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Generously supported by Netflix as part of the Canadian Storytellers Project, the Hot Docs Incubator is designed for documentary filmmakers who are seeking to grow their careers, with a project that demonstrates creative and market potential.

Applications for the 2024 program are currently open with a deadline of April 28, 2024.


2023 Projects


    Director: Victoria Lean
    Producer: Victoria Lean
    Production Company: Parrhesia Media

    About the Director:
    Headshot for Victoria Lean
    Working in both documentary and comedy, Victoria Lean is an award-winning producer and director whose keen artistic sensibility and forward-thinking approach earned her DOC’s Vanguard Award. She wrote, directed and series produced We're All Gonna Die (Even Jay Baruchel) (Hot Docs 2022) a six-part docuseries about existential threats to humanity for CRAVE. She followed up with The Climate Baby Dilemma for CBC, which premiered November 2022.

    Victoria also executive produced the dramedy I Like Movies (TIFF 2022), one of TIFF’s Top Ten movies for 2022, and produced Matt Johnson’s comedy series Nirvanna the Band the Show (TIFF 2016) for VICE.


    Ever since it confined citizenship to “free white persons” in 1790, American immigration policy has been imbued with racism. The Golden Door explores the cruel realities of immigration for racialized people in the United States, connecting a largely unknown history with some of today’s most disturbing flashpoints.
    Director: Robinder Uppal
    Producer: Marc Serpa Francoeur
    Production Company: Lost Time Media

    About the Director:
    Headshot for Robinder Uppal

    Robinder Uppal is a documentary filmmaker whose work explores issues of social justice and immigration. He is a co-founder (with Marc Serpa Francoeur) of Lost Time Media, which has produced a wide range of linear and interactive documentaries since 2013. In 2020, they released NO VISIBLE TRAUMA, a scathing exposé of police brutality in Calgary, their hometown. In partnership with ITVS and with support from the Sundance Institute, they produced LOVE IN THE TIME OF FENTANYL, which aired on Independent Lens in 2023. Uppal was born in Calgary to Punjabi immigrants and completed his MFA in Documentary Media at TMU.

    About the Producer:
    Headshot for Marc Serpa Francoeur
    Co-founder of Lost Time Media, Marc Serpa Francoeur is an Azorean-Canadian documentarian whose work includes THE WORLD IN TEN BLOCKS (Hot Docs 2016, Sheffield Doc/Fest 2017), THE HEAD & THE HAND (Hot Docs 2018), which was listed by DOC NYC as a top contender for the Oscars’ Documentary Short category, and the CBC Docs Original NO VISIBLE TRAUMA (VIFF 2020, DOK.fest München 2021). Their latest film, LOVE IN THE TIME OF FENTANYL, co-produced with ITVS and the support of the Sundance Institute, had its US Premiere at DOC NYC 2022 and broadcast on PBS’s Independent Lens in early 2023.


    Saints & Warriors is the harrowing and inspiring story of how basketball became not only an obsession, but a means for survival on the remote Indigenous nation of Haida Gwaii.
    Director: Patrick Shannon
    Producer: Michael Grand
    Production Company: Ball is Life Entertainment

    About the Director:
    Headshot for Patrick Shannon

    Patrick Shannon, also known as Nang Ḵ‘uulas, is an award-winning Indigenous film director, social entrepreneur, and photographer from Haida Gwaii, Canada. Patrick’s work centres around social and cultural justice, and the elevation of marginalized voices through education, youth mentorship, media, and technology.

    About the Producer:
    Headshot for Michael Grand
    Producer Michael Tanko Grand's most recent documentary work includes SATAN WANTS YOU, which had its World Premiere at SXSW 2023 and has its Canadian premiere at Hot Docs 2023, I’M JUST HERE FOR THE RIOT, an ESPN 30 for 30 that has its World Premiere at Hot Docs 2023, and THE GRIZZLIE TRUTH, about the story of the Vancouver Grizzlies which won the VIFF 2022 Audience Award and is now available on Crave.


    Your future is being written in the sand.
    Director: Kenya-Jade Pinto
    Producer: Shasha Nakhai
    Production Company: Compy Films

    About the Director:
    Headshot for Kenya-Jade Pinto
    Kenya-Jade Pinto is an Indo-Kenyan-Canadian filmmaker. Her training as a human rights lawyer has deepened her practice as a documentarian. She has participated in DOC Institute’s Breakthrough Program as well as HotDocs’ Emerging Filmmaker Program. She’s the filmmaker-in-residence at York University’s Refugee Law Lab, and in 2021, she was named a National Geographic Explorer.

