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Hot Docs Streaming FAQs

We’re very excited to bring you the 2021 Hot Docs Festival, April 29 to May 9.

Streaming is geo-blocked to Canada, so you will need to be within the country to stream films.

We hope these FAQs will answer your questions, but if you require further assistance please contact us at [email protected].

Got a question about our year-round programming? Try our Hot Docs Cinema FAQs HERE.

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Tickets, Passes & Packages

When can I get tickets?

Single tickets, passes and packages are on sale now.

Just like the live Festival, we have a limited number of tickets, which will be released on a first-come, first-served basis. Please book early to avoid disappointment.

How do I get tickets?

Start by browsing the Hot Docs Festival Online list of films.

When you find something you’d like to watch, click on the film title. Once on the film page, press the “Get Ticket” button to purchase or reserve your stream.

Package holders and Doc Soup subscribers must sign in first to use their pass/package. Members must sign in first to receive their member discount.

Do I need a Hot Docs account to stream films?

Yes, you need a Hot Docs account.

If you have purchased tickets online to Hot Docs Festival or Hot Docs Cinema, you should already have an account. You can sign in with your member number, email address or user name.

If you do not have an account, you will be asked to create one to get tickets and stream films. Click the text that says “New to Hot Docs? CLICK HERE to sign up” on the sign in page.

How do I use my Hot Docs Unlimited Festival Pass?

As a Hot Docs Unlimited Festival Pass holder, you do NOT need to get tickets.

Once the Festival starts, you can view as many films as you like.

  1. Staring April 29, log into your exclusive viewing portal: watch.hotdocs.ca
  2. Sign in with your Hot Docs username and password.
  3. Scroll through the films, click on the image above a film’s title, and click “Play” to watch.

Festival films will be available to view starting on April 29. Extended viewing runs until 11:59 on May 19.

I have a 5-Pack, 12-Pack or Doc Soup Subscription. How do I get tickets?

If you have a 5-Pack, 12-Pack or Doc Soup Subscription, you will be prompted to sign in with your Hot Docs account.

Once you have signed in, navigate to the film list and select your film. On the film page, click on the GET TICKET button. Select the Stream – Package option, and click ADD TO CART.

After adding to your cart, you can return to the list of films to get more tickets. Once you have selected all your films, proceed to checkout.

Tickets are subject to availability so book yours early to avoid disappointment!

Can I share my 5-Pack, 12-Pack, Unlimited Festival Pass or Doc Soup Subscription tickets with friends?

No. Packages, passes and subscriptions are intrinsically tied to the purchaser’s account and are not shareable. Packages and subscriptions also only allow one stream per film, per package.

Do Hot Docs Members receive member pricing or free tickets?

Hot Docs Members receive member pricing on all films screening as part of Hot Docs Festival Online. The member price is $11.50 (regular $13) per film.

Remember to sign in before purchasing. The special member pricing option will not appear until you are signed in.

I have a Promo Code. Can I use it to stream a film?

Yes. Click the GET TICKET button and enter the promo code when prompted. Once you have entered the promo code, your appropriately priced promotional ticket option will appear. Select this option and continue to check out. Your order will be complete once you have clicked “Make Payment” or “Finalize Order.”

Note: Only one promo code can be used per film.

I want to get a ticket, but the film is SOLD OUT? Why?

Just like the live Festival, there are a limited number of tickets available per film. Please reserve your tickets early to avoid disappointment.

Are refunds or exchanges available?

Refunds or exchanges are not available. Before completing your order, please ensure that your order is correct and that your browser and device are compatible for streaming.

I have not received my confirmation email. What should I do?

Confirmation emails are sent automatically when you complete your purchase. If you do not recieve a confirmation email within a few minutes of completing your purchase, please check your spam or junk mail folders.

You can still stream your film without the confirmation email. After April 29, either click the WATCH FILM button on the film page or visit the My Streams page.

Streaming Films

What is streaming?

Streaming simply refers to watching a film over your internet connection (instead of downloading a file to your computer). It’s immediate and available on demand with any device that is connected to the internet. Any time you watch something on Netflix or YouTube, you are streaming.

How do I stream a film?

If you have a ticket, simply click the WATCH FILM button. This button appears on the confirmation page after purchase, in your confirmation email and on the film page. You can also access your film(s) on the My Streams page.

Note: To stream you must sign in with your member number, email address or user name.

Watch on your computer, mobile phone or tablet
Currently you can stream through the following web browsers: Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Microsoft Edge, and Opera. For both PC and Apple computers, we recommend that you use the latest version of your browser.
Note: Internet Explorer is not supported.

