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

Mentorship: Hot Docs Incubator | $20K in production fund

Hot Docs and Netflix canada have once again joined forces to launch the second iteration of Hot Docs Incubator, a pillar of the award-winning Canadian Storytellers Project.
} 12:00 am
In-person & Online
A grant of $20,000

Applications for the 2024-25 Hot Docs Incubator are open as of February 28 with a deadline of April 28, 2024

The Opportunity

The second iteration of the Hot Docs Incubator will provide project grants, training, mentorship, and investment to documentary film directors, producers, and editors (referred to as “fellows”) to enhance their business development capacity and drive early interest in their current projects.

Each fellow receives:

  • A grant of $20,000, to be used in the development of their project;
  • ​Two in-person intensive training sessions (three days per session);
  • Ten online training sessions scheduled between in-person intensives;
  • ​Access to our Producer-in-Residence, Director-in-Residence, or Editor-in-Residence for mentorship during the year, as well as a Financial Strategist and Company Builder-in-Residence;
  • All-IN industry all-access passes to Hot Docs 2025.

This cross-disciplinary, intermediate level training will be led by expert facilitators and speakers, delving deeply into the art and business of documentary, market readiness, and company building.

The Incubator will culminate with each fellow presenting a scene select at a Work-in-Progress session during the 2025 Hot Docs Festival, conference, and market. Fellows will receive ALL-IN industry all-access passes to Hot Docs 2025 for further networking and learning opportunities.

Applications for the 2024 program are currently open with a deadline of April 28, 2024.



Applicants must be:

  • Mid-career documentary filmmakers with a promising project currently in development or production;
  • ​Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

While all participants must be the primary rights holder to the project they are applying with, we are actively seeking applicants who wish to develop their careers in filmmaking and business building. If you own the copyright and are working as the director or editor of your film, we encourage you to apply. You will be asked to identify which discipline you most wish to grow through the program.

Projects must:

  • Be in late development or active production (projects in early post-production may be considered);
  • Be feature-length format (no series work accepted at this time);
  • Have proof of meaningful creative and financial and copyright ownership by the applicant;
  • Have the promise of a strong storyline that appeals to a broad international audience.


  • 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;
  • Progress on the development/production of the film with experts working in tandem;
  • Enhanced practical knowledge on the craft and business of documentary filmmaking for application towards future projects and opportunities;
  • A business strategy to grow your company;
  • Established or enhanced relationships with fellow filmmakers in the cohort.


Applications for the 2024-25 Hot Docs Incubator are open as of February 28 with a deadline of April 28, 2024. Applicants will be notified of their application status in mid-June 2024.
Applicants must be committed to participating in:

  • The two planned in-person Incubator sessions, currently scheduled to take place in early October 2024 and late February 2025 (final dates TBC);
  • The 2025 Hot Docs Festival, Conference and Market.

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.

Preparing Your Application

As part of your application, you’ll be asked to:

  • Consider what makes you a good fit for the Incubator program and cohort model;
  • Describe the stage your project is currently at, the project’s feasibility, and your artistic approach;
  • Explain your connection to the subject(s) of the film – what makes you the right filmmaker to tell this story?;
  • Provide a risk assessment;
  • Describe the intended audience.

Application Requirements

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.

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. For further questions, refer to the FAQs section.

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. 249.

Learn more about this Opportunity


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