Hot Docs’ long-serving exec director Chris McDonald (pictured) is to take on the newly created position of president within the organization, in a move that sees MD Brett Hendrie promoted and given control of the Canadian festival.
Hendrie has now become executive director of North America’s largest documentary festival, as McDonald takes on a role that will see him directly overseeing the ongoing growth and activity of the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema in Toronto.
McDonald’s new role is effective immediately, while Hendrie’s came following a meeting of the organization’s board of directors – to whom the duo report – on June 19. Hendrie has been MD of Hot Docs for the past 10 years, while McDonald has led the festival since 1998.
“Chris and Brett have been a remarkably effective team for the past 10 years,” said Michael McMahon, co-chair of Hot Docs’ board of directors, “and we’re thrilled that together they will lead the organization into its next exciting growth phase.
“The board was unanimous in its enthusiastic support for Brett to assume leadership of the festival, and for Chris to oversee the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema and related initiatives. We are fortunate to have these two talented and experienced individuals at the helm.”
The moves come after the festival celebrated its 20th anniversary earlier this year.
“I’m very pleased that the board has approved this transition,” said McDonald. “It will allow me to concentrate on the expansion and enhancement of our new theatrical business, and for Brett to direct the day-to-day operation of this great festival. Running Hot Docs for 15 years has been a dream job, and I welcome these new challenges and opportunities with equal enthusiasm.”
Hendrie added: “I’m humbled and honored for the opportunity to lead a festival for which I care passionately. Chris has been a great mentor for over 10 years, and has created a team culture that embraces creativity and big ideas.
“This is a crucial time for the documentary industry and Hot Docs has an important role to play. I look forward to working closely with the festival’s outstanding team to celebrate and vigorously support the excellent work of documentary filmmakers.”