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Hot Docs is a not-for-profit organization advancing and celebrating the art of documentary and creating production opportunities for documentary filmmakers. It operates North America’s largest documentary festival, conference, and market, annually welcoming audiences of over 228,000 and more than 2,600 industry delegates to Toronto. Hot Docs operates year-round with revenues of up to $9 million and a team of 70 full-and part-time employees. It supports the Canadian and international industry, offers a Canada-wide streaming service, and introduces students to documentaries in schools and in the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, the world’s first and largest documentary cinema.

The lead executive officer of Hot Docs, the President reports to a Board of Directors and is responsible for the successful leadership, administration, and management of the organization and all its activities and initiatives. The President will be a person who understands and is passionate about the art, production, and reach of documentary filmmaking. An experienced business leader of a complex, entrepreneurial, and socially motivated organization, you understand the need for teamwork, fiscal discipline alongside of financial forecasting and modeling, and authentic relationship-building with audiences, sponsors, and industry. A listener and synthesizer, you are comfortable leading an experienced team of subject matter experts in nurturing new strengths that are diverse, inclusive, productive, and keenly attuned to a changing marketplace.

With your background in arts or not-for-profit organizational leadership – or perhaps private sector leadership with a history of volunteerism – you are a wise builder, peer, mentor, and aspirational thinker who is deeply committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion. You are also an inspiring storyteller who has a holistic understanding of non-profit organizations, operations, financials and events experience. Above all, you are a collaborative leader who will work with the team to chart a bright and innovative future for Hot Docs.


The Role

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the President is responsible for the successful leadership and management of the organization according to the strategic direction set by the Board. As the lead executive officer, the President is calm under pressure, diplomatic, and focuses primarily on all aspects of management and administration of the organization.


The President is responsible for:

  • Provides executive leadership to successfully grow the organization, ensuring its continued relevance and value to documentary audiences and to the Canadian and international documentary industry;
  • With the Board of Directors, guides the development and implementation of strategic plans;
  • Identifies, assesses, and informs the Board of internal and external issues that affect the organization.
  • With department heads, determines the strategic direction of the company as well as staffing requirements for organizational management and program delivery;
  • Ensures successful implementation of policies, procedures, and practices, including effective talent management, engagement, and succession planning process;
  • Works with department heads, accounting team, and the Finance Committee to prepare a comprehensive annual budget, and to administer funds, approve expenditures, monitor cash flow, and provide regular reports and updates to the Board on organizational revenues and expenses;
  • Ensures that the organization carries sufficient insurance, and complies with all legislations with regards to taxes, withholding payments, and charity regulations;
  • Fosters a commitment to equity, diversity, and including, and maintains a positive, healthy, and safe work environment;
  • Recruits, coaches, and mentors team members.

  • Attends the majority of Festival events;
  • Communicates with external stakeholders (including public speaking and media interviews) to inform / publicize Hot Docs' work; 
  • Establishes effective working relationships and collaborations with arts sector groups and organizations (especially within film/television/media), corporate funders, public sector partners, elected representatives, and other stakeholders to advance the mission of Hot Docs.

The Candidate

  • Undergraduate or advanced degree (or equivalent experience) in a relevant field, such as arts administration or business management.
  • Significant experience as a leader or volunteer in a complex, mission-driven not-for-profit which has moved through various change and growth cycles;
  • Strong business acumen with a track record of organizational growth, financial discipline and management across complex budgets alongside fundraising stewardship;
  • Executive-level leadership in the film/arts industry; previous executive involvement with festivals or other major events;
  • Exceptional experience around project management and multi-pronged strategy development for multi-year organizational planning;
  • International exposure and/or ability to build international profile and networks;
  • Experience reporting to or contributing to an engaged volunteer Board; able to attract and engage new Board members;
  • A track record of intelligent risk-taking with a history of anticipating and adapting to market disruption and successfully embracing and leading change;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, with a track record of building effective working relationships with internal and external stakeholders, including government, media, industry, donors, and the community;
  • A fundamental understanding of digital media, its impact and potential;
  • Understanding of traditional and digital communications, marketing, and audience engagement;
  • A successful track record of building and maintaining an inclusive and healthy organizational culture.
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 contact to ensure your accessibility needs are accommodated throughout this process. Information received relating to the accommodation will be addressed confidentially.

Applications will be reviewed immediately upon receipt.

Please submit your applications to Elena Romanova, Sr. HR Consultant, at [email protected]

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