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Hot Docs Wraps 26th Anniversary Edition With Record-Breaking Audiences of 228,000

Hot Docs has wrapped its 26th edition with record-breaking audience numbers reaching an estimated 228,000. The 11-day event featured 451 public screenings of 234 films on 14 screens across Toronto, an internationally renowned conference and market for documentary professionals, and Docs For Schools, a phenomenally popular education program for youth. The Festival welcomed more than 300 guest filmmakers and subjects from across Canada and around the world to present their films and take part in special post-screening Q&A sessions with audiences. Official film selections were chosen from 2951 films submitted to the Festival.

At the Festival, Hot Docs presented the eighth edition of the Big Ideas Series, presented by Scotia Wealth Management, which featured screenings and live onstage discussions with prominent documentary subjects. DocX, an interdisciplinary section of the Festival celebrating documentary work that lives outside of the traditional format, ran an expanded program that featured 16 virtual reality and interactive exhibits, a special live event with participation by comedian and YouTube star Jus Reign, a video installation presented in partnership with the Goethe-Institut Toronto, and the international premiere of the doc-hybrid film The Infiltrators. And the third edition of the Food & Film series, which provided in-depth conversations with special Festival guests and partners, was extremely popular with several sold-out events.

At a special encore screening on Sunday night, it was announced that the Rogers Audience Award for Best Canadian Documentary went to Prey (D: Matt Gallagher, Canada), with a $50,000 cash prize, courtesy of Rogers Group of Funds, being given to director Matt Gallagher.

When audience votes were tallied on Monday, it was determined that Maxima (D: Claudia Sparrow, USA) won the Hot Docs Audience Award. Check out the final audience award standings >>

A full week of industry programming was attended by over 2,626 delegates from around the world. Hot Docs mounted a roster of six workshops, four Kickstart panels for emerging filmmakers, 17 conference sessions, 15+ networking events and parties, six micro-meetings, 19 Close Up With… sessions, the Doc Summit, international co-production events, and the Hot Docs Awards Presentation. Hot Docs also hosted official delegations from: Bermuda, Chile, Europe, Germany, Italy, the Nordic Region, Scotland, Japan, the U.S.A. and from the Brown Girls Doc Mafia filmmakers collective and regional delegations from Atlantic Canada, Manitoba, Quebec, and the Yukon.

The Hot Docs Forum, our key international co-financing market event, Deal Maker, our one-on-one curated pitch event, and Distribution Rendezvous, our tailored meeting service for completed films seeking distribution, saw brisk pitching, networking, and deal-making. In total, 21 projects representing 18 countries were presented to a room of over 300 key commissioning editors and funders at the Forum. A total of 56 projects were pitched at approximately 800+ pre-arranged meetings during Hot Docs Deal Maker, while Distribution Rendezvous facilitated approximately 635 meetings for 119 projects.

Doc For Schools, Hot Docs’ education program that runs during the Festival and offers free in-theatre and in-school screenings of select Festival films, saw an estimated 113,800 students participate in the program in 2019 from schools in Toronto and throughout Ontario.



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Presenting Platinum Partner

  • logo Scotia Wealth Management

Signature Partner

  • logo CBC Docs

Presenting Partners

  • Logo Crave 2019
  • logo Netflix
  • logo Rogers

Major Supporters

  • logo Celebrate-Ontario
  • logo telefilm

Platinum Sponsors

  • Logo Tvo
  • Muskoka Brewery