already completed, providing all rights are available and are able to be assigned to Hot Docs.


The online application must be submitted in English or French before the deadline. There is no application fee. All materials received by Hot Docs are confidential. Please read the eligibility rules, guidelines and FAQs section before proceeding to the online application form.

Application Support

The Citizens Minutes application is considerate of technological, social, and accessibility barriers to the application process. While the application questions are in English, the applicant may complete it in either English or French. The application process will be considerate of the applicant’s ability to communicate their submission; accommodations that can be made may include a video component. Potential applicants who require assistance are encouraged to request accommodation at least two weeks before the deadline date by contacting [email protected] or by leaving a voicemail at 416.203.2155 x255.


Applicants will be informed of the Selection Committee’s decision in early December. Applications deemed complete and eligible will be submitted to a Selection Committee made up of and determined by representatives from Hot Docs and the creative co-producers.

Decision Criteria

Applications will be evaluated based on feasibility, creative merit, audience, and fit with mandate.

For more information, please review the detailed breakdown.


Applications are now closed.

Submission guidelines for Citizen Minutes are subject to change.

In partnership with

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 Supporters

  • logo telefilm
  • logo tourism_Celebrate-Ontario