Public FAQs

FAQs: Box Office & Tickets

What does RUSH TICKETS mean?

There are no advance tickets remaining, but tickets may still be available for purchase at the venue in the rush line. Roughly one hour before each screening, a line of people wishing to purchase tickets will form outside of the venue. Fifteen minutes before the screening, Festival staff count empty seats in the theatre and allow the corresponding number of patrons from the rush line to purchase tickets at that time. In the past, over 80 per cent of people who waited in the rush line were able to attend.

How do I purchase Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema tickets?

Tickets can be purchased online at or in person from the Cinema box office at 506 Bloor Street West, which is open daily, from one hour before the first screening of the day.

View the Cinema Schedule

How do I forward tickets I purchased online to someone else?

Sign in to your Hot Docs online account and choose “Forward Tickets” from “My Account.” Select the ticket(s) you wish to forward, enter the recipient’s name and email address, and send them their ticket(s).

After forwarding the tickets, you will receive a new email with your remaining ticket(s). The barcodes on your original ticket(s) will no longer be valid.

Tickets can be forwarded until one hour before the start of the screening.

What is Hot Docs’ refund policy?

All Festival ticket sales and fees are final and non-refundable.

Festival tickets may be exchanged in person at the Crave Box Office at Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema up to two hours in advance of the printed screening time. A $1.00 per ticket fee applies. No ticket exchanges will be made at the individual venue box offices.

How early should I arrive before a Festival screening?

We recommend that you arrive at least 30 minutes before the start of each screening. Seating is guaranteed until 15 minutes before the start of every screening, and no entry will be permitted more than 15 minutes after show time.

Can I attend a Hot Docs Festival screening if I am under 18 years of age?

Hot Docs attempts to have all of its films rated by the Ontario Film Review Board by late March, but unless otherwise noted, films are 18+. For more information on rating classifications and the Ontario Film Review Board, please visit

FAQs: Using a Package

How do I use a ticket package?

In March, the complete Hot Docs Festival schedule will be announced. At this time, you can use your package credits to get tickets to the Festival screenings of your choice, subject to availability. There are several ways to redeem your credits:

A. Online: Sign in with your username or email to browse films, create your schedule, and get your tickets online 24/7.

B. By Phone: Call the box office at 416.637.3123 during regular box office hours.

C. In Person: Visit us person to the Crave Box Office at Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema during regular box office hours.

D. At Venues: You can also use your ticket credits in person during the Festival at any of our participating screening venues for same day or rush tickets. Venue box offices will open one hour before the first screening of the day at the venue, and once open will have tickets for all showings at their venue that day. They will not have tickets for screenings at that venue for a later date, or same-day tickets for screenings at other Festival venues.

How do I use my Premium Pass?

First, you need to pick up your pass from the Crave Box Office at Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema starting March 24, 2020.

On the day of the screening, you can use your pass to pick up tickets online or by presenting your pass at the venue for the screening. Once you have your ticket, you can join the ticket holders line.

You can use your pass to obtain tickets online starting at 8:00 a.m. on the day of the screening until one hour before the screening start time. Simply login and select your tickets.

Present your pass to the box office staff at the venue on the day of the screening. Venue box offices open one hour before the first screening of the day, and only have tickets for the screenings happening that day.

This pass does not allow the bearer front-of-line access, priority seating or access to Hot Docs industry events/facilities.
With a ticket, seating is guaranteed until 15 minutes before showtime; no entry more than 15 minutes after showtime.
*A block of tickets are held in reserve for pass holders, and tickets are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, subject to availability. If no pass holder tickets remain, a pass holder rush line will form and be given priority over the general admission rush line. Fifteen minutes before the screening, Festival staff count empty seats in the theatre and allow the corresponding number of pass holders from the rush line to obtain a ticket.

FAQs: Festival Volunteers

What is the application process like?

We ask potential volunteers to fill out our application form and attend one of our orientation sessions in March and April.

We don’t hold any one-on-one interviews, but are happy to meet with new volunteers at the orientation sessions.

When will I hear back about my application?