    About the Producer:
    Headshot for Shasha Nakhai
    Shasha is a Toronto-based storyteller with over a decade of experience. Her work has aired on the BBC, CBC, ZDF, and Arte; screened at the MoMA; been nominated for 16 Canadian Screen Awards; named TIFF's Top 10; and shortlisted for an Oscar. She is an alumna of TMU’s Journalism Program, TIFF’s Talent Accelerator, Berlinale’s Toolbox Programme, the Hot Docs Doc Accelerator, WIFT’s Ubisoft Toronto Producer Mentorship, and the DOC Institute Breakthrough Program.


    This Land of Ours is a feature-length documentary depicting the realities of the people of Barbuda, a small island in the Caribbean and the rebuilding process after Hurricane Irma's destruction.
    Director: Ngardy Conteh George
    Producer: Alison Duke
    Production Company: OYA Media Group

    About the Director:
    Headshot for Ngardy Conteh George

    Hailing from Sierra Leone and raised in Canada, Ngardy Conteh George is an award-winning filmmaker committed to working with systematically excluded communities, especially those that represent the rich cultures and complexities of the African Diaspora. Her films include TV hour ‘Mr. Jane and Finch’ (CBC), winner of two 2020 Canadian Screen Awards and award-winning Sundance Documentary Film Fund supported feature-length documentary ‘The Flying Stars’ (Best Documentary – BronzeLens Film Festival, 2015). She is currently producing two feature documentaries and co-directing ‘Black Community Mixtapes’, a documentary series with OYA Media Group, a Black women-led production company she co-founded.

    About the Producer:
    Headshot for Alison Duke

    Alison Duke is a multi-award-winning producer/director and co-founder of OYA Media Group. Her work has aired on Canadian and US networks, including Netflix, Sundance Channel, CBC, PBS, BET, TVO, Much Music, Starz, OMNI and SuperChannel. Currently, Alison is directing 'Bam Bam: The Story of Sister Nancy' for CRAVE and co-directing a five-part unscripted series 'Black Community Mixtapes' for CityTV. In 2018, she initiated the OYA Emerging Filmmakers program to support Black youth in the entertainment industry, and the program's 'Being Black in Toronto' series won the 2021 Canadian Screen Award. Alison is nominated for a 2023 Canadian Screen Award as an EP for 'Evil By Design: Surviving Nygard' series on CBC and Starz. 

The Opportunity

The second iteration of the Hot Docs Incubator will provide project grants, training, mentorship, and investment to documentary film directors, producers, and editors (referred to as “fellows”) to enhance their business development capacity and drive early interest in their current projects.

Each fellow receives:
  • A grant of $20,000, to be used in the development of their project;
  • ​Two in-person intensive training sessions (three days per session);
  • Ten online training sessions scheduled between in-person intensives;
  • ​Access to our Producer-in-Residence, Director-in-Residence, or Editor-in-Residence for mentorship during the year, as well as a Financial Strategist and Company Builder-in-Residence;
  • All-IN industry all-access passes to Hot Docs 2025.
This cross-disciplinary, intermediate level training will be led by expert facilitators and speakers, delving deeply into the art and business of documentary, market readiness, and company building.

The Incubator will culminate with each fellow presenting a scene select at a Work-in-Progress session during the 2025 Hot Docs Festival, conference, and market. Fellows will receive ALL-IN industry all-access passes to Hot Docs 2025 for further networking and learning opportunities.

Applications for the 2024 program are currently open with a deadline of April 28, 2024.



Applicants must be:
  • Mid-career documentary filmmakers with a promising project currently in development or production;
  • ​Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
While all participants must be the primary rights holder to the project they are applying with, we are actively seeking applicants who wish to develop their careers in filmmaking and business building. If you own the copyright and are working as the director or editor of your film, we encourage you to apply. You will be asked to identify which discipline you most wish to grow through the program.

Projects must:
  • Be in late development or active production (projects in early post-production may be considered);
  • Be feature-length format (no series work accepted at this time);
  • Have proof of meaningful creative and financial and copyright ownership by the applicant;
  • Have the promise of a strong storyline that appeals to a broad international audience.


