Championing a dynamic motion picture workforce in B.C. that is equitable, diverse and inclusive.

Hot Docs Incubator

Selected teams will engage in a series of intensive workshops focused on story, market readiness, and career or company building

Generously supported by Netflix, this program is designed for documentary filmmakers who thirst for growth, with a project that shows creative and market potential.

Funding will be provided to the successful team applicant’s project, and each selected team will engage in a series of intensive workshops focused on story, market readiness, and career or company building. The finale of the program will conclude at Hot Docs 2024 where a work-in-progress teaser of the funded project will be presented at the market.

Applications are open with a deadline of March 1, 2023.

Five teams of up to two participants (e.g. a director and producer) per project will be selected and will be expected to have previous experience in directing/producing documentaries.

Team applicants will have demonstrated experience in directing and/or producing, respective to the roles they are attached to the project. They will be required to have each directed/produced or co-directed/co-produced a minimum of one to a maximum of three documentary shorts or features that have screened at a recognized film festival, market-backed online or physical exhibition (not self-published), or have related industry experience.

Mid-career directors who also produce are welcome to apply. Producers working on projects with no directors attached are not able to apply.

Team applicants must live in Canada as a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, though the project may be filmed in any country.

Team applicants must be committed to participating in:

  • All planned in-person incubator sessions
  • The 2024 Hot Docs Festival, Conference & Market

The Project

  • Project must be in late-development or active production on the submitted project. Projects in early post-production may be considered;
  • Must be for a feature-length format; no series work accepted at this time;
  • Proof of meaningful creative and financial and copyright ownership of the project by one of the team applicants;
  • Projects have the promise of a strong storyline that appeals to a broad international audience;
  • Due to the design and duration of the lab, we are looking for projects that is anticipated not to be completed by Hot Docs 2024 for the work-in-progress screening

The Program

Production funding: 

  • 35,000 CAD grant to be granted to each of the five successful projects;
  • Drawdown schedule: one at the time of signing, and final one after the work-in-progress screenings.

Each Intensive session will be in person and 4-5 days long, delivered in-person and online, with these anticipated dates (subject to change):

  • Intensive 1: June 5 – June 9, 2023
  • Intensive 2: November 6 – 10, 2023
  • Intensive 3: February 5 – February 9, 2024

Sessions will be led by expert facilitators and speakers, at an intermediate/advanced level and will delve deeply into the art and business of documentary, career & company building, and market readiness.

The Intensives are spaced out over a period of 8 months, to allow for progress on the project and incorporation of the advice gleaned in the previous lab.

For Hot Docs 2024, the teams will be required to deliver a high-quality teaser that highlights the film-to-come, so the projects may have a dedicated platform for showcase to international decision makers and Industry delegates.


Participants will be an alumnus of Hot Docs and receive these benefits, in addition to:

  • Complimentary Conference & Networking Pass to 2023 Hot Docs Festival;
  • Complimentary All-Access Pass to 2024 Hot Docs Festival;
  • For participants living more than 60km from the location of the Incubator sessions, a travel and accommodation stipend will be offered from another Canadian location.


  • A strong teaser for the project that will serve as a calling card and assist the team in business development for the project, including pitching to financiers, distributors, commissioners, platforms and others;
  • Progressed on the development/production of their film with experts working in tandem;
  • Increased confidence from the cross-discipline sessions that helps enhance practical knowledge on the craft and business of documentary filmmaking for application towards future projects and opportunities;
  • Establish or enhance relationships with fellow filmmakers in the cohort.

Equity Statement

We actively encourage and are prioritizing applications from members of groups with historical and/or current barriers to equity, including, but not limited to:

  • First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples, and all other Indigenous peoples;
  • Members of groups that commonly experience discrimination due to race, ancestry, colour, religion and/or spiritual beliefs, or place of origin;
  • Persons who are disabled or neurodiverse;
  • Persons who are Francophone.

We recognize that many of these identities intersect and that therefore, equity, diversity and inclusion can be complex. We value the contributions that each person brings, and are committed to ensuring full and equal participation for all in our community.


The online application must be submitted in English or French on or before the deadline. There is no application fee. All materials received by Hot Docs are confidential.

Applications are open with a deadline of March 1, 2023.


Application Questions & Required Supporting Documents
To learn more about the application questions and required supporting documents, please review our Required Information. This information is for reference only; all applicants must complete an online application.

Application Support
The Hot Docs Incubator application is considerate of technological, social and accessibility barriers to the application process.

The electronic application is available in English and French. The application process will be considerate of the applicant’s ability to communicate their submission; accommodations that can be made may include an oral or video submission component.

Potential applicants who require assistance are encouraged to request accommodation at least two weeks before the deadline date by contacting or by leaving a message at 416.203.2155 ext 286.





View all opportunities 

Look for jobs

Paid Work + Programs

Connect with industry

Networking + Events

Be well-informed

Information + Knowledge

Improve your skills

Skills + Training

You are Leaving - Icon
You are now leaving ...

It will open in a new browser tab. You will be leaving Creative Pathways for a moment. We'll be right here when you come back!

Cancel Continue