About Doc Ignite

With a focus on reaching underserved regions within Canada, Doc Ignite labs facilitate new opportunities for filmmakers across the country, supporting them in launching sustainable documentary careers.

We were pleased to continue to be able to offer a mix of online and in-person workshops in 2021-2022, with a return to in-person activities in 2022. To date this year, we have partnered with five organizations to deliver nine editions of our popular, highly practical skills development workshops.

In total, 84 filmmakers have attended Doc Ignite workshops this year, about the Business of Docs, Making Your (Local) Story Global, Building a Sustainable Career, and Creating Marketing Trailers.

Since 2018, 42 workshops have been taught in 15 cities across Canada to over 800 filmmakers.

Madelaine presenting

Available Light Film Festival 2022

Based in Whitehorse, Available Light is one of northern Canada’s foremost festivals, supporting filmmakers from the Yukon and broader northwestern region. For the 7th year of this partnership, Hot Docs presented to Doc Ignite workshops.

Documentary Distribution 101 offers a grounding in audience-engagement fundamentals and was recently updated with first-hand insights from those who have successfully navigated the post-COVID release landscape. Hot Docs also presented Strategies for Building a Sustainable Career, which offers insights on setting career goals and professionalizing your filmmaking practice, offering pragmatic guidance from seasoned independent doc makers.

Julian presenting

Reel Shorts 2022

Founded in 2007, Grand Prairie's week-long Reel Shorts festival presents outstanding short films from around the world. The event is also a premiere regional showcase for filmmakers from northwest Alberta and northeast British Columbia

For the first year of this partnership, Hot Docs presented two Doc Ignite sessions. Documentary Pitch Training equips emerging filmmakers with the tools they need to present anywhere, from formal roundtable to casual conversations. The Making the Local Story Global session—a popular choice for filmmakers interested in packaging their intimate human stories for the global market—offers training on universal storytelling.

Online presentation

Lunenburg Doc Fest 2021

Lunenburg Doc Fest's second digital edition welcomed a broad range of attendees from the east coast, and Hot Docs’ Writing for Documentary Funds and Editing Your Marketing Trailer sessions welcomed 27 emerging and mid-career filmmakers.

The Writing for Documentary Funds session uses successful fund applications as case studies to illustrate what funders look for and crucial tips to make a project stand out, as well as a hands-on component for filmmakers to workshop their own written materials. The Trailer session teaches filmmakers how to create an engaging and powerful trailer—one of the key ways audiences discover docs.

Audience listening attentively

FICFA 2021

As festivals reopened across the country, Hot Docs travelled to the Festival international du cinéma francophone en Acadie (FICFA), the largest festival for les francophone hors Quebec, to present La redaction d'une demande de financement documentaire workshop. The session is designed to arm independent filmmakers with the writing tools to apply for doc funding and presents case studies from successful applications. This session placed a special emphasis on how to apply to the CrossCurrents Canada Doc Fund, which is open to emerging and sophomore documentary filmmakers who are Indigenous, Francophone, Deaf and/or have a disability, racialized and/or persons of colour.

Olena presenting at RIDM

RIDM 2021

Hot Docs and Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal (RIDM) have a multi-year history of synergic partnership. We were thrilled to returned and present Doc Ignite at a snowy RIDM Forum, Quebec's only professional doc market and the largest gathering for francophone doc filmmakers in Canada. From trends observed at their own pitching events, RIDM identified the Writing for Documentary Funds seminar as a key area for their emerging Quebecois filmmakers. The workshop was supplemented by one-on-one meetings between local filmmakers and a bilingual Hot Docs staff member.