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Hot Docs and Netflix are looking to discover the next generation of filmmakers through their funniest non-fiction tales.

It's Funny Because It’s True is open to anyone in the world with a demonstrated commitment to filmmaking. We believe that great stories can come from anyone, anywhere. Completed projects will be launched in 2022, and premiere and live on @NetflixFilm, Netflix's social media channels dedicated to all things film, which are followed by over seven million international movie lovers.

Financial Support
It's Funny Because It’s True will financially support up to five documentary projects with a total budget of $20,000 USD each. Successful projects will be under mentorship of Netflix’s documentary team and other filmmaking professionals to help selected filmmakers expand their networks and advance their careers.

Applications are closed.

Hot Docs reserves the right to close the call for submissions in advance of the published deadline should more than 200 submissions be received prior to that date.


Applicants must:

  • Be the exclusive rights holder of the proposed project.
  • Be in good standing with Hot Docs Funds by application date.
  • Be an emerging or sophomore filmmaker with three or fewer professional directing credits. Have demonstrated commitment as a content creator. The applicant has contributed essential creative direction for successfully completed audio-visual work. This may include as director, producer or other creative leadership roles such as cinematographer, editor, animator and/or production designer for one of the following:
    • A documentary or fiction film (short or feature) released commercially, screened at an international film festival, or broadcast on television or VOD service.
    • A documentary or fiction series broadcast on television or VOD service.
    • A music video, web-show, advertising campaign or other content storytelling medium which has garnered measurable commercial success such as awards, high-yielding audience engagement metrics, sequels or follow-up commissions.
We encourage applicants from all relevant creative backgrounds to apply. To discuss any questions about your personal eligibility or demonstrated commitment as a content creator, please contact [email protected].

Eligible projects must:

  • Be a short between 5-7 mins
  • Be delivered by July 2022
  • Be humorous, lighthearted, or comedic in tone or style
  • Be a high quality documentary suitable for online release to both local and international audiences. Proposals that are school, institute or university course work, TV or web series, or fiction pieces are not eligible.
  • Be in concept or development as of January 2022. Projects currently in production, post-production or are completed are not eligible.

Application Requirements

The online application form must be submitted in English on or before the published deadline. There is no application fee. Hot Docs reserves the right to close the call for submissions in advance of the published deadline should more than 200 submissions be received prior to that date. Applicants may only submit one application per year.

Read the eligibility rules, guidelines and FAQs section before proceeding to the online application form.

Application Questions & Required Supporting Documents

To learn more about the application questions and required supporting documents, please review our Required Information. This information is for reference only; all applicants must complete an online application.

Application Support
Hot Docs is considerate of technological, social and accessibility barriers to the application process.

The electronic application is available in English. The application process will be considerate of the applicant’s ability to communicate their submission; accommodations that can be made may include an oral or video submission component.

Potential applicants who require assistance are encouraged to request accommodation at least two weeks before the deadline date by contacting [email protected] or 416.203.2155 ext 249.

Selection Process

Applicants will be informed of the Selection Committee’s decision approximately four months after the submission deadline.

Applications deemed complete and eligible will be submitted to a committee made up of representatives from Hot Docs, Netflix and members of the filmmaking community.

It’s Funny Because It’s True is a new initiative between Hot Docs and Netflix, who previously joined forces in 2018 to launch the Hot Docs Canadian Storytellers Project. This five-year initiative invests in core funding and professional development programs for Canadian filmmakers and was awarded the 2021 Business / Arts Community Impact Award.