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This short doc collection, commissioned by Hot Docs, highlights ordinary Canadians doing extraordinary things to make their communities better places. Launched in 2021, eight filmmaking teams from across the country were selected to create short films about bold and unlikely changemakers who inspire us to jump in and get involved in civic issues close to our homes and hearts. Citizen Minutes premiered at the 2021 Hot Docs Festival before screening at several Canadian and international festivals and being broadcast on Crave.

View Citizen Minutes Season 1

Hot Docs is now seeking applications for a second Citizen Minutes season, which will launch at the 2023 Hot Docs Festival, and then screen across Canada and internationally.  It will then join the Citizen Minutes collection for year-round streaming.

Applications are closed.
For the Citizen Minutes, Hot Docs is seeking applications to support short films that:
  • are 2-8 minutes in length;
  • capture Canadian stories of people or groups who are actively involved in advancing social and cultural fabrics;
  • seek to inspire viewers to become change agents in their own communities;
  • explore (but are not limited to) themes such as resilience, healthy democracy, empathy, empowerment, and social equity;
  • and centre around youth-led civic engagement (preferred, but not required).
Selected filmmakers will receive $10,000 - $35,000 to film their short documentary. Hot Docs is the commissioner of the films and will own the copyright.


Applicants must:
  • Be the (co)director(s) attached to the film project
  • A Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • Not apply with more than two projects
All projects must:
  • Be shot between December 2022 – February 2023, with delivery of the completed film in early April 2023. 
  • NOT be projects that are school, institute, post-secondary course work, part of an existing series, or fiction films
  • NOT be a completed project, but we will consider projects with some development or production work already completed, providing all rights are available and are able to be assigned to Hot Docs. 


The online application must be submitted in English or French before the deadline. There is no application fee. All materials received by Hot Docs are confidential. Please read the eligibility rules and guidelines before proceeding to the online application form.

Application Support
The Citizens Minutes application is considerate of technological, social, and accessibility barriers to the application process. While the application questions are in English, the applicant may complete it in either English or French. The application process will be considerate of the applicant’s ability to communicate their submission; accommodations that can be made may include a video component. Potential applicants who require assistance are encouraged to request accommodation at least two weeks before the deadline date by contacting [email protected] or by leaving a voicemail at 416.203.2155 x255.


Applicants will be informed of the Selection Committee’s decision in early December. Applications deemed complete and eligible will be submitted to a Selection Committee made up of and determined by representatives from Hot Docs and the creative co-producers.

Please note that the completed Citizen Minutes collection of shorts will become an important part of the Docs For Schools Program, Hot Docs' educational program connecting students Grades 6-12 across Canada with documentary films and educational packages linking content to the Provincial curricula. Hot Docs is therefore particularly interested in applications that offer stories that spotlight youth-led civic engagement and will welcome stories told by BIPOC and Francophone directors.

We at Hot Docs understand that civic engagement does not always mean moving the dial on global issues in a monumental way. Hot Docs is therefore interested in applications that spotlight stories about ordinary citizens working to achieve incremental change in their local communities.

Decision Criteria
Applications will be evaluated based on feasibility, creative merit, audience, and fit with mandate. For more information, please review the detailed breakdown.

Creative Producer

Hot Docs is thrilled to welcome John Choi as the creative producer for the second season of Citizen Minutes

John Choi  최성호  Seong-ho (he/him) is a Canadian Korean filmmaker, producer and director telling stories for over 25 years. John is a critical thinker who believes in the ability for film to impact positive societal change. He is an advocate for equality, diversity and inclusion, and works to advance the careers of new, emerging film directors through mentorship and guidance in helping them to hone their craft. He is a member of the Directors Guild of Canada (DGC) and his advocacy work includes the Hot Docs/Netflix Accelerator Program as a mentor working with emerging fellows. He was also selected to contribute to the 2022 Creative Producers Accelerator Think Tank (CPATT) responsible for creating a federal report to surface systemic discrimination witnessed in marginalized BIPOC & disabled groups in the film industry. John was also recently guest panel and juror for the 2022 DMZ Industry Docs Film Festival and juror for 2022 Tokyo Docs Documentary Film Festival. John recognizes how privileged he is to be immersed in the global documentary film community and to be able to support new and exciting talent and stories being told all around the world. 

John’s experience in both scripted films, series and documentaries includes The Eleven A&E's six-part factual true crime series and CBC Docs POV Spaceman. His passion project is the feature documentary film Lost & Found, co-produced by NHK Japan, SBS Australia, Shaw Media, and the doc series YouTube Originals K-Pop Evolution. John’s latest work is Netflix Originals three-part docu-series The Raincoat Killer and the new VICE series, which premiered in August 2022, Dark Side of Comedy.

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