By Jennifer F. Modica,
Toronto, ON – It isn’t hard to see why documentaries have become such a popular genre these days. A DVD collection is scarcely complete without a documentary or two. Hot Docs has capitalized on the niche, celebrating and showcasing the very best the doc world has to offer. They’ve also successfully marketed the event around their aptly named motto: “Outspoken. Outstanding,” generating both audience frenzy and steep competition amongst filmmakers.
Some critics of the event cited this intensity as both a drawback and a benefit of the event. “The greatest thing about it [Hot Docs] is the intense passion generated,” recent contributor, Albert Nerenberg commented, “but it also meant scalpers were selling tickets [to our film] and our own guys couldn’t watch their work.” However, this kind of success at the event is not typical for each contributor. It is no small feat that Nerenberg’s film Let’s All Hate Toronto is making its commercial debut in the city.
Overall, most doc Producer-Directors find Hot Docs to be a beneficial venue for documentaries. Let’s All Hate Toronto’s screening was a huge success giving the film exposure to two thousand viewers. Nerenberg felt Hot Docs increased the hype surrounding the film directly increasing its audience. Hot Docs has produced a grape vine like effect in generating interest around a film. This is the case for Let’s All Hate Toronto. whose commercial debut in Toronto had everyone out standing in ticket queues and out speaking about the film.
The future for Hot Docs does not come without challenges. In its 14th year, Hot Docs’ presence on the scene as the biggest documentary festival in North America coupled with its growing popularity may not have given the event enough time to mature consistently with its grassroots foundation. With a mandate “to showcase and support the work of Canadian and international documentary filmmakers and to promote excellence in documentary production,” the festival hopes to captivate and inspire success for rising “Doc Stars.”
As long as remarkable stories are highlighted in this niche, Hot Docs will be able to consistently define itself as a festival that is both outspoken and outstanding. The Festival is also the backbone for innovations such as the Toronto Documentary Forum and Doc Soup; Hot Docs has made documentaries more accessible than they have ever been for Torontonians. And if Doc Soup doesn’t feed your hunger for documentaries, you have until next April to submit your ownâ€¦.