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Photo by Joseph Michael Howarth

We at Hot Docs are joining our fellow cultural institutions across the world in recognizing that our role as a community leader demands we take action to dismantle systems of oppression. We have heard the call from Black Lives Matter and others to confront the systemic violence, racism and inequities faced by Black, Indigenous, People of Colour (BIPOC) in all facets of our society.

We are invested in long-term societal change and are continually reinvigorating our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) strategies and initiatives meet this goal. 

We acknowledge that we have made mistakes, and that as an institution we are starting from a position of ingrained white privilege. We must work to recognize the ways our organization has compounded the very real issues faced by BIPOC members of our community.

We will listen. We will learn. We will act on our values.

This is our commitment:

As an employer, we will work to ensure that BIPOC staff feel safe, supported and respected, and that members of the BIPOC community feel encouraged to join our team. In addition to our established EDI goals and guidelines that inform our hiring practices, we are committed to providing ongoing EDI workshops and mandatory anti-bias training for staff and volunteers.

As an organization with a platform to amplify voices, we will work to ensure that our programming provides opportunities for BIPOC storytellers to share their craft and be celebrated. We will also work to ensure that BIPOC audience members feel welcomed, engaged and invested in our offerings and that barriers to their participation are removed. Toronto is one of the world’s most culturally diverse cities, and the breadth of stories on our screens must reflect this diversity.

In our support for the future of filmmaking, we will continue to ensure that BIPOC filmmakers have access to funding opportunities, professional development programs and other resources to support their filmmaking.

We seek to address systemic barriers in access to industry programming and funds through consultation with priority groups, ensuring representation from BIPOC communities on selection committees, and proactive regional outreach.

We continue to provide professional development and funding opportunities for filmmakers through programs like the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Fund and Hot Docs Forum, but also have special initiatives focused on providing funding to under-represented communities and regions through Doc Ignite, Doc Accelerator, Hot Docs Incubator, Canadian Storytellers Project, Hot Docs-Blue Ice Docs Fund and CrossCurrents Doc Funds.

Through dialogues with our staff, audiences, industry and wider communities, we continually challenge ourselves to do better. We have embarked on the following initiatives to further build a more equitable, diverse and inclusive organization, and to reflect these values in our activities.

We have created an EDI anti-racism working group whose primary focus is to develop opportunities and resources that will help grow the organization’s internal capacity in these areas. This staff-led group will also provide valuable recommendations, perspectives, feedback and ideas to advance EDI-related external programs and best practices.

We have launched new monthly screening series, For Viola, named in honour of Canadian civil rights icon Viola Desmond, who was arrested and jailed for refusing to leave the whites-only seating area of a Nova Scotia cinema. Curated by BIPOC programmers, the series will focus on BIPOC filmmakers and BIPOC-led stories. To minimize barriers to audience participation, all screenings will be accessible free of charge.

We recognize that this is a beginning and not an end. More details on our commitment to EDI initiatives can be found below, including more on existing programs:

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