At a news conference yesterday, Michaelle McLean, director of Hot Docs’ Toronto Documentary Forum (TDF) announced CTV’s commitment of CDN$1 million to the annual pitching event, now in its second year. The contribution was made through the BCE-CTV benefits package, and is to be dispensed over the next five years. Says McLean, ‘The big value for us is that it gives us five years’ stability, so we can relax on fundraising and focus on making it the best forum in North America.’ This year, the two-day round-table pitching event is scheduled on May 2 and 3, and involves 36 15-minute pitches from producers around the globe. Projects to be pitched at the TDF were selected from 119 submissions. To date, registration has been confirmed for 58 broadcast representatives from 12 countries.
Executive director Chris McDonald announced the festival’s opening night film – Startup.com (Pennebaker Hegedus Films Inc.), which is making its Canadian premiere. Hot Docs received over 1,100 submissions for their 70 screening slots, compared to 569 submissions last year. Screenings are divided into three separate programs: the International Showcase (30 films), the Canadian Spectrum (28 films) and the National Spotlight (12 films from the Nordic countries). The festival will conclude on May 6, with the screening of Spirits of Havana (NFB), followed by the Hot Docs Closing Night Awards Presentation. The festival runs from April 30 to May 6.
In other Hot Docs news, several additions have been made to this industry program. These include: ‘Producer Seminars’ (a series of six moderated discussions on the business side of filmmaking), ‘Cutting Truths’ (a one-day new media conference that looks at the impact of convergence, digitization and interactivity on the future of production), ‘Kickstart’ (a series of sessions geared toward emerging doc-makers), and ‘Rendez-vous’ (an afternoon of one-on-one 15-minute meetings between indies and international documentary financiers).