Skip to main content

Hot Docs is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing and celebrating the art of documentary and to creating production opportunities for documentary filmmakers.

Held in Toronto each spring, Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival is North America’s largest documentary festival, conference and market. Each year, the Festival presents approximately 200 Canadian and international films to audiences exceeding 220,000. For documentary professionals, we offer a dynamic slate of industry events and initiatives, including the flagship Hot Docs Forum, as well as a full roster of professional development opportunities.

Hot Docs also owns and operates the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, a 650-seat, century-old screening venue in Toronto, that is a year-round home for Canadian and international documentaries in addition to a variety of nonfiction live events series.

Hot Docs produces a host of year-round programming to support the documentary filmmaking community and to expand the reach of documentary films. The Docs for Schools program, offers teachers access to free documentary screenings and educational resources, serving student audiences of over 128,000. Hot Docs Industry program administers a number of funds and labs aimed at cultivating the next generation of documentary filmmakers as well as providing valuable support for the veteran storytellers.

OPPORTUNITY TYPE: Full-time Permanent

REPORTS TO: Executive Director/President

APPLICATION DEADLINE: September 30, 2023 (Applications will be reviewed as received)


Reporting to the Executive Director/President, the Artistic Director is a key member of the organization’s senior management team. They will be responsible for developing the programming vision for the organization and aligning it with a financially sustainable business model.

This scope will include, but not be limited to the annual Festival, building upon Hot Docs’ reputation for presenting a high-calibre documentary slate each year; programming at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, Docs For Schools educational programming and all other year-round programming needs, overseeing a team of highly-motivated film programmers and cultural event curators. They will strategically manage the vision and programming process, including relationships with filmmakers and external stakeholders, while overseeing the department’s programming and administrative teams.

The Artistic Director will also be expected to contribute to the long-term visioning and strategic planning processes for the organization, and to work across and in collaboration with the senior management team to help develop new initiatives and direct existing projects, both live-event and online-based as required to ensure smooth programming operations, and that programming goals are achieved efficiently and effectively.



  • Direct and shape the Festival’s overall programming to meet and exceed international standards and to elevate Hot Docs’ reputation with filmmakers, funders, and public audiences.
  • Ensure a united vision between Festival programming elements and the organization’s vision, mission and strategic goals.
  • Supervise the selection of a diverse documentary slate that considers multiple factors, including audience and media response, originality, and creative merit.
  • Develop programming strategies that incorporate major live-event, digital, interdisciplinary, interactive, and social elements; candidates who can demonstrate innovative thinking or who have proven experience in these areas will be preferred.
  • Represent Hot Docs locally and at international festivals and industry events, and with the media; candidates with strong public speaking and presentation skills will be preferred.
  • Lead programming vision and annual plans for Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, offering a year-round slate of diverse non-fiction programming for Toronto audiences and global online audiences.
  • Strategic oversight of educational programming via Docs For Schools offerings that serve educators and students across Canada.
  • Ensuring cross-programming team collaboration, communication and synergistic opportunities are identified and realized.
  • Construct timelines for programming that incorporate outreach to Canadian and international filmmaking, broadcasting and distribution communities.
  • Maintain excellent working relationships with domestic and international filmmakers, distributors, sales agents and other content and media entities.
  • Oversee the selection of the Festival’s programming spotlight subjects, including national cinema programs, retrospectives and honours.
  • Lead in the development of new special events or programming strands, including formulating budget, sponsorship, marketing and operational considerations.
  • Work closely with programming teams to oversee programming for Doc Soup, a diverse and robust slate of year-round Cinema offerings and an engaging, curriculum-connected program of documentaries curated by the Docs For Schools team. Ensure maximum synergies and collaboration across programming teams via annual planning process and regular all-team check-ins.
  • Represent the Programming Department in all interdepartmental meetings and planning
  • Lead the Festival’s, Cinema’s and Docs For Schools programming teams by establishing clear evaluation criteria and priorities, critical paths and deadlines by which they are to operate.
  • Manage the work of multiple direct reports and team supervision of numerous seasonal and contract employees.
  • Provide direction to the Festival’s film submission and solicitation process, screening and evaluation systems, scheduling operations, and curatorial note creation.
  • Formulate and oversee departmental budgets.
  • Ensure programming plan and curatorial vision aligns and supports a financially sustainable business plan.
  • Liaise with the Hot Docs Board of Director’s programming committee and report programming activities to the wider Board of Directors.
  • Oversee guest filmmaker relations and maintain a high standard for Festival hospitality.
  • Work with the communications department to develop media and marketing strategies for programming; participate in media interviews/ editorial meetings with key outlets.
  • Work with the industry programs department to coordinate shared or connected public and industry initiatives and events.
  • Work with Development and Sponsorship teams to support fundraising and philanthropy goals from a programming perspective.
  • Develop and support skills development and career growth of programming team.
  • Represent Hot Docs internationally at key festivals and documentary-focused events.


  • Minimum 12-15 years of programming, distribution, cinema management and/or film festival experience, with demonstrated expertise and in-depth knowledge of the documentary genre.
  • Excellent grasp of theatrical and broadcast documentary industry, strong understanding of Canadian and international documentary filmmaking community, familiarity with major festivals and key players, and depth of knowledge about current industry trends.
  • Strong and demonstrable negotiation skills.
  • Strong digital media, event production and arts administration experience are strong assets.
  • Management and budgetary background, with very strong team-building, communication and motivational skills.
  • Strong business acumen with experience in developing business plans and strategies.
  • Demonstrated strength of deep relationships with filmmakers, distributors, sales agents, major festivals and funding agencies considered a strong asset.
  • Excellent public speaking and written communication abilities including comfort with live media interviews.
  • Demonstrated successful experience incorporating the principles and practice of EDI into their managerial approach.
  • Ability to work as a member of a high-performing team and manage multiple projects and deadlines.
  • University degree, specialization in film studies, art, or journalism may be an asset but is not required.
  • Bilingualism (English and French) are assets.


Please forward a cover letter and resume to Elena Romanova. Applications will be assessed as they are received until September 30.

Attn: Elena Romanova
Re: Hiring Committee – Artistic Director
Email: [email protected]

No phone calls please.

Hot Docs is a forum to share stories and perspectives on the people, issues and events that shape our world, and we encourage respectful discussion and debate to foster greater understanding and empathy.

An integral component of this is Hot Docs’ commitment to fostering an organizational culture that brings together people with different races, identities, abilities, experiences and skills. Hot Docs is committed to reflecting the diverse communities we serve in the stories we present and also in our workforce. We encourage applications from diverse communities and welcome applicants who have demonstrated a commitment to upholding the values of equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Hot Docs encourages applications from qualified candidates and will accommodate applicants’ needs throughout all stages of the recruitment and selection process. Please advise the hiring manager to ensure your accessibility needs are accommodated throughout this process. Information received relating to the accommodation will be addressed confidentially.

Get the latest from Hot Docs

Sign up for e-news and keep up to date with the latest from Hot Docs and Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema.
  • Advance notices about upcoming films
  • The latest on festival dates and tickets
  • Customize your preferences
  • Unsubscribe at any time
Sign up