I am super excited to be attending Hot Docs at the end of the month. Not only do I enjoy watching the latest documentaries from around the world, but this festival holds a special place in my heart.
I have been a loyal participant since 2003 when I was a first year Film & TV student at Humber. I remember my script writing teacher telling us all to check out this great film festival called “hot dogs.” (or at least that’s what I heard him say). I took the 1.5 hour Public Transit venture downtown from my Rexdale student Residence and rode my first streetcar down Bathurst street to the Royal Cinema. My friend Amanda and I attended a funny film about Student Loans and from there I was hooked. The following year I volunteered by putting up posters in the Annex and helping out in the office. Then I started an Internship in the Box office. Then I became Box Office Staff. Then they heard about my video obsession and I started filming a few Festival events. Then I became the official Festival Videographer: Interviewing Programmers, Filmmakers and documenting the Press Conference, Opening Night, Parties and other special events. Then the video content exploded and I over-saw a team of 10+ volunteers documenting simultaneous events at several venues, logging footage overnight, editing in the AM and posting online the following day.
What can I say, I love documentaries and therefore love Hot Docs. The staff is incredibly fun and personable and the executive staff are friendly and encouraging, often thanking everyone by name for their hard work. Each April I look forward to seeing my Hot Docs family throughout the many venues and Industry events.
This April will be extra special however as I got accepted into the Documentary Accelerator Program. The program is designed for 18-30 year-olds to get an insider experience at the festival with customized workshops and networking events to refine our skills in pitching, marketing, funding and developing mentoring systems. This means that during the main week of the festival my time will be spent from approx 9am-4pm each day in workshops leaving only my evenings and weekends to watch films. This will be quite an adjustment for me as I am used to seeing 2-4 films per day However this will be an incredible experience to focus on the business side of filmmaking as well as marketing my film “In the Spotlight” and hopefully establishing connections for future projects.
My business cards and one-sheet are ready, my websites are almost complete, and I have started a list of people I want to meet at the Festival. I have read the entire program guide and circled my film choices. Now I just need to see how many films I can fit into my schedule!
If you have never attended Hot Docs before this is the year for you to start!