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Hot Docs Unveils Diverse Slate of 2023 Podcast Development Lab Fellows

Hot Docs is proud to announce the roster of eight outstanding participants selected for the third edition of the Hot Docs Podcast Development Lab, presented in collaboration with Amazon Music Canada and Inspirit Foundation. An extension of the renowned annual Hot Docs Podcast Festival—returning live to the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema stage October 19 to 22—the Lab is tailored for emerging or sophomore BIPOC podcast creators residing in Canada who have a non-fiction podcast idea in early development. The 2023 Lab fellowship will culminate with a gathering of this year’s participants at the Hot Docs Podcast Festival, where they will meet with industry leaders and broadcasters, and partake in the Festival’s acclaimed Creators Forum—a place for podcast insiders, audio pros and emerging producers to network, develop their skills and explore new trends—taking place October 19 and 20.

The Hot Docs Podcast Development Lab launched in July 2021 as part of the annual Hot Docs Podcast Festival, which includes other career development programs like the Hot Docs Podcast Career Accelerator, and Creators Forum. This fellowship program takes an immersive approach to story development, pitching, navigating the podcast sphere, and strategic marketing outreach. Lab fellows are enrolled in an extensive months-long private lab, where they get to hear from a variety of industry experts and partake in in-depth workshops. Participants are expertly matched with seasoned audio creators and mentors to develop their story ideas and navigate pathways to success in the industry. Additionally, each project receives a CAD 2,000 creator grant to boost the development of their work, as well as travel and accommodation support when required.

"We are delighted to be working with a group of visionary non-fiction audio creators whose unique projects have excited, inspired, and educated us," shared Elizabeth Radshaw, Hot Docs’ Industry Programs Director. "Through the Podcast Development Lab, we are committed to cultivating a vibrant mosaic of essential and diverse stories, providing a platform for emerging BIPOC creators in Canada to share their unique perspectives with the world and to propel their projects into new horizons."

"We are thrilled to support the Hot Docs Podcast Development Lab and the work of this year’s creators,” said Lindsay Michael, Sr. Podcast Manager, Amazon Music Canada. “The audio talent in Canada is broad and deep and it’s exciting to be part of a program where emerging BIPOC storytellers can take time to develop the significant stories they want to tell in our growing Canadian podcast industry."

"Greater participation in media and the arts—particularly within equity-seeking communities—is vital to a pluralist society where people of different beliefs and backgrounds can participate equally and thrive together," said Chris Lee, Inspirit Foundation's Director of Programming. "We are proud to continue to support the Podcast Development Lab and its role in amplifying BIPOC voices."

The selection committee for the 2023 Hot Docs Podcast Development Lab includes renowned non-fiction audio creators Aliya Pabani (We Are Not the Virus), Errol Nazareth (Host: CBC Music’s Frequencies and CBC Radio’s Big City, Small World), and Nichole Hill (The Secret Adventures of Black People, I Am America presented by Tracee Ellis Ross, New York Magazine’s Cover Story). The 2023 Lab features media heavyweights Dan Misener, Hannah Sung, Pacinthe Mattar, and Veronica Simmonds as mentors. The lab lead facilitator is Aliya Pabani.

The 2023 Hot Docs Podcast Development Lab projects include:

Mend It Like Beckham: 21 Years Later
Creators: Sadia Ali and Chloe Navaretnam   
Is Bend It Like Beckham a good movie? We're covering the impact this watershed moment in Desi visibility had on the entertainment landscape and beyond. Sadia and Chloe are fixing their relationship with this film, do you need to too? 

You Deserve Nothing
Creator: Clif Mark
Meritocracy was supposed to make the world a fairer place for everyone. Instead, politicians from Reagan to Obama used it to justify a society that is less equitable, less mobile and ruthlessly nerdy.

25 NorthEast - by IslamicFamily
Creator: Hussain Khan 
A narrative non-fiction podcast about Canadian-Muslim experiences. Each season, the podcast focuses on a theme and tells true stories from the community through people's lived experiences navigating a particular theme. Season 1 focuses on incarcerated Muslims and the people that work with them.

Flight Response
Creator: Kailun Chen
The unhinged diary of a recovering Toronto lawyer who goes surfing once and decides maybe she should quit everything and move to Costa Rica instead. And all the overthinking about whether such a thing could possibly be ethical or whether it's just a delusional escape from millennial angst.

The Baon Box
Creator: Karen-Luz Sison
Journey through the food scene of the most multicultural city in the world. Hear from the Toronto-based immigrants and refugees who make a living through their food—and the origin stories that make the city's food scene so special.

Heart of Greed (alternatively: My Greedy Heart)
Creator: Yasaman Mansoori
The secret pleasure and agony of a double life. It's possible to keep physical worlds separate for a time—but what goes on in the mind (and heart) when you tear yourself in two? What happens when it all comes crashing down?

This is Your Brain on Drugs
Creator: Liz Singh
This is Your Brain on Drugs is a series of short investigative documentary podcast episodes, each depicting a significant person, event, or story from a lesser-known part of our heritage: The Canadian War on Drugs.

Lost and Found – A Podcast About Fatherhood
Creators: Sandro Silva and Sheena Rossiter
Lost and Found is a five-part narrative documentary podcast where an Afro-Brazilian man, raised by a single mother, discovers the real meaning of fatherhood.

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