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Festival Online: Streaming FAQs

We’re very excited to bring you over 140 official 2020 selections as part of Hot Docs Festival Online, starting May 28 on hotdocs.ca.

For the Festival’s 10 days, May 28 to June 6, Ontario audiences will be able to stream documentaries, watch pre-recorded Q&As, and partake in virtual live events. Plus, a large selection of titles will be available for an extended post-Festival viewing window until June 24.

Hot Docs Festival Online will be available at hotdocs.ca. Streaming is geo-blocked to Ontario, so you will need to be within the province to stream films.

We know that participating in a festival online is new for everyone, so have put together these FAQs to address questions you might have about tickets and streaming.

If you require further assistance, our customer service staff would be happy to help. Please contact them at [email protected].

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Tickets, Passes & Packages

When can I get tickets?

Single tickets and 5-Film Streaming Bundles are on sale now. Just like the live Festival, we have a limited number of tickets for each film. They will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, so please book your tickets early to avoid disappointment.

How do I get tickets?

Start by browsing the Hot Docs Festival Online list of films: Click HERE to find 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.

Pass holders, 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.

I have a ticket package, 5-Film Streaming Bundle, Premium Pass or 2019-20 Doc Soup subscription. How do I get tickets?

If you are a ticket package, 5-Film Streaming Bundle or Premium Pass holder, or 2019-20 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 – Passholder 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 ticket package, Premium Pass or 2019-20 Doc Soup subscription with friends?

10-Packs, 20-Packs, Premium Passes and 2019-20 Doc Soup subscriptions are intrinsically tied to the purchaser’s account and are not shareable. They only allow for one stream per film, per package.

If you purchased your 10-Pack or 20-Pack, or are a Doc Soup subscriber, and intended to share your festival tickets, we can divide your ticket between two people. Please contact us at [email protected] and we will make the appropriate adjustments.

Note: 5-Film Streaming Bundles are not shareable and cannot be divided.

Do Hot Docs Members receive member pricing or free tickets?

Hot Docs Members recieve member pricing on all films screening as part of Hot Docs Festival Online. The member price is $8 (regular $9) 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 $0 ticket option be be available.

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. Either click the WATCH FILM button on the film page or visit the My Streams page.

Streaming Films

What is streaming?

For Hot Docs Festival Online, 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’re streaming.

How do I stream a film?

After getting 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 Explore 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: On the film streaming page, click on the WATCH ON ROKU OR APPLE TV button at the top. This will give you a 9-digit voucher code. Open the Hot Docs Channel and enter the code to stream the film.

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.

Why is the Roku channel not working?

On May 30, Roku notified Hot Docs that some channels are not accessible due to a global technical certificate expiration. Forcing a system update may resolve the issue for some users. You can find more information about this issue HERE.

When can I begin streaming my films?

Most films are available to stream beginning at noon on Thursday, May 28. 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?

Some films are available until Saturday, June 6. Most are available until Wednesday, June 24. Please check the individual film records to see how long a specific film is available. The “available until” date will appear under the title of the film on each page.

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 Ontario. Why can’t I stream a film?

All films participating in Hot Docs Festival Online are geo-blocked to Ontario. You must be within the province 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 Ontario.

I am in Ontario 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 and OC for opening 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.

Open captions cannot be turned off.


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

Your voting link is available on the streaming page once you start watching a film, and will be available for your 48-hour viewing window. All voting closes at 11:59 p.m. on June 6

All films 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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