While applications open in September, you will not hear from us regarding next steps until the beginning of February.

Is there an age requirement to volunteer?

Yes, all volunteers must be at least 18 years of age due to the restricted content of some of the Festival films.

What is covered in an orientation session?

Orientation sessions address Hot Docs’ history and practices, with special attention to:

a) What kinds of opportunities are available?
Hot Docs offers our volunteers the chance to develop their skills, and offers roles in leadership, special events, industry, theatre operations, administration, marketing, and more.

b) What is the online scheduling system?
Our online scheduling system for volunteers is called the Volunteer Portal. You will receive access to the Portal after attending an orientation session, where the basics of the system are reviewed.

c) What kinds of benefits are available?
For every shift that’s completed, a volunteer will receive one or more vouchers. Vouchers are distributed at the end of each shift and can be redeemed for Festival tickets or at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers year-round. Other benefits may depend on the volunteer position.

Do I have to attend a training session?

All new volunteers must attend one orientation session; volunteers will not be invited to participate in the Festival without attending.

Some positions may require additional training. Training sessions will take place after the orientation sessions. While some sessions may not be mandatory, we do recommend attending as it provides on-site experience.

Following the sessions, we do post training materials and manuals on the Volunteer Portal.

How many shifts do I have to complete during the Festival? How long is each shift?

We ask all volunteers to complete FOUR shifts with us during the Hot Docs Festival (pre-Festival shifts DO NOT count toward this minimum). You are welcome to complete more than four shifts, but we advise against doing too many (we want you to see films and have fun)!

Shifts range in length but generally last between four and seven hours. There are a few shifts that may be more than seven hours in length.

Do you offer pre-Festival shifts?

We do offer some very limited opportunities before the Festival. Please note that pre-Festival shifts DO NOT count toward the four shift minimum all volunteers are required to complete.

Most of these shifts are with our street marketing team and in our volunteer or main office. They are a great way to stack up some vouchers to use during the Festival!

Can I sign up for two shifts in one day?

The scheduling system we use does not limit you from signing up for two shifts in one day.

Please be mindful of overlaps and travel time between locations.

What do I have to wear for a shift?

Volunteers are asked to wear the official Hot Docs volunteer t-shirt, clean, appropriate and tidy bottoms, and comfortable shoes while on shift. There are some exceptions to this rule, which is why it’s always a good idea to double-check the dress code requirements in the additional details for each shift. We also advised checking the weather, and coming prepared.

If you fail to show up with your volunteer t-shirt and any other dress code requirements, you may be asked to go home.

Does Hot Docs provide accommodations for out of town volunteers?

No, we are not able to house the hundreds of volunteers who help out each yar.

What if I don’t know my work/school schedule right now? Will I still be able to sign up for shifts?

Yes! If you don’t know your schedule until a week or two in advance, we ask that you wait to claim shifts until your schedule is locked. While our system does allow you to drop a shift 48 hours or more in advance of the shift start time, we ask that you only sign up for shifts you can commit to.

Do you provide transit tokens for volunteers?

We only provide transit tokens for “Floater Volunteers,” a team meets at the Volunteer Office and is then assigned based on what locations need assistance. All other volunteers are responsible for their own transportation to and from their shifts.

How do I get access to specialized volunteer roles?

We offer many specialized volunteer roles in the areas of leadership, industry, marketing, special events, and more. These are usually offered to returning volunteers first, before they are open to new volunteers.

Can I watch films while volunteering?

You should never expect to watch films on shift, as you will usually be busy. There are some very rare cases where you may be able to watch a film, but note that you should always check in with your direct supervisor before leaving your post. Feel free to use your vouchers to check out films when you are not volunteering.

I would like to volunteer only at the Hot Docs Ted RogersCinema. How do I apply?

Volunteer opportunities at the Cinema are available to Hot Docs Festival volunteers only. Due to the overwhelming demand for shifts at the Cinema, we keep the team smaller to engage our Festival volunteers year-round. We ask our Cinema volunteers to complete one year with the Festival before committing to year-round opportunities.

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