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Group photo of 2021 participants

Accelerate your doc-making career with real-world skill development and in-depth labs for emerging and sophomore Canadian talent.

Doc Accelerator fellows will participate in a bespoke private lab where they will learn from industry experts and engage in indepth workshops. Fellows will also participate in Hot Docs Festival’s industry programming.

The program will focus on skills training and career advancement with a goal to foster an inclusive new generation of Canadian documentary filmmakers. Fellows will take part in a paid professional development mentorship in the year following the Festival.

Applications for the 2022 edition are now closed.


Ten to 14 Doc Accelerator fellows will be selected via an open application process. Applicants to the program must be:
  • Of at least one of the following priority groups: Black, Indigenous, a person of colour, Francophone, Deaf, or living with a disability
  • A Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada legally entitled to work
  • An emerging or sophomore storyteller (i.e. three or fewer professional audio-visual production credits as a director or producer)
  • NOT currently enrolled as a student
  • Available flexible hours for the paid mentorship program that will take place at a mutually agreed time between April 2022-April 2023
  • Able to participate in the Hot Docs Festival in April 2022 (there may be the possibility to attend Hot Docs in person)
  • Able to participate in a bi-weekly virtual Emerging Filmmaker Lab, taking place on Tuesday evenings 5:00-6:30 p.m. EST between April and September 2022.

Program & Benefits

  • Festival Benefits
    • Enrollment in the Doc Accelerator Emerging Filmmaker Lab
    • Hot Docs industry pass, with access to the Hot Docs Forum, films, networking, conference sessions, programs and services.
    • Private intensive creative, professional development, career planning, and skill development sessions
    • Specialized lab workshops on fundamentals, including storytelling, funding and producing, the art of pitching, and promotion and distribution
    • Access to the Hot Docs Online Community for one year
  • Festival & Lab

    Fellows will participate in a private online lab taking place from April through September 2022. Public health situation permitting, a portion of the lab may take place in-person during the Hot Docs Festival. Travel and accommodation support will be provided to fellows outside the GTA should an in-person lab be possible. During the lab, fellows will hear from a variety of industry experts and will engage in indepth workshops.

    Please note that the lab and all festival events are held in English, applicants should be comfortably fluent in English in order to participate.

  • Paid Professional Development Work Placement
    Fellows will be matched with a successful Canadian documentary professional for a paid mentorship opportunity. The fellows will work remotely with their mentor, with significant focus placed on reaching the participant’s personal goals and outcomes for the experience. The work schedule will be determined by each individual placement and production schedule.
  • Accessibility Support
    Hot Docs will work with selected applicants to ensure they are able to fully participate in the program. Resources such as personal support workers or ASL interpreters can be available as needed on an individual basis.
  • Alumni Benefits
    Doc Accelerator fellows will receive Hot Docs alumni status upon completion of their participation in the Doc Accelerator Emerging Filmmaker Lab. View Alumni Benefits

Questions? Contact Senior Industry Programs Manager Stephanie McArthur.