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Submissions are open for the 2023 Hot Docs Festival, taking place April 27 to May 7.

Please note that deadlines and fees may have changed from previous years. Please review the below before submitting.

Submit Now

Questions? Check our our FAQ page or  Contact [email protected]

Deadlines & Pricing

  EArly: 
Until OcT 19
Regular: 
Until Nov 16
Late: 
Until Dec 14
Extended**:
Until Jan 5
Short (1-40 min) $25 $35 $55 $65
Mid-Length, Feature (41+ min) & Episodic Series $55 $100 $150 $160
 

Online form and streamable links must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. EST on the deadlines listed above.

**Extended deadline is ONLY available for either: 

  • International feature films (66+ min that are submitting as a world premiere)
  • Canadian films of any length or premiere status

Please note that HST taxes (13%) are not included in the above fees. All amounts are in Canadian dollars (CAD).


Eligibility

  • All films must have been completed after January 1, 2022
  • Features, mid-length films, and episodic series must be at minimum Ontario premieres (i.e. cannot have been screened publicly in Ontario prior to the 2023 Festival, including broadcast versions of any length or in any language)
  • Short films must be at minimum Toronto premieres (i.e. cannot have been screened publicly in Toronto prior to the 2023 Festival. Short films available online are considered Toronto premieres.)
  • Features, mid-length films, and episodic series must not be available online in any form, for any period of time, to Ontario, Canada (this includes DVDs for purchase or VOD of any length or language) - not applicable for short film submissions
  • All films must be in English, subtitled in English or English versioned (non-English language films may be submitted with an English transcript; however, if selected for Hot Docs, the film must be subtitled or dubbed into English at the applicant's expense)
  • All films may not have submitted to the Festival previously in any stage of completion (i.e. films that were submitted in previous years as rough cuts will not be reconsidered. If you have questions, please contact [email protected].)

Please note: It is the sole responsibility of the applicant to secure clearance from all copyright holders of materials included in the submitted film. Hot Docs will not be held responsible for the unauthorized inclusion of copyrighted materials within or relating to the submitted film. Hot Docs reserves the right to disqualify any film with unauthorized copyrighted materials.

Questions? Check our our FAQ page.


Submission Fees

All fees outlined above include:

  • submission to the 2023 Festival for programming consideration;
  • Administrative expenses related to cataloging and previewing each film;
  • Inclusion in The Festival Doc Shop (official selections only);
  • A 12-month presence on The Doc Shop Online (official selections only).

Please note: Inclusion in The Doc Shop onsite and online is included only for official selected films if the applicant opts in during the submission process.

Submission fees are non-refundable.


Programming Consideration

Hot Docs accepts Canadian and international documentaries of all lengths and subject matter.

All Hot Docs screening programs are curated and all submissions will be considered by Hot Docs' programming team.

For the purposes of eligibility and awards consideration, Hot Docs uses the following definitions:

Film Length

  • Feature-Length: 66 minutes or longer
  • Mid-Length: 41 to 65 minutes
  • Short: 40 minutes or less
  • Episodic Series: Long-form narratives that can't be told within the framing of a feature-length doc. No set runtime.

Country of Production and Submission Categories
Submissions to the Festival are divided into two categories:

  • Canadian Submissions: All films produced in Canada and/or directed by Canadian filmmakers. The director must currently reside in Canada with permanent resident status or be able to provide proof of Canadian citizenship. If the film is co-directed, at least one of the directors must meet this criteria.

  • International Submissions: All films produced outside of Canada and directed by non-Canadians

Hot Docs reserves the right to determine which submission category the film will reside in if selected.

Country of Production
The origin of the majority of the film’s financing and/or the film's key crew members, which can also include the location of significant production support.

Rough Cuts/Fine Cuts
Rough/Fine Cuts: The Festival will only accept one cut of each film for programming consideration. If needed, Hot Docs will request an updated version and will contact those applicants directly.

Made in… Program
Each Festival, Hot Docs presents a program showcasing recent films from a selected country or region.


Programming Decisions

Applicants will be notified of programming decisions via email by the end of March 2023. Final programming, categorization and slotting of films will be determined by the Festival programming team. Their decision is final. Successful applicants will receive this information in their official invitation.

Hot Docs is under no obligation to provide comments or feedback regarding the submitted film to the applicant or any other representative of the submitted film.

No screeners or application materials will be returned. Do not send film prints, master tapes or other originals.


Awards

Feature Films
Hot Docs has two juried competition programs for feature films—Canadian Spectrum and International Spectrum—and several non-competitive programs. Feature-length films in the two Spectrum programs are eligible for jury prizes.

    • International Spectrum films are chosen by the programming department and must be at minimum an International Premiere, with priority given to World Premieres.
    • Canadian Spectrum films are chosen by the programming department and must meet CAVCO requirements and be directed by a Canadian Citizen or permanent resident.
Mid-Length Films
Selected mid-length films chosen by the programming department will be considered by the jury for Best Mid-Length Documentary.

Short Films
  • International short films that are world or international premieres will be eligible for the Best International Short Film Award. *Short films available online are considered Toronto Premieres.
  • Canadian short films that are produced in Canada and directed by a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident will be eligible for the Best Canadian Short Film Award.
Audience Awards
  • Hot Docs Audience Awards: All films selected for Hot Docs, with the exception of those screening in retrospective programs, are eligible for the audience award for their runtime category (Feature, Mid-Length, Short).
  • Rogers Audience Award: All CAVCO certified Feature Length Canadian Films, directed by a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident with the exception of those screening in retrospective programs, are eligible for the Rogers Audience Award.


Hot Docs is recognized as a qualifying festival for the Academy Awards® in the Documentary Feature and Documentary Short Subject categories. The winner of Hot Docs’ Best International Feature Documentary Award qualifies for consideration for the Oscar for Documentary Feature, and the winner of Hot Docs’ Best Canadian and International Short Documentary Awards qualify for consideration for the Oscar for Documentary Short Subject without standard theatrical runs, provided the films otherwise comply with the Academy rules.

Hot Docs is also a BAFTA-recognized festival, acknowledged to be one of the most trusted and respected arbiters of excellence in the art of short filmmaking. Shorts screened at Hot Docs fulfill an important eligibility criterion for entry to the BAFTA British Short Film and British Short Animation categories at the EE British Academy Film Awards.


How to Apply

Step 1: Online Submission Form

To submit your film for consideration, you must complete and submit Hot Docs' online submission form.

If interested in The Doc Shop, please mark the appropriate boxes noted in the Terms and Conditions section of the entry form.

Submit Now

Step 2: Online Screener or Link

Copy and paste the link and password into the online submission form under the section titled "Screener Information." The link must be available to stream until April 2023. Download-only links will not be accepted. 

Please note: The password to your film link must not change during our programming process. If you must change your password for security purposes, please contact [email protected].

Step 3: Payment
At the end of the form, you will be asked to make a credit card payment. All major credit cards are accepted. If you get an error message, please call your bank as we have found that some banks block the transaction.

Hot Docs does not accept links or submissions via email.


Submission guidelines for Hot Docs are subject to change. Hot Docs reserves the right to rule on all issues not expressly covered in these guidelines.




 

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