Canadian doc fest eyes German market

Hot Docs will send a delegation to the Leipzig doc and animation festival in October, and spotlight German film at its Toronto event in 2002.
July 19, 2001

Hot Docs has met with success Down Under and north of the 54th parallel. Now, the annual Toronto documentary event is targeting Germany for its international exchange program. ‘Germany is an area we want to focus on, largely because of its market potential,’ says Chris McDonald, Hot Docs’ executive director.

To get the exchange underway, Hot Docs will take a delegation of 12 to 15 Canadian doc-makers to this year’s International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film (October 16 to 21). McDonald explains that Hot Docs picked Leipzig because it’s a smaller, doc-dedicated event, as opposed to an event like the Berlin Festival, where docs are only one part of a much larger program. While McDonald’s primary purpose at Leipzig will be to help the Canadian attendees network and suss out new financing sources, he will also be looking for German films to program at Hot Docs (April 26 to May 5, 2002).

If the past few exchanges are any indication, this interaction will lead to increased German attendance at the 2002 Toronto doc fest. When Australia was spotlighted in ’99, the number of Aussie attendees rose to 40 from three the previous year. Likewise, last year saw Nordic numbers jump to 50 from 15 in 2000, owing to Hot Docs’ Nordic focus. Says McDonald, ‘We promote our festival as hard as we can, to make [people] realize it’s a viable destination.’

Hot Docs has issued an open call to Canadian independent producers/directors interested in taking part. McDonald notes that each doc-maker’s attendance is subsidized – participants pay a CDN$500 (US$325) fee and cover hotel costs; Hot Docs takes care of airfare and festival fees. The deadline for applications is August 24, 2001.

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About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.