Watch on your television
There are several options for watching on your television:

Hot Docs App on Apple TV (Generation 4 or higher only) or Roku: If you have a ticket for a film: Look in your confirmation e-mail. On the watch button, you will see a 9-digit number. Open the Hot Docs Channel and enter the number in the ticket holders field to stream the film.


APPLE TV or FireStick
On your computer or phone, go to watch.hotdocs.ca and login with the email associated with your Hot Docs account, and your Hot Docs password. Click the gear icon in the top right of the screen to open settings. Select “Watch on TV”

On the app on your TV, select “link this device,” and then enter the code displayed on your TV on your computer in the field that says “Enter Pairing Code.”

Login to the passholder’s field, using the email attached to your Hot Docs account and your Hot Docs password.

If you do not already have the Hot Docs app downloaded, search for “Hot Docs” in the Roku channel store and click “Add Channel” OR search for “Hot Docs” in the App store and click “Get the App.”

Screen Sharing (Chromecast & Apple TV): You can stream films on Chromecast or Apple TV (all generations) by screen sharing your smartphone, tablet, or computer on the same Wi-Fi network. Instructions for screen sharing using your Apple TV using AirPlay can be found here. For information on screen sharing using your Chromecast, click here.

HDMI: If you have a laptop or nearby computer with an HDMI port, you can connect it directly to your television, using it as a second monitor. That said, connection details will depend on your setup. We recommend referencing your television’s manual for more information.

When can I begin streaming my films?

Films will be available starting at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 29. You can stream by clicking the WATCH FILM button in your confirmation email or on the film page, or by going to the My Streams page.

How long after getting a ticket do I have to stream a film?

If using tickets or a ticket package, films are available from April 29 to May 9.

If you have Hot Docs Unlimited Festival Pass, films are available until May 19.

All streams are available for 48 hours from the moment you being watching.

Can I watch a film more than once?

Yes. Once you begin watching you have 48 hours to view the film. During this 48-hour period, you can watch or restart the film as many times as needed.

I am not currently in Canada. Why can’t I stream a film?

All films participating in Hot Docs Festival are geo-blocked to Canada You must be within the country to stream the films.

With the shift to online, Hot Docs had to create new digital agreements with filmmakers and distributors, and those agreements included limiting Hot Docs Festival Online streaming access to Canada.

I am in Canada but am unable to stream and keep getting a message that says “Film not available in your region.” How do I fix this?

Please contact [email protected].

Can I use a VPN while streaming?

No. If you pause the film and continue watching, you will receive an error. Turn off your VPN before you click WATCH FILM.

If you receive an error after you started watching a stream with your VPN on, please contact [email protected].

I am receiving this error message: “Your voucher has been redeemed by a different IP address.” Why?

For security reasons, you must view your film on the same wifi network or internet connection. Once you start your stream in one location, you cannot continue viewing it in another location or on a different network. For example, if you start watching at home and try to restart at a friend’s house. Alternately, you can only use different devices in one location if they are using the same network. For example, if you start watching on a TV and switch to a tablet or laptop, they both need to be connected to the same wifi network.

If you are receiving this message in error, please contact [email protected].

Is closed captioning available on the films?

We have endeavoured to ensure that as many films as possible have either closed or open captioning. Captions are indicated on the film pages with CC for closed captioning.

Closed captions can be turned on or off while streaming the film. To turn them on, select English (CC) in the subtitle window at the bottom right corner of the video player.

Why are there numbers in the top left corner of my screen? Can I get rid of it?

These numbers are an anti-piracy watermark.

Hot Docs works with Festival filmmakers to enable anti-piracy measures to ensure that films stream with the highest level of security. The number is an unique visible watermark tied to your ticket and cannot be removed. Under Canada’s Copyright Act, unauthorized copying or distribution of copyrighted material is illegal.


How do I vote for the Hot Docs audience awards and $50,000 Rogers Audience Award?

To vote, watch a film, then click on the stars on the film streaming page (1 - lowest, 5-highest) to cast your vote. Voting closes on May 8, at 11:59 p.m. ET.

All official are eligible for the Hot Docs audience awards, which will recognize the top films as determined by audience poll. The winner of the Hot Docs Audience Award for feature documentary also qualifies for consideration for the Oscar for Documentary Feature without standard theatrical runs, provided the films otherwise comply with the Academy rules.

Feature-length documentaries screening as part of Hot Docs Festival Online that have a Canadian director and are CAVCO-certified will be eligible for the Rogers Audience Award. The top five Canadian documentaries as determined by audience poll will each win a cash prize of $10,000 CAD.

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Presenting Platinum Partner

  • logo Scotia Wealth Management

Founding Partner

  • logo Rogers

Signature Partner

  • Logo Cbc Gem

Presenting Partners

  • logo Crave
  • logo Netflix

Major Supporters

  • logo Celebrate Ontario
  • logo telefilm