Hot Docs to highlight “rule breakers and innovators”

Organizers of the upcoming Toronto doc conference and fest will spotlight tech-savvy filmmakers such as keynote Ondi Timoner (pictured) and will introduce a transmedia pitching contest, Connect the Docs.
February 27, 2013

Organizers of the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival have deemed the theme for this year’s conference component to be “Rule Breakers and Innovators,” with an aim to provide attendees with practical tools for working in the shifting landscape of doc-making.

The fest will feature filmmaker Ondi Timoner (pictured) as a keynote presenter. Timoner, the helmer of such docs as Dig!, We Live in Public, and Cool It, has won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance twice, and currently is at work on a docuseries and web channel called A Total Disruption, which examines the “invisible superheroes that use innovative technology to transform our lives permanently.”

In line with the innovation focus, the Hot Docs team, in collaboration with the Cuban Hat Project, is launching the Connect the Docs transmedia pitching contest and event.

Connect the Docs will offer Canadian filmmakers and media creators an opportunity to develop their transmedia documentary ideas and build community around their projects, as well as potentially access different funding models and connect with industry execs.

“Our aim is to give collective support to a handful of strong and beautiful documentary projects while connecting creators with the industry and their potential audience,” the Connect the Docs organizers said in a statement.

Through a combination of online voting and a peer committee assessment, five projects will be selected to win access to the Hot Docs Conference, where they will be presented live to a group of industry colleagues and execs.

The top five projects will also have a chance to win money, goods and services collected “in the hat” from sponsors and individual doc-lovers as part of the Cuban Hat Award, according to the event organizers.

All documentary formats and genres are eligible as long as they include additional technology to enhance the subject matter and audience experience. That includes web docs, multi-platform or crossmedia projects, video games, apps, data visualization tools or installations.

According to the guidelines, submissions should be a maximum three minute video pitch, or “screencast,” that incorporates background on the subject matter, the transmedia storytelling elements and how the audience will interact with them, a strategy to execute the project, and why the story needs to be told.

The deadline for Connect the Docs submissions is March 25, 2013.

The fest has also announced a Masters’ Feedback series, in which two docs-in-progress will receive candid critiques and feedback from cinematographer Kirsten Johnson (The Invisible War) and editor Per K. Kirkegaard (Armadillo, TPB-AFK).

The Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival takes place from April 25-May 5, and the “Rule Breakers and Innovators” conference component happens from April 29-May 3.

(With files from Barry Walsh)

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