Ongoing Call to Canadian Filmmakers: Doc Ignite Submissions, Hot Docs

Nov 29 • Awards & Prizes, CALLS, Canada, Film & Video • 1123 Views • Comments Off

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Doc Ignite Submission Guidelines
Doc Ignite Submission Guidelines


Hot Docs is accepting applications for Doc Ignite on an ongoing basis until further notice. Please note that currently only 5 projects per year will be selected. If you are interested in having your project featured, please complete the application form and return via email to Stephanie McArthur.


Selected Canadian documentary filmmakers will be able to launch a film campaign for a project in production on the Hot Docs Doc Ignite site to raise financing directly from public audience contributions in exchange for incentives offered by the filmmakers and by Hot Docs. Hot Docs will work closely with selected projects to determine realistic campaign objectives and set the financing goal. Project campaigns will be live on the Hot Docs Doc Ignite website for 45 days.

In addition to sourcing new financing for Canadian projects in production and post-production, the Hot Docs Doc Ignite website hopes to promote an understanding of and appreciation for crowd-funding in Canada.


In order to be eligible to participate with a campaign on the Doc Ignite site projects must:

  • Be a Canadian creative documentary project by a Canadian company registered in Canada;
  • Be either a feature or broadcast length documentary (at this time shorts and series are not applicable; fiction pieces are not eligible);
  • Be of high quality and suitable for theatrical release and/or television broadcast to audiences both locally and internationally;
  • Have completed development and be in active production or post-production.

Campaign Marketing and Promotion

Hot Docs will provide promotional support to project campaigns by highlighting the project for Hot Docs audiences via outreach, e-newsletters and social media, and by helping participating filmmakers to develop an outreach and marketing campaign; however, the filmmaker is expected to invest time in the development and execution of the campaign plan. Applicant filmmakers are required to have an outreach strategy in mind in order to locate and engage with the film’s audience, and are expected to take the lead in marketing and promoting their campaign.

Filmmakers must commit to being an active participant in the Doc Ignite campaign with a proper understanding of the time, manpower and potential financial costs required to achieve a successful campaign. Interaction with the audience is key to a successful campaign, and as such filmmakers are asked to post updates or blog a minimum of once a week during the campaign.

Frequent updates, video clips, photos, bios and other materials are expected to be posted by filmmakers to the campaign website. Selected projects should have sizzle reels, trailers, or other footage available to post when the campaign launches.

Filmmakers will be required to offer a variety of incentives to supporters and will assume all costs and tasks related to fulfilling incentives. Hot Docs will offer additional benefits in the form of Hot Docs incentives which will be valued and administrated solely by Hot Docs.

Decision Criteria

Applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Strength, style and accessibility of the subject matter and the treatment;
  • Demonstrated commitment, experience, vision and ability of the creative team;
  • Feasibility of the campaign with respect to its budget, financing, schedule and scope;
  • Defined outreach campaign and social media strategy for the film.

Successful applications will contain a high number of the following elements:

  • Committed and established filmmakers with an already established network of fans with whom they are regularly engaged;
  • Dynamic project that can easily capture the imagination;
  • Compelling story that is easy to communicate;
  • Trailer available to post;
  • Project in a stage that allows for interesting updates (e.g. filming, travel).

Applications will not only be evaluated on the quality and reach of the project, but also the outreach and social media strategy proposed.

Doc Ignite Recognition

Doc Ignite support is to be acknowledged with Hot Docs prominent logo on the end credits of the film, as well as on all publicity and promotional materials relating to the production.


Project campaigns will be live on the Doc Ignite website for 45 days. All funds committed during this period will be processed and held by Hot Docs until the completion of the campaign. Within 30 days following the completion of the campaign, the funds minus the stated fees will be released to the filmmakers.

In order to offset the cost of running the Doc Ignite site, the following fees will be extracted from the money raised by each campaign:

  • Four per cent for projects which meet or exceed their campaign goal;
  • Eight per cent for projects which fail to meet their campaign goal.

An additional three per cent service fee will be charged for each pledge to cover the credit card merchant fee charged to Hot Docs.

Hot Docs will not deduct any fees from projects raising less than $1000.

Application Process and Submission Requirements

If you are interested in having your project featured please complete the application formand return it via email to Stephanie McArthur. Please include ‘Doc Ignite application’ and the name of your project in the subject line.

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