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Theatrical Stream Guidelines

The Theatrical Stream of the CrossCurrents Doc Fund supports a new range of documentary filmmakers with auteur driven stories from underrepresented and marginalized communities from around the world.

Established in 2016, the Theatrical Stream is underwritten by the Panicaro Foundation.

2017 applications now closed.

Please read the below guidelines and our FAQs before applying. Questions? Contact Olena Decock at [email protected].

The Theatrical Stream grants up to $30,000 CAD to one or more documentary projects. This can reflect up to 50 per cent of the project’s production budget.

In addition to the production grant, the successful recipients will be provided with a Hot Docs Fellowship that includes travel, accommodation and accreditation to the annual Hot Docs Festival and enrollment in the Emerging Filmmakers Lab and mentorship initiatives.

The Fund seeks to support projects where its contribution provides for maximum impact, especially those that target broad audiences, reach across a range of communities, and encourage understanding and appreciation of unheard voices.

Applicants must be:

  • An emerging filmmaker from anywhere in the world (with three or fewer professional directing credits). Please refer to our FAQs for details on professional credits.
  • The primary rights holder of the project
  • The director attached to the film project
  • In good standing with Hot Docs by application date

Projects must be:

  • Low-budget films ($300,000 CAD amount max)
  • Feature length works (50-90 minutes)
  • Majority owned by the director applicant
  • In production

We will not accept:

  • Submissions from producers
  • Film project proposals that are school, institute or university course work, or are shorts, TV series, web series or fiction pieces.
  • Projects at a rough-cut stage or projects that will be finished by Hot Docs 2018


Applicants will be informed of the Selection Committee’s decision approximately three months after the submission deadline. The length of the evaluation period will be determined by the volume of submissions received.

Decision Criteria
Applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Overall adherence to the Fund’s aims, especially regarding the relationship of the filmmaker with the subject matter of the project
  • Filmmakers must demonstrate how they are storytelling from within the underrepresented community, as opposed to looking in from the outside
  • Strength, style and originality of the subject matter and the treatment
  • An assessment of the grant’s total financial and professional impact on the project’s realization
  • Vision and ability of the filmmaker
  • Feasibility of the project with respect to its budget, financing, schedule and scope
  • The film’s strategy to access meaningful audience engagement
  • Illustration of a digital/online engagement and distribution strategy


Successful applicants will receive a conditional commitment letter from the Fund. The applicant must provide copies of signed financial commitments from all sources of confirmed funding to date, and a detailed development or production budget. The conditions will have to be met before an agreement will be entered into. If the conditions have not been met within 30 business days of the date of the commitment letter, the Fund may rescind its commitment. Recipients of the Fund will be required to provide Hot Docs with annual project status reports.

The drawdown schedule will be more clearly described in the Agreement.

Fund Recognition

CrossCurrents Doc Fund support is to be acknowledged with a prominent logo on the end credits of the film as well as on publicity and all promotional materials related to the production. More specific credit requirements will be described in the Agreement.


The online application must be submitted in English. There is no application fee. All materials received by Hot Docs are confidential.

Read the eligibility rules, and guidelines before proceeding to the online application form. Do not send anything by post or email to the Hot Docs office.

Required Information

Please use this as a guide and refer to the online application for more detailed information. All currencies must be submitted in Canadian Dollars.

  • Primary contact information for Director applicant
  • Production company information
  • Title, genre, duration, language, format, production country
  • Co-production information, if applicable
  • Logline (2-3 sentences)
  • Synopsis (750 words)
  • Topic Summary (750 words)
  • Treatment (500 words)
  • Status Report of Project (500 words)
  • Intended Audience (500 words)
  • Applicant Statement (500 words)
  • Grant Impact (500 words)
  • Proposed Production Schedule
  • Budget Summary
  • Financial Strategy (500 words)
  • Footage Links and description
  • Key creative and production personnel credits (200 words) and biographies (200 words)

Supporting Footage

A maximum of 10 minutes of footage may be submitted using up to two separate links. Teasers, trailers, and sample footage must be hosted on an independent website such as Vimeo and submitted via a link. Trailers can be password protected, but must remain live until December 2017. Please ensure that your password does not change during this time. We will not follow up with applicants regarding broken links or expired passwords.

Footage/trailers if in a language other than English must be accompanied by subtitles in English.

Required Supporting Documents

To complete your application, you must prepare and upload all required documents via the online application. Hot Docs reserves the right to request additional information.

INSTRUCTIONS: Please append all supporting document(s) as a single pdf file with the filename as instructed below. Please use a consistent project file name in all files where it reads “ProjectFile.”

Documentation (if applicable) must be submitted in English or with accompanying English translation.


Copies of signed financial commitments from all sources of confirmed funding to date.
Name this file before uploading: CCT17-ProjectTitle-Appendix1


Copy of agreements between the co-producing companies (if applicable).
Name this file before uploading: CCT17-ProjectTitle-Appendix1

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Presenting Platinum Partner

  • logo Scotia Wealth Management

Signature Partner

  • logo documentary-Channel

Presenting Partners

  • logo Bell-Media
  • logo Rogers
  • Logo Samsung

Major Supporters

  • logo Celebrate-Ontario
  • logo telefilm