Organizers of the Hot Docs International Documentary Festival have postponed this year’s edition, slated to run from April 30-may 10 in Toronto, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ontario’s chief medical officer called for the immediate suspension of gatherings with more than 250 people prior to the announcement, making it impossible to move forward with certainty. Organizers also pointed to the fact that many companies are currently placing restrictions on their employees’ attendance at large events.
“We remain committed to bringing these outstanding documentary films to our audiences and are currently investigating ways that we can do so at a later date,” read a statement from the festival organizers. “We also intend to replace the onsite industry events, scheduled to take place during the Festival.
“Plans are currently underway to bring together filmmakers, producers and industry decision makers in an online environment and to virtually deliver the event’s valuable pitch presentations and one-on-one meetings,” the statement continued.
One of the top festivals on the documentary circuit, Hot Docs has drawn audiences of more than 220,000 annually, along with thousands of filmmakers and industry delegates from over 55 countries.
The cancellation of the event is the latest in a series of conferences and festivals that have had to pull the plug in the wake of the virus’ spread, and as officials at local and national levels issue bans on large-scale gatherings.