  • A strong teaser for the project that will serve as a calling card and assist the team in business development for the project, including pitching to financiers, distributors, commissioners, platforms, and others;
  • Progress on the development/production of the film with experts working in tandem;
  • Enhanced practical knowledge on the craft and business of documentary filmmaking for application towards future projects and opportunities;
  • A business strategy to grow your company;
  • Established or enhanced relationships with fellow filmmakers in the cohort.


Applications for the 2024-25 Hot Docs Incubator are open as of February 28 with a deadline of April 28, 2024. Applicants will be notified of their application status in mid-June 2024.

Applicants must be committed to participating in:

  • The two planned in-person Incubator sessions, currently scheduled to take place in early October 2024 and late February 2025 (final dates TBC);
  • The 2025 Hot Docs Festival, Conference and Market.

Equity Statement

We actively encourage and are prioritizing applications from members of groups with historical and/or current barriers to equity, including, but not limited to:
  • First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples, and all other Indigenous peoples;  
  • Members of groups that commonly experience discrimination due to race, ancestry, colour, religion and/or spiritual beliefs, or place of origin;  
  • Persons who are disabled or neurodiverse;  
  • Persons who are Francophone.
We recognize that many of these identities intersect and that therefore, equity, diversity and inclusion can be complex. We value the contributions that each person brings and are committed to ensuring full and equal participation for all in our community.

Preparing Your Application

As part of your application, you’ll be asked to:
  • Consider what makes you a good fit for the Incubator program and cohort model;
  • Describe the stage your project is currently at, the project’s feasibility, and your artistic approach;
  • Explain your connection to the subject(s) of the film – what makes you the right filmmaker to tell this story?;
  • Provide a risk assessment;
  • Describe the intended audience.

Application Requirements

The online application must be submitted in English or French on or before the deadline. There is no application fee. All materials received by Hot Docs are confidential.

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. For further questions, refer to the FAQs section.

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

The electronic application is available in English and French. 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 by leaving a message at 416.203.2155 ext. 249.

Incubateur Hot Docs

Généreusement soutenu par Netflix dans le cadre du Canadian Storytellers Project, l'Incubateur Hot Docs est conçu pour les documentaristes qui cherchent à développer leur carrière, avec un projet qui démontre un potentiel créatif et commercial.

Les candidatures pour le programme 2024-25 sont présentement ouvertes et s'achèveront le 28 avril 2024.



La deuxième itération de l'Incubateur Hot Docs fournira des subventions de projet, des formations, du mentorat et des investissements aux réalisateurs, producteurs et monteurs de films documentaires (appelés « membres ») afin d'améliorer leur capacité de développement commercial et de susciter un intérêt précoce pour leurs projets en cours.

Chaque membre recevra :
  • Une subvention de 20 000 $, à utiliser pour le développement de leur projet ;
  • Deux sessions de formation intensive en personne (trois jours par session) ;
  • Dix sessions de formation en ligne programmées entre les sessions intensives en personne ;
  • Un accès à notre producteur à demeure, à notre réalisateur à demeure ou à notre monteur à demeure, ainsi qu’un stratège financier et création d’entreprise à demeure pour un mentorat pendant l'année ;
  • Des laissez-passer à Hot Docs 2025 pour l'ensemble de l'industrie.

Cette formation interdisciplinaire de niveau intermédiaire sera animée par des facilitateurs et des conférenciers experts, qui approfondiront l'art et l'économie du documentaire, la préparation au marché et la creation d'entreprise.

L'Incubateur se terminera par la présentation par chaque membre d'une sélection de scène lors d'une session de travail en cours pendant le festival, la conférence et le marché Hot Docs 2025. Les membres recevront des laissez-passer à Hot Docs 2025 pour l’ensemble de l’industrie, qui leur permettront d'élargir leur réseau et leurs possibilités d'apprentissage.

Les candidatures pour le programme 2024-25 sont présentement ouvertes et s'achèveront le 28 avril 2024.



Les candidats doivent être :
  • Des documentaristes de milieu de carrière ayant un projet prometteur en cours de développement ou de production ;
  • Des citoyens canadiens ou résidents permanents.

Bien que tous les participants doivent être les principaux détenteurs des droits du projet pour lequel ils posent leur candidature, nous recherchons activement des candidats qui souhaitent développer leur carrière dans la production, la réalisation et la création d'entreprise. Si vous possédez les droits d'auteur et que vous travaillez en tant que réalisateur ou monteur de votre film, nous vous encourageons à poser votre candidature. Il vous sera demandé d'identifier la discipline que vous souhaitez le plus développer dans le cadre du programme.

Les projets doivent :

  • Être en fin de développement ou en production active (les projets en début de post-production peuvent être pris en considération) ;
  • Être un long métrage (aucune série n'est acceptée pour l'instant) ;
  • Posséder la preuve que le candidat est propriétaire de la création, des droits d'auteur et du financement du projet ;
  • Promettre un scénario solide qui s'adresse à un large public international.


  • Un teaser efficace pour le projet qui servira de carte-d'affaire et aidera l'équipe a développer le projet commercialement, a le présenter a de potentiels investisseurs/trices, distributeurs/trices, commissaires, plateformes, et al. ;
  • La progression du projet en développement ou en production réalisée en tandem avec des professionnels de l'industrie ;
  • Amélioration des connaissances pratiques sur le métier et l'activité de réalisation de films documentaires en vue de projets et d'opportunités futurs ;
  • Une stratégie commerciale pour développer votre entreprise ;
  • Les fondements ou le renforcement de relations durables avec les autres cinéastes prenant part au programme.


Les dépôts des candidatures pour l'Incubateur Hot Docs 2024-25 commencent le 28 février 2024 et s'achèveront le 28 avril 2024. Les candidats seront informés du statut de leur demande à la mi-juin 2024.

Les candidats doivent s'engager à participer :
  • A deux sessions en personne de l'Incubateur, actuellement prévues pour début octobre 2024 et fin février 2025 (dates définitives à confirmer) ;
  • Au festival, à la conférence et au marché Hot Docs.

Declaration d'équité

Nous encourageons vivement et priorisons les applications provenant de membres de groupes faisant face historiquement et/ou présentement a des barrières de non-équité, dont, non-exclusivement :
  • Les peuples Premières Nations, Métis et Inuits, et tout autres peuples Autochtones ;
  • Les membres de groupes communément discrimines en raison de leurs race, descendance, couleur de peau, religion et/ou croyance spirituelle, ou lieu d'origine ;
  • Les personnes incapacitées ou neurodiverses;
  • Les personnes Francophones.
Nous reconnaissons que ces identités peuvent souvent s'additionner et qu'ainsi l'équité, la diversité et l'inclusion peuvent être complexes. Nous valorisons la contribution de chacun et chacune, et sommes engagés à assurer une participation pleine et équitable de tous les membres de notre communauté.

Préparez votre candidature

Dans le cadre de votre candidature, vous serez invité à :

  • Réfléchir à ce qui fait de vous un bon candidat pour le programme de l'Incubateur et le modèle de cohorte ;
  • Décrire l'état d'avancement de votre projet, sa faisabilité et votre approche artistique ;
  • Expliquer votre lien avec le sujet(s) du film - qu'est-ce qui fait de vous le bon cinéaste pour raconter cette histoire ?
  • Fournir une évaluation des risques ;
  • Décrire le public concerné.

Exigences pour appliquer

Le formulaire en ligne doit être soumis en Anglais ou en Français avant la date finale de soumission. Il n'y a pas de frais d'inscription. Tous matériaux reçus par Hot Docs sont confidentiels.

Questions concernant l’inscription & documents requis
Pour en savoir plus sur toutes questions concernant l'inscription au programme, dont quels documents justificatifs sont requis, veuillez consulter notre page d'Information Requise. Cette information est seulement à fin de référence ; tous candidats doivent compléter une inscription en ligne. Pour toute autre question, consultez la section FAQ.

Le programme d'inscription à l'Incubateur Hot Docs est attentif aux barrières technologiques, sociales et d'accessibilité qui peuvent affecter les candidats.
Le formulaire électronique est disponible en Anglais et en Français. La procédure d'inscription prendra en compte la capacité du candidat à communiquer sa candidature ; l'adaptation pourra inclure, entre autres, la soumission de composantes sonores ou vidéos.
Les candidats potentiels qui requièrent de l'assistance sont encouragés à placer une demande d'adaptation au moins deux semaines avant la date limite, en contactant [email protected] ou en laissant un message au 416.203.2155 ext 286.


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